Back in his home country of China, Joey Young had a successful career in the game industry. Joey, born in China’s Guangxi province, served as the lead developer for Guangxi Nanning Qiwang Computer Ltd. for four years, a design studio that developed iOS games for use on Apple products. During his time directing the company’s MMO (massively multiplayer online) games and casual games initiatives, he was instrumental in moving them into the educational games field, aiming his efforts at creating games geared for preschool-aged children.
One of the educational games Joey developed, Where is the Fun, was selected as a “New and Noteworthy” app by Apple and was one of the top 30 highest-selling educational apps in the U.S. – a major coup for a young developer still in his twenties.
Joey achieved all these career accomplishments before enrolling in Full Sail’s Game Design master’s program. So why – after having already tasted success and seemingly en route to a prosperous career as a game developer – would Joey chose to uproot from his homeland and start from scratch at Full Sail?
For starters, Joey had no formal training as a video game producer when he was tapped to open up Guangxi Nanning Qiwang Computer Ltd.’s (GNQCL) first video game development studio (and the first studio of its kind in the Guangxi Province). He had a degree in electrical engineering and had achieved success working in the company’s think tank – helping the security software company solve many complicated issues. GNQCL, a top system utility company in Joey’s region of China, was so impressed with Joey’s problem-solving skills that it chose him to head up the company’s first foray in the gaming industry.
There was another reason why Young embarked on the 8,800-mile journey to study at Full Sail: he was looking for a bigger stage. “The games I was making were not the kind I really wanted to make, I wanted to grow and move forward,” he says.
“Since I never had any production training previously, when I learned more about the program at Full Sail, and the fact that it focused so much on the production side of things rather than on programming like other schools, I knew it was the right fit for me.”
Joey has encountered a handful of obstacles since moving a world away from home, mainly cultural stumbling blocks, but his two roommates – one from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and another from Brazil (who lived in China for more than ten years) have helped lessen the multicultural divide.
This April, Joey became one of the first two students from mainland China to graduate from the Game Design program. In his short time in the U.S., he’s already starting to make waves in the game design industry he had his sights set on. Last year in North Carolina while attending the East Coast Game Conference, he met a Chinese compatriot who spoke Mandarin and was the editor of one of China’s only video game magazines. That individual led the way to Joey landing an opportunity to become managing producer for video game publisher Kabam’s Blades of Excalibur Lite.
Blades of Excalibur Lite isn’t a real game in the traditional sense, but rather a mini- version that serves like a promo piece, the idea being that it will show players “all the wonderful features the real game is going to have,” according to Joey.
Joey’s work on Blades of Excalibur Lite received rave reviews from gaming magazines like Venture Beat and Wired, and it has opened the door for future opportunities. His next stop is Chicago, where he recently accepted a producer position with GameVision Studios.
His advice for students: “In order to succeed and land that dream job,” says Joey. “You have to brand yourself as someone very unique.”