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Interview with Obsidian's Jason Fader

Bethblog has just posted a new interview with Obsidian Entertainment's Jason Fader. He offers some insight into what exactly he does as technical producer, as well as advice on "breaking in" to the game industry. Here are some excerpts...


What’s your job at Obsidian?

I’m the technical producer on Fallout: New Vegas. It’s kind of an odd hybrid role, combining production work, programming, and random duties that need to get done. For example, towards the beginning of the project, I managed all of the programmers, character/concept/UI artists, animators, writers, and audio engineers. As the project progressed, I took on other duties like managing the build process, writing tools for the team, and recording temp voice over. Occasionally I’ll dip into the engine and fix a few bugs, and then jump over to a production task like scheduling. I love the variety of my job.


How did you get involved in the game industry? What previous games have you worked on?

[...] I started in QA at Blizzard Entertainment working on the Diablo 2 expansion. It was a part time job while I was going to college studying computer science at the University of California, Irvine. After a few months in QA, I started getting ideas for how to improve the overall QA process with some tools, and they let me pursue my ideas and implement them. I created tools during the development of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction and Warcraft 3. As Warcraft 3 was winding down, a bulk of QA was laid off, including myself… on my birthday (I was okay with it since I was still going to school and it was a great experience overall).

[...] Throughout that time, I had been in touch with Feargus Urquhart since we were a local developer, and he’s really great about reaching out to the smaller teams. Once he heard that I was looking for work, he set up an interview for me at Obsidian and I was hired September 2008 as a producer. Since then, I’ve met some truly amazing people and have been working with developers that made the games that I grew up on. Simply put, this is awesome!


Do you have any tips for breaking in?

Work on mods, or small projects. Find a team that can benefit from your skills. Build up those skills. If you fail, learn from the failure and be better.

Stick to your dreams and ideas. Be passionate about your work. Believe in yourself. Never give up, never surrender! ;)


What’s your all-time favorite game?

Hmm, I can’t choose just one, so here’s a list in no particular order!

* The Secret of Monkey Island

  • The Guardian Legend
  • Master of Orion
  • X-COM
  • MechWarrior 2
  • Command & Conquer
  • Wing Commander 3
  • The Journeyman Project
  • Starsiege: Tribes
  • Space Quest
  • Fallout 1,2, and 3
  • Zork
  • ThreadSpace: Hyperbol (of course :-p)


What games are you looking forward to?

  • Singularity
  • XCOM
  • MechWarrior 5 (not sure if that is still being worked on though)
  • The Force Unleashed 2
  • Max Payne 3
  • SW: The Old Republic


Worst job you’ve ever had?

Hmmm, I guess it would have to be my first job, though honestly it wasn’t that bad, but I guess it’s the least favorite job I’ve had, which was working at Souplantation. It wasn’t too bad though. I started off in the bakery, and gradually moved into the soup/pasta area where I became a pasta trainer (back before all stores had pasta) and taught all of the LA managers how to make pasta. That was pretty cool.


Read the full interview here.

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