Posted Mon, Jul 29, 2013 by Dalmarus
Welcome to the fifth episode in our "Where Are They Now?" series! I’ve been a gamer since the days of Pong, and I thought it was long past the time for someone to take a look at famous game developers from days gone by and find out how (and whether) they're still involved in making the games we love to play. Of all the individuals we’ve highlighted in our series so far, it’s arguable that today’s developer has more experience in the industry than any of them.
This week’s highlighted game developer is Damion Schubert. He started his career working on MUDs, (Multi-User Dungeons) and was a designer on Meridian 59, the forefather of all MMORPGs. Damion has been there since the beginning, and been an integral piece of the industry puzzle since.
If you name any MMO game of significance, Damion has either worked on it or worked with someone else who did. He’s the Kevin Bacon ( as in Six Degrees of Separation) of the gaming world. Along with his work on Meridian 59 (and two of its expansions), he was also the Lead Designer on the Ultima Online 2 project, which intrigued the public but never saw the light of day. I myself remember being insanely excited about the bits and pieces news outlets like PC Gamer were slowly revealing to us.
After his work with EA, he eventually made his way to Wolfpack Studios where he was a lead designer and producer of Shadowbane (you knew last week’s developer, Sara Jensen Schubert sounded familiar, didn’t you?) along with an unannounced and sadly unpublished MMO. By this point in time, Damion had definitely been around the block and earned his dues, but he wasn’t done yet…
Damion is still hard at work at BioWare, slaving away on a project dear to my own heart, as the Lead Systems Designer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. One of Damion’s roles there is also being a spokesman for the game and talking about upcoming changes and additions at various conventions throughout the year. If you’ve ever had the chance to listen to him speak at one of these events, then you know just how passionate about the game, the mechanics, and the people working on them he is. I can tell you from personal experience that what you see is no joke, and it’s no show for the masses. Damion genuinely cares deeply for all of these things and has more things planned than you or even I could ever imagine.
Inside the BioWare offices, there’s a wall with a ton of Post-It notes, all marked, sorted, and graded in terms of viability, called The Wall of Crazy. It’s a wall of ideas that the team will work on making a reality if, and only if, they can be done right. One of those ideas is Guild Ships. Damion has been a strong proponent of bringing this and other amazing systems to fruition, but only if they can be done right. It’s that dedication to the game, the fans, and the fortitude to release something only when it’s truly epic that makes Damion such an amazing person to have the honor of working with.
If you’re ever at a SWTOR Community Cantina Event in the future and Damion’s there, be sure to say hi and ask him about SWTOR and some of the other games he’s worked on. I guarantee you’ll be in for an entertaining night. I’ve had the opportunity to sit and chat with him about some projects and never ceased to be absorbed in his stories.
The gaming industry has changed dramatically in the last 15 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how volatile it can be. The fact that anyone has not only stuck around but genuinely thrived during that time should tell you just how valuable an asset Damion is. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also an extremely nice guy. And a big Magic: The Gathering Fan as well!
If you have a suggestion for a game designer, art director, creative lead, or any other person intimately involved with a game's completion that you'd like to see highlighted, hit me up on Twitter or send me an email here!