This is the first of a series of posts introducing the hardworking people here at Large Pixel Collider – and since I like to lead from the front (it’s where all the tasty bullets come from) I figured I’d head us off.
My name is Michael Shean, and I am of course the originator of our mad, merry venture. I’ve been mucking around with computers and playing video games since I was four years old, so naturally I ended up angling for a CS degree (missed that one) and with a career in IT. I started my career in technical support in the ancient days of the 1990s (where there were horrific things like dialup internet with modems and v.90 chipsets that never worked oh god) and quickly advanced to web development and graphic design. I’ve been doing that for nearly twenty years now, which makes me a wizened ancient in many corners of the industry, but has given me invaluable experience leading engineering teams and overseeing project development of various sizes. It also allows me to work with art teams AND programmers, which puts me in a fairly good position when it comes to balancing the needs and expectations of both blocks of professionals.
I’m also a published science fiction author. I’ve been writing novels and short stories under my name since 2011, mostly dark near-future affairs that play off more like CSI: Blade Runner than anything else. I like to describe it as the ‘Blood and Neon’ subset of science fiction. Murder cyberpunk? Murderpunk? Who knows? You can find those at most booksellers or at my personal website. It’s probably all of that which caused me to start this company with Grumpy Witch as a debut title in the first place – seeing your infant son in his crib every day when you wake up, you don’t want him to have to wait until he’s a teenager to be able to see the art that you’ve made, be it writing, games, whatever. Kind of hard to do that when you’re writing about futuristic space-murders all day, all nite.
And that’s what Grumpy Witch is about. The game’s story is most definitely not dark or bloody. It’s fun and colorful, with a snarky sense of humor. It’s about facing who you are and who you could be, making decisions that will form the kind of person that you will be in the future. It’s a story about growing up, in many ways, and it represents a kind of flip side to the bleakness of the stories I’ve written in the past. Video games represent a magnificent opportunity for people to tell stories that they might never be able to otherwise. There’s something interesting about the emergent storytelling of video games that is a counterpoint to the relatively static narrative of written prose, something that draws me to it like it did as a small child staring at chunky pixel-block spacecraft exploding on a monochrome CRT. The magic’s never faded for me. I’d like to try and make some of my own here, especially now that I have my own small son to pass that experience along to.
So that’s me, then. Nice to meet you. I hope that you’ll follow us all through the development and release of Grumpy Witch and the number of titles that we already have written up and readied for creation past this first project. I look forward to hearing from all of you!