Meet the Devs – Daniel Erickson – Englisch
We are proud to present the first part of Meet the Devs and we have a real VIP guest for you. Writing Director Daniel Erickson faced our questions and gives us a detailed inside view of his work. Have fun!
What is your name and what is your job title at BioWare? And what are you doing in this job?
My name is Daniel Erickson and officially I'm the Writing Director at BioWare's Austin studio. I work as the Lead Writer on The Old Republic, guiding the development of the game's fiction, interfacing with the artists and generally worrying about story and world consistency.
Was it a dream of your childhood to work in the game industry? And how did you end up in such a legendary studio like BioWare?
I didn't even understand that there were people who made games when I was a kid. I'd never known anyone with a university degree so it was all a bit beyond my horizon. Coming out of university myself I got some good advice about attempting to turn your passion into a career, put my lifetime love of games and writing together and followed a crazy path that eventually ended up here. From the first day I started in the industry BioWare was the target and it was the first place I applied. I didn't make it on first attempt but once I'd stacked my resume a bit I came back knocking.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I'm mainly doing polish reviews, playing through all of the content over and over again and providing notes to the various teams. "Hey, those guys can't be next to those other guys. They don't like each other!" "Those people are dressed wrong, seen in the wrong context, etc." Making a great BioWare game is about polish, polish and more polish and keeping a game this size consistent is a huge undertaking.
What is your suggestion for the first class we should play in SWTOR?
I not going to comment on storylines but right now my big loves for combat are the Republic Trooper and the Imperial Agent. They both bring something new and unexpected to the MMO field. The Trooper for his ammo system that feels like you're playing an action game and the Agent for the ability to specialize into a full-on sniper. A personal favorite play style for me.
Who is your favorite character in the extended Star Wars Universe?
If we're talking specifically outside the movies, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Timothy Zahn's books made me rethink the movies and you really felt bad for Thrawn being so clever and constantly getting beat by some very lucky heroes.
What genre of games do you like best? And what games are in your top 3 list of all time favorites?
RPGs of all types, MMOs included, and strategy games. All time favorites are Baldur's Gate 2, Deus Ex and Civilization.
Do you like reading? If so, what kind of books do you have in your bookcase?
As a writer and designer you almost have to be an avid reader. The best definition I've ever heard for creativity was simply, "the ability to put old things together in new ways." For that to be possible you need to fill your mind with as much input as you can. Books, movies, art, travel, culture, everything. Right now I have a love for Christopher Moore's fairly silly novels and Brandon Sanderson's amazing ability to make each fantasy book completely unique in feel and magical systems. I also read a great deal of history.
What are you doing in your spare time?
Very little spare time these days but my fridge door has a list of all the various games my fiancé and I play together and with friends and who is presently champion of what. I'm obsessed with the principles of gaming and what creates fun, so board games, card games, bocce, everything is to be explored.
Who shot first?
Han. Always and forever.
And finally the famous lonely-island-question: What, except the German SWTOR-Community, would you take to a lonely island? Lonely… uhm… of course with connection for power and internet.
A fully stocked and gassed up helicopter and a competent pilot.
Thanks to Daniel for answering our questions!
You can find a german translation of this interview here on our page and we have also a little overview of all our meet the devs-interviews right here!