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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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.
If you really want to have a good interface with the British game developer community then this is the place to come.
Develop is important – the networking is very important. And go to talks they’re inspiring and get your creative juices flowing, they can make you think and you’ll learn how other people do things.
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:Brighton is especially unique - it’s by the seaside and there’s a lovely relaxed tone that goes with that.The talks are cool, the networking is cool and having the opportunity to catch up with people – that’s always the excitement for me!
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.
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.
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.
By coming to Develop what you get is the opportunity to network like you can’t in any other situation. Everyone knows everyone and it’s such a wonderful community feel.
One of the things I like about Develop is it brings people together from across Europe and the whole world. There is a very high level of professionals here, so you have company leaders having drinks with juniors from their community.
Dr Mata Haggis-Burridge
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