Welcome to the ninth episode in our “Where Are They Now” series. I’ve been a gamer since the days of Pong, and I thought the time for someone to take a look at famous game developers from days gone by, and find out how (and if) they're still involved in making the games we love to play, was long overdue. Most of the developers we’ve covered in this series have been men, but it’s time to swing the pendulum the other way and take a look at one of the most influential artists, let alone women, in the entire game industry.
Claim to FameWhether you like the game or not, there is no denying that EverQuest changed the landscape of MMORPG games forever and the woman at the helm of its art ship was Rosie Rappaport. With the exception of a couple years near the turn of this last century, Rosie has been an Art Director for Sony Online Entertainment since 1995.
That’s 18 years for those paying attention. Think about what that really means. Hell, if you pay attention to the interwebs, women didn’t even know video games existed, and they sure as hell didn’t hold any major positions in game companies. Thank the gods we’ve made significant strides to change that image. There’s no doubt we still have a long ways to go, but it’s thanks to women like Rosie we have to thank for having the courage to step forward and hold their own in a male dominated field.
Rosie has been at the helm of virtually every SOE MMO title since blowing the world away with the art of the original EverQuest in 1999. EverQuest, EverQuest II, multiple expansions for both franchises, Free Realms, and more – all of these titles felt the guiding brush stroke of Rosie’s vision. In 2009, she was recognized as one of the top 10 most influential women in MMOs by Beckett Massively Online Gamer magazine. The women that stood at her side in that article are all powerhouses in their own right, but Rosie has more than proven her right to be hailed among them.
Where Are They Now and Why the Hell Should I Care?
Cool. So Rosie has been involved in the MMOs I’ve loved the most. What good is all that if we don’t know what she’s doing now? None! But… we do know what she’s doing and the majority of the Ten Ton Hammer staff is chomping at the bit to see or hear every single nugget of information we can scrounge or corral out of anyone. Ever… Quest… Next!
That’s right. Rosie is hard at work directing the art teams working on EverQuest Next. Considering how incredibly gorgeous the graphics and lighting are looking right now, I wasn’t surprised to hear that Rosie is behind it. Not in the least. EverQuest was the MMO that changed the direction of my personal career goals long before I realized it. That’s due in no small part to the art that initially drew me into the world completely.
So thank you, Rosie! Thank you for the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve given us (many of us have heard the complete horror stories of the early EverQuest development period), thank you for being a pioneer for women that wanted to work in the game industry, and thank you most of all for continuing to share your visions with us in the artwork you provide. Your imagination inspires our own.
That’s it for this week’s episode. There’s only one more episode left in this series! Can you believe it? Who’s going to be our chosen developer next week? You’ll have to come back next week to find out! Thanks for joining me!