Spotted on Campus: Vicarious Visions Talks ‘Skylanders’ and More

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The Skylanders series is one of the most interesting success stories of the past few years, combining physical toys and video games into a unique entertainment package. The innovative concept was developed by Vicarious Visions, a subsidiary of Activision, and our Game Studies department recently welcomed three reps from the company to campus to talk about their products and philosophies with students.

These guests were Steve Derrick (Chief of Staff), Jonathan Herman (Art Department Head), and Paul Jossman (Engineering Department Head). Jonathan started the presentation by showcasing clips from the latest Skylanders game Swap Force, and relating its production to the culture of their workplace. “We’re keen on developing our talent and making that a priority,” he said. “We’ll meet with you to set goals and help you be where you want to be within the company.”

Steve hosted the core lecture portion, with a presentation titled “Game Development: A Creative Industry Demystified.” He spoke about the balance of skill sets needed to be successful in gaming, as well as how to set yourself and your game ideas apart from others. The room was later opened up to student questions, which focused on the studio’s workflow and production pipelines, as well as the challenges of developing software with an eye towards new technology.

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