We’re back with our employee spotlight series and today we’re chatting up one of our narrative folks. Suriel, our writer extraordinaire, joined us earlier this year and plays a big part in making our dream game a reality!
Suriel, I’m really excited you wanted to do this, so thank you for participating! What do you do here at Big Blue Sky Games?
I am a game writer, which means that I help develop the story and characters of our game that’s currently in development. I also help write individual scenes and basically any kind of narrative text or story-based text.
What would you say is the most exciting part of your role?
I think it’s the amount of freedom I have to just do it. As someone who’s new to game development, it’s really cool to just kind of suggest things or come up with story beats and have them become, you know, part of a game in a way that feels very real. So that’s always exciting to see your stuff be implemented.
You’ve done game journalism for a long time, right?
Yeah, I’ve done criticism and a lot of features and putting together stories that are based on, you know, things real people did. So, in terms of structuring things and making sure one thing leads to another in a way that makes sense, I have experience with that. But in terms of here’s something that I came up wholesale and having that kind of be put through the wringer to make sure this works and connects to the game. Things like that have been really fun.
Was there anything in particular that inspired you to go on the path of narrative work?
Yes! I’d had some practice with making a very small Twine game and I found the process of making it really, really inspiring. I knew that I wanted to do more of it, so I started looking for narrative roles. That’s when I started building up my resume and reaching out to people while developing samples and stuff on the side, which ended up being most of my year last year. It was interesting to kind of pivot and have that, I guess, revelatory moment of knowing that this was the path that I wanted to take.
Since you’re on the game dev side of the industry now, are there any changes that you would want to see or make while you’re here?
I definitely think that we are in the middle of a big moment in terms of how people look at the way people work. I mean, across all kinds of disciplines there has been a lot more unionization efforts, talks about how we work outside of an office, and conversations on AI and how we how we use or won’t use it for work. So, I think having been part of those conversations is really satisfying just knowing that I had some say about those topics at the studio. I’m also really glad to be working with a team that is as diverse as it is. We have a lot of LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent people on the team, which I feel like a lot of game development just is either not particularly highlighting or including those groups. So being part of an environment that is friendly to them in those terms is something that I would wanna spread within our industry. That, and saying the ways that we were making games before are not the ways we have to make them now.
Yes, exactly! So, let’s get a little bit more into the personal stuff! Do you have any fun facts that you wanna share about yourself?
What’s a good fun fact? I’ve been to something like 38 of the 50 states! When I had less regular work, I would go on frequent road trips because it turns out that living in Nebraska is pretty good for that by being dead center of the country. So, you can make these road trips where you drive to each corner of the of the country, and just kind of drive through all the states in between. The last couple of years I’ve been slowly covering the map and stopping at every state. I don’t necessarily spend a day in each one, but I definitely try to stop and take a few photos of every state that I pass through. I have basically, like, all of the northeast section of the US left to visit. One day I would like to finish that out and visit all of those states!
Semi-related to your answer, but if you could go to any other real or fictional location, where would you go and why?
If money wasn’t an issue, I would love to go on a very long tour all across Asia! Probably starting with mainland China and going around to Thailand, Vietnam, and just trying to travel around those areas. When I go on vacation and stay in one place for too long, I very quickly get bored of being in any one location, so I like the idea of it being a journey! Going on a big, long tour of Asia would be really cool one day. Also, I would get to eat in so many different places and see what the regional foods are like! That part of it would definitely be a highlight for sure.
Speaking of food, is there a favorite dish that you’d want to put in our game if you could?
OH, I really like s’mores, but I don’t know if there’s like a good justification to add them because it’s a very American thing. But, I mean, if we have chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers, then we can definitely just put those together!
Okay, we’ll announce to the studio after the interview that s’mores are going to be in the game! Alright, last question. What is a topic that you could easily bust out an hour long presentation on?
Oh gosh, I made a video essay about how imperialism is present in games and how a lot of games really enforce that mindset. But the fact that that is something that coincides so much with what we’re trying to do with Big Blue Sky Games is really nice. I could also talk a lot about Dota 2!
So, what you’re saying is you will agree to next year doing a GDC talk about it?
If they have room for people who haven’t shipped a game yet, I totally have that talk written already!
Interviews are edited for content and clarity.