Meet the Devs: PizzaBenjamin

Happy pizza day, pizzas! It’s not really officially pizza day or anything. Unless any day that someone eats pizza becomes pizza day… What were we talking about?

Oh right, we’re going through the team and learning more about them! Oh! And this week it’s all about yours truly. Yes, I would prefer you imagine that I sat on one side of the interview table to ask the questions, and then physically moved to the other side to answer them. Thank you. Please enjoy!

Question: How did you end up getting into game development?​

Benjamin: Growing up, I played video games all. the. time. In fact, one of my earliest memories is coming home from preschool, running downstairs to play Super Mario Bros on the NES, reaching Bowser in the first world, then shutting it off and running upstairs because he was too frightening.

Fast-forward a bit and I’m looking to go to college. I knew three things: I loved video games, computers, and art. To me, that meant I should go for a 3D Animation degree at an art school. Unfortunately, I never really got into the animation world professionally… It definitely took a couple years, but I managed to break into the video game industry in Colorado (my home state) as an entry-level level designer for an amazing little studio called Idol Minds. From there, my career took me to California where I grew through level design, mission design, content design, feature design – to where I am now! Your humble pizza chef and full-stack game designer at Pizza Club Games.

This guy. So scary.

Question: When did you start working on mobile games?​

Benjamin: After about four years working on console and PC ARPGs (Warriors Lair RIP, Marvel Heroes RIP), I got an opportunity to work on my first mobile game. For over three years we toiled on a pretty bonkers hero collector with some of the best people I’ve had the chance to work with (in fact, that game is still in development and should it see the light of day I might be able to talk even more about it). I got to cut my teeth building content and eventually designing systems and features on an epic-scale. It was through this process that I got the bug for hero collectors. My friends at work and I would play and examine all kinds of hero collectors and we really learned a lot about them. Hopefully that experience is shining through in Raid Boss… 😉

Question: What is your all-time favorite mobile game?​

Benjamin: For me, while I both love and hate different aspects of the game, I still play Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes every day. I feel like I pretty much have to reference that, since a lot of my design decisions for Raid Boss are painted by my experiences in the hero collectors I’ve played over the years…

But for a less common response, I’d have to go with The Room series. I adore well-designed and high-quality puzzle games. If you haven’t checked these out, please do! The atmosphere, the graphics and sound, and the mind-bending puzzles really cook my brainpizza.

Question: What is your all-time favorite video game (non-mobile)?​

Benjamin: Ah…the prize of my collection…the best tasting pizza I’ve had the pleasure of consuming… This game came along right around when I turned about twelve, I think. I’d played tons of console and PC games, but nothing came close to what I would experience in this particular one. The game was Final Fantasy VIII.

And yes, I know I didn’t put down Final Fantasy VII, like probably 99% of people from my generation would have done. You see, I never actually owned an original PlayStation. I came from a Nintendo family through and through. Because of this, I honestly had no concept of what Square had accomplished with their first fully 3D FF title. Instead, by a stroke of destiny, one of my cousins happened to be wandering through a Media Play looking to get me a Christmas present. She knew I liked video games but had no idea what I’d like. She picked Final Fantasy VIII not because she knew of its already legendary predecessor, but because the box happened to have a shiny, holographic effect and it just looked cool.

Anyhow, FFVIII blew me away. I will never forget the feeling of wonder and awe when I realized there were four discs of gameplay. I had never before known that a video game could contain such a deep and vibrant world and that I could grow attached to characters and watch them grow themselves over the course of dozens of hours. It became the foundational cornerstone of why I wanted to become a game developer and I still try to play the game at least once a year.

The box was SO shiny. Like blinding.

Question: What is the next thing you’re most looking forward to for Raid Boss?​

Benjamin: I’m legit excited for the upcoming changes to Daily Dungeon 2.0. We know that our current version is one of those features where players can lose themselves for hours, but also that it can become tedious and frustrating.

Our next version is planned to allow players to choose their fate by deciding which world effects come into play and various stages. We want Daily Dungeon to be an interesting strategic landscape that gives players way more agency over how they progress through it and which Guildies to use.

And now you know everything about me. EVERYTHING. Please use this information only for good.

Stay cheesy pepperoni.

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