In the "Hit List" from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, the video game industry's top talents describe their current gaming addictions, their most anticipated releases and more. This week: 343's Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor.
When Bungie spun out of Microsoft during Halo Reach, he decided to stay with the Halo franchise and has been there since the inception of 343 Industries. He's lived through every single console and computer game transition, and he is just as excited about the impending one as he was when Pong gave way to the Atari 2600.
At Frank's forthcoming 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit session with Microsoft Game Studios/343 Industries' Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill, Frank will co-present on "Changing the Universe - Three for Three." This session will explore the trials, tribulations, and opportunities in building and rebuilding a cultural phenomenon, expanding a beloved universe into live action and transmedia storytelling, all while creating a AAA-game studio from scratch.
What games are you playing right now?
I am playing Red Dead Redemption (still) and a lot of Halo 4 multiplayer. I sort of sample snippets of other games, like Walking Dead or Dishonored, but simply don't get enough time to play properly.
What future release are you most looking forward to?
Right now, GTA 5.
What about a niche title that impressed you with its sheer innovation or fun factor?
Journey is hardly niche, but it's a smaller title and it contains a lot of the exploration and atmosphere I'd like to see more of in games.
What literature has had the biggest impact on your creative process?
I read a broad swathe of stuff, from hard sci-fi to poetry and more. I dip back into classics that used to be school torture, like the Iliad, and find them much more instructive.
What two movies or TV shows influenced your creative process the most?
A lot of the more emotional responses and resonance come from stuff I experienced as a kid, and I tend to draw on feelings rather than data or concepts, so pretty much every action, sci-fi and epic from the eighties and early nineties, just for the emotional memories.
When you're daydreaming about the "next big thing", what are you listening to?
I don't necessarily pick music as an inspirational tool, but right now I'm listening to Muse and Cat Stevens.
What app is making it tough to put down your phone or tablet?
What social game has you hooked?
Words with Friends is almost antisocial, but I do enjoy experiencing the previously unplumbed depths of my friends' newfound and magically impressive vocabulary. It's amazing how many incredible obscure and high scoring words they suddenly know.
What does your home gaming setup consist of?
A 360, a Kinect, a PS3 and HDTV with surround, but the truth is I do the bulk of my gaming on a 360 in the basement, while riding a recumbent bike. An hour of cardio when I am winning burns about 520 calories, and if I am losing (raging) it's literally more like 640.
What's your favorite new gadget?
My Surface. I would say that, but it's true. Lives up to the promise of being able to play and work properly that my iPad almost-but-not-quite delivered on.