This week we introduce a new segment to Bethesda Blog, Beyond the id, to highlight our friends and colleagues at id Software. This week we’re kicking things off with Peter Sokal — the Community Manager for id.
How long have you worked as the Community Manager at id Software?
I’ve been working at id for about 10 months now, and it has been quite the ride.
How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?
I actually had the chance to go to a Dallas Stars (local NHL team) playoff game last year with one of the guys at id, and we had a great time watching the game and talking about videogames. Ultimately I got asked to come join id as an intern in October of last year, and they decided to hire me on full-time in January of this year.
As far as advice, my first tip is to always try to network when you have a chance to do so. Meeting the right person can make all of the difference. Also, when you play a game don’t just decide whether you like or dislike it, ask yourself “why?”
What’s the most satisfying part of your job? What’s the worst part?
The most satisfying part of my job is going to work every day with some of the greatest minds in the industry. Some of which were responsible for making me a gamer. For example, I recently found out that Marty Stratton (Executive Producer on Quake Live) worked on MechWarrior 2… I was obsessed with that game for years.
Another great thing is being able to interact with our fans on a regular basis. The id fanbase is extremely passionate, and they have a very high bar in terms of what they expect from our games. Considering their role in this company’s success, it is very important for us to meet their expectations (and hopefully exceed them) with every game we create.
The most passionate fans are always looking for the latest information on our games and we are not always ready to discuss a new feature or a release date, so the biggest challenge of my job is walking the line of what can I say without letting the cat out of the bag before the right time.
Any tales from the id Community, QuakeCon, etc.?
While I was at E3 this year doing demos for Wolfenstein, I got a chance to meet some very hardcore id fans. It was pretty awesome to get to meet them face to face. One guy even had a QUAKE tattoo, which was bad ass. I can’t understate how awesome our fan base is.
I will also say that if you’ve never been to QuakeCon, it is quite an experience. This year I got to watch some fans eat Twinkies with sardines inside of them for a chance to win a Shelby GT 500 Mustang. That was hard to stomach, but everyone enjoyed it.
What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
Well I love food, so the prospect of breakfast is always exciting. Also, being able to come into the office and work with a great group of people makes it pretty easy to wake up in the morning.
What’s life like in Texas? Is everything really bigger?
Having lived in Texas my entire life, I don’t really know any other way to live. We certainly do things big down here, from our celebrations to our trucks, but I think that’s part of our charm. It gets really hot down here, which is something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, but other than that I don’t have any complaints :).
What would you say is your personal favorite game of all time?
This is always an impossible question for me to answer. I have enjoyed too many games. What I can do, however, is give you a top game per genre:
Final Fantasy VII — The connection I felt with the characters through the music, story-telling, and cinematic nature of the game blew me away. I played through that game three times, and always feel like I could play through it again. Not sure how it would stack up nowadays, but I’ll let nostalgia do my thinking for me.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Series — I think the guys at Relic have done a fantastic job with this license, and the gameplay is extremely entertaining. I “blame” Relic for getting me hooked on WH40K. I actually got to meet Jonny Ebbert and Mark Noseworthy at GDC this year, which was awesome.
DOOM — Don’t let where I’m working fool you, this game single-handedly converted me to gaming for the rest of my life. Everything about that game, from the kick-ass music, to the weapons, enemies, and carnage… I can’t say enough about the game’s impact on my life. Oh, and Deathmatch. Sweet, sweet deathmatch.
What games are you looking forward to?
In terms of games that are coming out this year, I’d say that Brutal Legend, Demon’s Souls, and Darksiders (comes out on January 1, which is close enough :)) are my top picks right now.
Worst job you’ve ever had?
That would have to be my summer internship at a sports team that will remain nameless. The people were great, the organization was great, and I got some great friends out of it, but my job basically consisted of being a telemarketer for the upcoming season. I wasn’t built for sales, so I never really cared about pushing a sale if people didn’t want it to happen. Needless to say, I wasn’t very effective. Overall, I think it was a great experience because it drove me to not give up until I had a job that I enjoyed. Now I’m here at id and don’t take one day for granted.
If you weren’t working in the game industry, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
I think I’d be a teacher and coaching hockey. I’ve always enjoyed teaching.
Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Other than gaming which is the obvious answer, my other passion is hockey. I know that may sound odd for someone born and raised in Texas, but the sport has actually become surprisingly big down here. I’ve been playing hockey, both roller and ice, since I was 5-years-old and no matter how many sports I’ve played I always come back to hockey. I order Center Ice every year and play year round. We were actually trying to put together an id hockey team this year, but we didn’t have enough players ready to go. I’m hoping we can get a team up and running sometime in the future.