On Monday May 8th, USC Games and the Interactive Media Division are proud host an all-star end-year-event, a screening of “THE GAME MAKERS: Inside Story”, followed by a panel featuring series writer Jennie Kong as well as IMGD Alumni Paul Bellezza, Ian Dallas, Nahil Sharkasi, and Matt Korba. Moderated by IMGD Alumni and Faculty member Jesse Vigil, this panel and screening will explore not only what it takes to make games in our current climate, but how soon-to-graduate students can best begin their journeys into the industry at large!
Monday 5/8 in SCI 106, from 6 to 8.
“THE GAME MAKERS: Inside Story” is a a special 10-part digital series that explores the behind-the-scenes process of storytelling, design and directing on some of the most celebrated video game franchises and breakout indie games of today. The series includes interviews and behind-the-scenes look with the creators behind Metal Gear Solid, The Last of Us, Halo, Deus Ex, Uncharted, Firewatch, Star Wars, Journey, and many more.
Paul Bellezza has spent the past seven years of his career working as a Product Manager on League of Legends at Riot Games. Currently he leads a cross-disciplinary team of engineers, game and UX designers, artists, story writers, publishing and QA folks to make memorable and entertaining experiences for LoL players. And in the late hours of the night, he unabashedly main’s the champion: Tahm Kench.Prior to his time at Riot Games, Bellezza was co-founder and CEO of The Odd Gentlemen developing The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom from a student game into a commercial launch on XBLA and PC with 2K Games. In a previous life, he was a high school biology teacher and a QA Tester on the legendary title: Barbie and The Magic of Pegasus. Paul has an M.F.A. in Interactive Media from USC’s IMDG and a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley.
Jennie Kong is a filmmaker, and works as Story Writer at thatgamecompany. Jennie began her career as a communications executive for Nintendo of Europe publishing titles such as Pokemon, Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. She went to work at PlayStation UK and Sony Worldwide Studios overseeing hardware launches as well as campaigns for Uncharted, Gran Turismo, Shadow of The Colossus, etc. She moved over to LA to study USC’s ‘Directing Intensive’ Program in 2013. Since graduating, she has worked on Netflix, Hulu and YouTube productions, and has directed numerous short films. She recently directed the digital series ‘The Game Makers: Inside Story’ in collaboration with Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Ian Dallas is the Creative Director at Giant Sparrow. The studio’s first game was The Unfinished Swan, a first-person painting game set in an all-white landscape where players throw paint to reveal the world around them. Their second game, What Remains of Edith Finch, released on April 25th of this year, is a collection of short, playable stories about a cursed family in Washington State. Ian is interested in creating surreal experiences that give players a chance to see the world in new ways.
Nahil Sharkasi is a Senior Program Manager for Windows Holographic, developing Mixed Reality experiences for AR and VR devices. Nahil joined Microsoft after graduating from USC in 2010. She has produced games for Kinect, Xbox, PC, and HoloLens, including Kinect Star Wars and Halo 5: Guardians. Nahil holds two patents for hand and gesture recognition. She also leads a technology workshop for teen girls with Seattle organization Young Women Empowered, as well as serves on the board of directors for Muslims for Progressive Values.
Matt Korba is the creative director of the new King’s Quest series and the founder of the multi award winning game studio The Odd Gentlemen. He co-founded the studio in 2008 after his USC graduate thesis project, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, got picked up by 2K games. Since then the studio has shipped over 40 SKUs on various platforms and has worked with Disney, Neil Gaiman, and Sierra Games. Matt enjoys creating narrative games for a family audience that can be enjoyed by a wide audience.