Today’s Inside the Vault is about Angela Browder, associate producer. Angela is actually a lawyer who would rather work here — though her only legal experience was working with Robber Barons and Railroad Tycoons, which actually sounds pretty cool to me. Though, I bet if you asked most lawyers, they’d rather be working on videogames.
What’s your job at Bethesda?
I am an associate producer in charge of the character artists and animators. I also look out for our sound guy and concept artist when needed. On a daily basis that means I assign tasks and bugs, work on long term scheduling, and keep tabs on making sure that people are on track with dates. I consider it a big part of my job to do what I can to make things easier for people to get their jobs done — whether this be acting as a liaison between departments, wrangling decisions from those who need to make decisions or just acting as an ear during times of frustration.
What other games have you worked on?
Before I started at Bethesda, I spent a number of years working as a GameMaster for an online text-based RPG while I was going to school. Here at Bethesda, I worked in QA on Oblivion and its many manifestations before moving to production on Fallout 3.
What is the best part about working as a producer? The worst part?
The best part of being a producer is the variety. I get to work with slew of very unique people and while my focus is on character art, I get to learn about all different aspects of game development. It keeps the days from being dull. At the end of the day, I often look back on the conversations and meetings I have had during the day and am amazed that this is my job.
The worst part is, no matter how much they try to hide it, everyone’s first reaction when you walk into their cubicle is to cringe a little. Face it, everyone expects the worse when they see a producer coming.
How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?
My story is similar to many before me. I had a friend who worked here at Bethesda who mentioned to me there were openings in QA, and as I had just gotten out of school and was seeking employment, I submitted my resume. They interviewed me and seemed not to hate me and offered me a job.
As for my tips, all I can say is, be willing to take whatever job you can and work hard at it. If you really want to get into the video game industry, don’t be afraid to start in QA, you can work your way up. Starting in QA gives you the advantage of getting to know the way your company works, the way development works and allows you to get to know your co-workers. You can learn a lot from people who are doing the job you want. The important thing is to work hard at the job you have. That’s what will get you noticed and a good work ethic can often times overshadow lack of experience.
What would you say is your personal favorite game of all-time?
Dragon Warrior IV for the Nintendo is my personal favorite game of all-time. It was the first RPG that I ever completed and holds the honor of being the only RPG that I have ever replayed multiple times (in a non-work capacity of course). One of the best things about this game is its Chapter setup. You play four chapters, each as a different character(s) and then in the 5th they all end up together to help you, the hero, defeat the big, bad evil. Along the way you get to play as a variety of different people who each have a different focus in life. My favorite was Chapter 3, where you played as Taloon the merchant, and you had to go kill monsters to get gear so you could sell it in your shop to make a profit so you could afford to build a tunnel to the next continent. Enterprise in action! Plus, the game had a sense of humor. I mean, can you beat a game where you are fighting blue Slimes and Runamok Albacores?
Of course, there are other games that have a footnote in my history. Spy vs. Spy on the Nintendo was the first videogame I ever played. My dad brought that home with our shiny, new Nintendo and we would play it for hours on end. I was pretty darn good and it didn’t take him long to declare me a cheater since I had an uncanny knack for remembering everywhere I placed my traps. Goldeneye for the N64 and NCAA Football 2000 for the Playstation sucked up a lot of time in college when I managed to find a roommate who would play videogames with me. In more recent times, I became addicted to Puzzle Quest, finishing it up on both the DS and on Xbox Live. Bejeweled + spell casting? Count me in!
What games are you looking forward to?
The big ones are Lego Indiana Jones, Spore, Silent Hill 5, Fable 2 and of course, the expansion for Puzzle Quest. It goes without saying I’m excited for the release of Dragon Quest IV on DS.
What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
It’s typically a toss up between my two cats demanding to be fed and my own annoying internal alarm clock screaming at me that its 6 AM. But I don’t mind so much since I get to get up and go to a job that I like and it doesn’t involve me wearing a business suit to work everyday.
Worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve never really had a bad job. I worked in the legal department one summer for a railroad where my desk was literally in the storage closet. But since the boxes never actually managed to hit me when they fell, I can’t really claim it was that bad.
Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like to travel whenever I can, whether it be within the US or off to far away places. I most recently spent 10 days in Spain (you should go, its fabulous there), and I am looking forward to my next big trip — to Ireland.
In my spare time I am a big reader. I have a pretty jumbled up bookcase full of books that I keep meaning to alphabetize. Also, I live just a couple blocks off the Chesapeake Bay, so I like to spend time near the water as often as I can.