Game Development Reference
Interview with Exploding Barrel: Give Them
What They Want—cont'd
space. He saw the promise in Facebook as a platform, as well as the
mobile space, and this concept of free-to-play socially connected games.
In the early days, Scott brought on several partners, like Wilson Tang,
the Chief Visual Officer, who had been at EA for six years on the Need for
Speed franchise. Before that, he spent many years at Industrial Light and
Magic, working with the likes of Spielberg on a couple of Star Wars films,
as well as A.I. and The Hulk . Wilson was excited about this space because
he believed that there was an opportunity with presentation fidelity that
wasn't being mined. Wilson was also an amazing concept artist, so he's
perfect for quick iteration.
Jeff Howell joined us even earlier. He was on the forefront of socially con-
nected and online spaces before many other people were. He was paying a
lot of attention to Xbox Live, which is still a viable, socially powerful net-
work. He was also doing things with console games like letting users capture
video and push that video out to YouTube with one click of a controller but-
ton. He has been at the forefront of online for years. He saw an opportu-
nity here to win by building great tools for rapid iteration, and data-driven
design, arming designers with great tools and so they can iterate quickly.
Q: You guys are building Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for traditional
social platforms, as well as mobile, is that right?
HP: Correct. For Facebook and iOS. We love the iPad as a gaming plat-
form. We love the iPhone as a gaming platform. If this game were just
for Facebook, I think we would have been less excited about it. Whether
you are playing on Facebook or on an iPad, it is the same experience. As
far as we know that has not been done yet. For the iPhone, we've made a
Margaritaville experience that is a compliment to the other two games. You
can't really have the scale of world in that size footprint, so we're focus-
ing on experiences that make sense for how people play games on their
iPhone. For the iPhone, the focus is on our minigames, which we have a
lot of. On iPad and Facebook, the focus is on exploration and adventure.
Q: I'm not aware of many other licensed social games that have been done
to this level of quality. What's it like bringing the Margaritaville license to
life in this way?
HP: One thing that the leadership team is super-passionate about is dig-
ging into a culture. If you were to ask me if I wanted to dig into a Pepsi