Working in games was always a pipe dream. If you know me, you'll have probably already heard the story of how I left high school without any idea of what I was going to do and how I learnt a trade as a safety net. A safety net I was unhappily tangled up in for over six years. Do I regret training to become a Vehicle Technician for Ford...not really. It wasn't a particularly pleasant period of my life by any means. I found the industry incredibly toxic and exclusionary, to be frank. However, it did lead me to where I am now in one way or another and I learnt a lot about myself I wouldn't wilfully give up.
That being said, the prospect of one day working in games was such an unattainable idea that I didn't even entertain it for more than a few seconds. It took me years to actively pursue it. That kind of thing doesn't happen to working-class Northerners from a lower socioeconomic bracket, right? That's the kind of thing you're born into...or maybe a wizard just appears at the foot of your bed with an ancient scroll and a once-in-a-lifetime quest.
It did happen to me though. Still not sure how. My route to nDreams wasn't a straight line. There was plenty of rejection and sneering along the way (including a studio hiring manager telling me "Why would anyone hire you?"). It took two of the loveliest people I have ever met (looking at you DC and Kerry) to give this absolute dork a chance at the big time.
Simply put, joining the team at nDreams was one of the best decisions I ever made. The trust and support I've been given to make the role my own, to give nDreams a proper tone of voice on socials that's fun and friendly, and to uplift how community and content creators are seen, valued, and used in day-to-day operations has been the best journey.
When I first joined nDreams, we were a humble studio of 80 people (still pretty large in the VR space) with big aspirations. DC said, "In a couple of years, you'll not recognise the studio we'll become." He wasn't wrong. As I get ready to leave, we're the largest dedicated VR developer/publisher in the world at 230+ people across four studios. Synapse just released to incredible critical reception with the support of PlayStation, with huge IP like Ghostbusters and PowerWash Simulator still to come later this year.
The glow-up in the last 2-3 years has been so humbling to be a part of. Despite the colossal growth, the studio culture hasn't lost that indie/family feel. It's still incredibly close-knit, collaborative, and supportive. There's still that underdog energy. We're all in the trenches together, doing our best to spread the good word of virtual reality.
There are too many highlights to count when you work at a place like this. From an awesome community-led campaign with Little Cities (where feedback from players directly influenced the post-launch roadmap thanks to the incredible work of James and Kelly at Purple Yonder) to sitting on a call with two of my childhood heroes in Jennifer Hale and David Hayter for the Synapse campaign...I've been spoilt in this role beyond words.
I'm really freaking sad to go. I literally teared up writing my (admittedly soppy) resignation letter. It just hit me out of nowhere. I truly never thought I'd leave. I've done a hell of a lot of growing up here. I'm more confident in my own abilities, not to mention becoming a Dad and a husband over the last few years. It's been a really formative experience. I'd have happily seen out my career here in another alternate timeline.
nDreams have been there for me, not just for my career but for my family too. 2023 has been a real challenge. Full of the best highs and the worst lows imaginable. Finding out we were expecting Kit, multiple losses of close relatives, health scares...you name it. I've been given the time and space to work through it all. I'll never forget that compassion.
I'm incredibly excited for my future and the new challenges coming my way. The opportunity to join a very cool new team and move dev side is a dream come true. I can't wait to share more about it. I can't wait to get started.
I'll definitely remain active within VR circles, but it'll be as an enthusiast and a player...not in any official capacity anymore. I'm interested to see how I fair with VR not being my whole deal (especially having been so far in the hole I even penned my own VR game.)
nDreams are already looking for my replacement, splitting the role in two (they're looking for a Community Manager and a separate Influencer Manager), so be sure to apply if those roles excite you (because they should). I can't recommend the team enough. You definitely want in on their exciting future. Trust me...