Kotaku Asks: A Game Designer Who's Worked On BioShock And South Park [Q&A Over]

Illustration for article titled Kotaku Asks: A Game Designer Who's Worked On BioShock And South Park [Q&A Over]

Meet Jordan Thomas, a veteran game designer who’s worked on games like BioShock and South Park: The Stick of Truth. He’s here to answer your questions today.


Thomas, who has been working in the video game industry since 1998, was the lead designer on Thief: Deadly Shadows back in the Ion Storm days. He also spent a few years at 2K Games, where he worked on the Fort Frolic (Sander Cohen) sequence in BioShock and directed BioShock 2, then helped out on BioShock Infinite for the final stretch back in 2012. After that, he founded his own independent games company and became a creative consultant on South Park: The Stick of Truth, working directly with South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Today, Thomas and his co-workers are working on a strange, fascinating indie they’re calling The Magic Circle, a video game about an AAA video game designed by an egomaniac who calls himself Starfather. When you play it, you step inside the game-within-the-game, solving puzzles and re-programming enemy creatures’ AI in order to figure out how to make progress. They’re planning on putting the game—the actual game, not the game-within-the-game—on Steam’s Early Access next week.

Ask Thomas whatever you’d like about game development, the games he’s worked on, or what it’s like to have two first names. He’ll be here for an hour or so starting at 1pm ET.

UPDATE: Q&A’s over. Thanks to Jordan for taking the time to chat with us today!

This is Kotaku Asks, a weekly feature where we invite guests from the world of gaming to come answer burning questions from Kotaku readers. (If you think you’d be a good guest or have any requests for future guests, let us know.)



Thanks for coming to talk to us!

I have a question about the gaming industry, in general. Kotaku publishes pieces from time to time that focus on how difficult of an industry gaming is for workers that aren’t at the top. It seems like workers are often expected to move frequently, face lay-offs at the conclusion of projects, are required to work unreasonable hours during crunch time, etc, etc. These pieces paint a pretty bleak picture of working in the gaming industry and I’d like to hear your take on the state of the art and if you’ve experienced these kinds of working conditions, as well as how you feel the industry can improve going forward, i.e. unionizing, regulation, etc.