Haden Blackman brings nearly twenty years of creative and production experience to 2K. As the founder of Hangar 13, he led the development of Mafia III, and now continues to focus on AAA game development and growing the studio’s global team across Novato, CA, Brighton, UK and the Czech Republic. Blackman began his career as a writer at LucasArts Entertainment, and later became the franchise director and senior executive producer for the Star Wars video game franchise. During his time at LucasArts, he became an instrumental figure in shaping and launching many of the company’s most beloved Star Wars titles, including Knights of the Old Republic and The Force Unleashed. He then went on to co-found Fearless Studios, an independent developer, which was acquired by Kabam in 2012. An accomplished writer, Blackman has won multiple awards for his writing, including the Writer’s Guild of America’s Videogame Writing Award for The Force Unleashed, and a GLAAD Media Award for his work on DC Comics’ Batwoman, a New York Times best-selling comic book series.
The one trait that sets humans apart from all other species is our ability to tell stories. From relating the events of a relatively mundane workday to the latest blockbuster film, narrative is core to the way in which we communicate and at the heart of nearly all of our art forms. However, while it has long been recognized that a strong narrative can enhance the success and immersiveness of interactive entertainment, the art of story-telling is often absent beyond a game’s central plot. In this presentation, veteran game developer and Hangar 13 Global Studio Head Haden Blackman (The Force Unleashed, Mafia III) will describe the key components of “story,” describe the differences between “narrative” and “story-telling,” and outline the importance of bringing these concepts to all aspects of game development, from world, encounter and systems design to milestone definitions. Blackman will share key learnings from his previous projects and describe the ways in which Hangar 13 strives to ensure that “Everything Tells a Story” from the moment the player hits “Start.
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Building games is hard and it’s taxing physically, mentally and emotionally. So being around a community that understands that is great – there’s a comraderie here.
There’s something creative about Brighton, so it’s the perfect place to have the conference.
There really is a huge mix of people at Develop - loads of peers that you can learn from and the perfect blend of every element of game development as well.
If you really want to have a good interface with the British game developer community then this is the place to come.
Develop is a very important place – it’s one of the few developer focussed conferences we have in Europe and that makes it very valuable.
I’ve been to every single Develop in the last 12 years. One thing you get here is networking - you will meet the most amazing individuals in the video games industry.
Develop:Brighton’s a great conference. It’s got a spread of people from all parts of the games industry talking about such a wide range of topics.
Develop always gets put in the diary. There are many reasons to be here, not just the talks, but the networking, people exchanging ideas about where the industry is right now and where it’s going to. It’s pretty essential to be here I think.
Ian Livingstone, CBE
I’ve felt a big passion here at Develop!
I really like Develop, I really like the intimacy of it and I love the location.. there’s a good diversity of talks going on so there hasn’t been a time when there’s nothing I want to see.
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