Sewell’s team developed prototypes for the carts (top right) in Endless Mission. Then they finalized each unique shape (bottom right) and experimented with textures and colors.

E-Line Media

Designing Virtual Worlds

Brenden Sewell talks about creating new video games

Scholastic Art: What is your job?

Brenden Sewell: I am a creative director at E-Line Media. We create video games that are fun to play and have a social impact. For example, our latest game—Endless Mission—allows players to gain an understanding of coding so that they are playing a fun game and also developing a skill that they can apply in the real world. In my role as creative director, I manage the process of making a video game from the initial idea to the finished product.


SA: What is the process for making a new video game?

BS: We begin with concepting—figuring out the idea for the game. At this point the team is very small. After we have a clear concept, we go into preproduction. During this phase, we create exact prototypes for the look of the characters, the mechanics [how the characters move], and the world [setting] in the game. Then we go into the production phase. This is when we bring in all the designers, artists, and engineers who actually build the game.


SA: How do you decide how an object or a character will look?

BS: We prototype different ideas. The silhouette—or the basic shape—is very important when figuring out what an object or a character looks like. For example, in Endless Mission, we have a cart game with three carts. We had to establish a unique silhouette [shape] for each cart so that players could quickly recognize each one from a distance in order to come up with a strategy to avoid it or pass it. After figuring out the silhouette, we experiment with and finalize the colors and textures.


SA: How do the roles of designer, artist, and engineer differ?

BS: A designer thinks in terms of “What do I want a player to experience? What is the character’s mission? What challenges will the character face?” The designers also work with the artists to come up with the game’s visuals—the lighting, the colors, the mood, and the appearance of objects and characters. The engineers take the designers’ prototypes and implement them through code in a software program.  

E-Line Media

Sewell oversees a team of designers, artists, and engineers who developed Endless Mission. They created the environment, the characters, and the narrative.

SA: What skills make you successful?

BS: I need to have the ability to maintain a vision across a whole project. I also need strong social skills to effectively manage people from different departments.


SA: Did you always want to be a video game designer?  

BS: As a kid, I was a hobbyist game player. But I didn’t see game design as a profession. It just hadn’t clicked that this is a job people can have. It wasn’t until I got involved in a game development program in college that I saw it as a career option. I was studying cognitive science, artificial intelligence, programming, and software development. The ability to merge my creative passions with my tech background seemed like a perfect mix.


SA: What is challenging about your job?

BS: On a daily basis, I need to make dozens of decisions for which there is no right or wrong answer. We just have to experiment a bit and go with our gut feelings about what will give the players the right experience. That makes it risky and challenging. But it also makes it exciting!


SA: What do you love about your job?

BS: Every single day, my mission is to create fun and joyful experiences for people who play our games!

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