Game Development Reference
Interview with Janus Anderson: Gaming and the
Janus Anderson has been creating social
games since 1997. He is currently Creative
Director and Executive Producer at Zynga's
Austin, Texas, studio. He has built games
for Sierra Online, Vivendi, Westwood,
Electronic Arts, Wolfpack, NCsoft, Ubisoft,
and Challenge Games as a programmer,
designer, and creative director.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background
A: My name is Janus Anderson. I'm the
Creative Director and Executive Producer
for one of the two Zynga games in develop-
ment here in Austin.
Q: You've got a deep history with social game design. What can you tell us
about your time in the games business?
A: My background is in MMO development. I've spent about 15 years
working on MMOs. My first professional job was working with Sierra
Online, working on one of the first MMOs with graphics ( The Realm ), back
in the pre- Ultima Online , Meridian 59 days. We were pioneering in that
space, and I went on to chase MMOs for a while. I think I only really ulti-
mately successfully shipped one other one, which was Earth and Beyond
in 2003. The MMO space is rife with projects getting cancelled and rugs
getting pulled out from under development teams. After that, I worked
with Wolfpack Studios prototyping something in the Marvel Universe,
then started my own company for a while. I went back to Wolfpack and
worked on Heroes of Might and Magic Online , which didn't go anywhere.
Got snapped up by NCsoft as a Creative Director, where I did two or three
years in external business development and as a Creative Director. I basi-
cally saw hundreds of game pitches and concepts in all different stages
of completion, which was very educational. I got paid for years to look at
game pitches and evaluate them and look at projects in various stages of
completion and evaluate them. It was definitely an experience.