Here’s why we think Joe is swell.
Tim Gerritson, Director of Product Development: Joe Fielder is one of our intrepid producers here at Irrational Games, and one of the cat-herders who helps wrangle the game from concept to completion.
The first thing we need to address is Joe’s look. He doesn’t look like a producer. He looks like one of those male cigarette models from the 1960s.The kind of guy who rides that razor-fine line between super suave and hopelessly square. That has made him our de facto internal Irrational Games spokes-model. He has a look that is tailor made for Photoshop mash-ups, and so the office is festooned with images of him on faux Jazz CDs, or hawking non-existent brands. But the thing is, he’s a consummate gamer and a quintessential geek in the best sense of the term – he just doesn’t look like one, which is why he strikes us all so.
He has a depth to him that the look belies, and it serves him well. He exudes a calmness, even when he’s freaking out, that’s infectious. He makes you feel better about things, and disarms even the tensest moments. He’s also extremely creative, with talents spanning across music promotion, comic book writing, and general writing to name but a few. He really is a creative (and I mean that as a noun- ‘A Creative’), which also makes him “one of us” in a studio where everyone lifts their creative shovel. This earns him the respect he’s garnered within the team.
So whether you need a really awesome cocktail party or a host of assets to be delivered by Friday afternoon, Joe can get you both, with a wink, a nod and a can-do attitude.
Your title is Producer. What does that actually mean?
Joe Fielder: Producers make sure all the little details are followed up on, that developers get everything they need to do their jobs, and deadlines are hit. At Irrational, it also means that we keep an eye out to never let anything slip by that’s just “alright.” Everything needs to hit the studio’s quality bar or we don’t do it.
For myself, I don’t feel like I’ve done my job at the end of the day each day if I haven’t made an improvement to the project in some way. Whether that’s corralling developers to work out a direction for a part of the game that’s giving the team trouble, helping problem-solve a tough scheduling issue with our production staff, following up with a contractor to make sure an asset will be ready when others need it, or setting up a recording session that somehow navigates the arcane schedules of six to eight different people at once.
When I started working in development, I felt a lot of personal responsibility to ensure the project went well in every regard, but didn’t have much voice in it. So I became a producer.
You can probably tell that I grew up reading a lot of Marvel Comics.
What games have you worked on?
JF: I was a designer, producer, and/or writer on EA’s Medal of Honor: European Assault, Medal of Honor: Vanguard, Medal of Honor: Heroes, Boom Blox, and a cancelled project. Before that, I was a writer and editor over at GameSpot and Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Describe Life at Irrational in three words or less.
JF: Intensely challenging/rewarding.
What is your favorite game of all time?
JF: Tough one. GoldenEye 007, Catan, Half-Life 2, Bushido Blade, Civilization Revolution, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are probably the games I’ve logged the most hours on. Wizard of Wor gets the nostalgia vote.
Name a game everyone should play once in their life.
JF: Half-Life 2. I think that the way they introduce new gameplay elements is elegant.
What is your favorite movie?
JF: I flip between Seven Samurai, The Last Picture Show, and Army of Shadows. My favorite movies from the last few years are Attack the Block and House of the Devil.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
JF: I keep pretty busy. I write comic books, contribute to the music web-site radiofreesilverlake.com, help put on concerts, read, run and drink increasingly powerful brands of whiskey.
You write comic books? Do you have any favorite writers that inspired you to do that?
JF: For comics, I’m a big fan of Garth Ennis, Alan Moore, Jason Aaron, and Grant Morrison. For crime novels, it’s all about Edward Bunker. For movies, Paddy Chayefsky and Dan O’Bannon are kind of my heroes. For non-fiction, I like Mark Bowden, Peter Biskind, and Hampton Sides. For fiction, I heart Robert E. Howard, Jack London, Cormac McCarthy, and Ernest Hemingway.
Tell me your favorite story about life at Irrational.
JF: I can’t because it contains spoilers, but I remember being on the phone with Ken as he was driving to the office right before we were going to record the voiceover for Saltonstall for the first demo. He rattled off the character’s entire speech, nailing it seemingly just off the top of his head. I wrote it out, we recorded a few minutes later with our actor, and the lines made it into the demo without needing any further edits.