Alex Seropian made his name as one of the founders of Bungie, the developers of Halo (the most successful box games of all time with $4 billion in revenue and more than 50 million games sold). Alex recently founded Industrial Toys a company focused on revolutionizing mobile games for core gamers and who are very close to launching their first ground-breaking and very anticipated game, Midnight Star.
My Highlights | I’m very proud of what we’re able to achieve, what we’re dealing with, particularly with Halo; it’s gone on to have a life of its own that’s above and beyond anything we would have expected when we were working on the game. So I think absolutely it’s up there as one of the things that I’m most proud of. I would say I’m maybe just slightly more proud of the fact that the team and Bungee as itself, you know, lives on, and so does Wide-load.
Daily Actions and Habits | When I get up I do something to take care of myself, something completely not work related… And after that I tend to make lists. And I tend to do that by hook or by crook, really just to get myself some goals for the day to try and get some things crossed off. I don’t know if everybody is like this. I don’t know if this is exactly a successful trait or quality or whatever but I think it’s good to cross things off lists… And then when I get to work, I basically check in with everybody on the team, to make sure that they are sort of pointed in the right direction.
Lessons I’ve Learnt | Talent is important but it’s secondary to the person, and if you’ve found somebody that you want to work with that is really talented, but you’re kind of not sure whether you can really work with them, more often than not it’s not going to work out. And it’s okay – people are different – but that’s a lesson that I’ve kind of learnt the hard way a few times. That’s one. And the other I’d say is that – and this sounds just so common sense and fundamental that I’m not even sure it’s a lesson – quality really is the best business plan. Games are so subjective and it’s so hit driven and it’s really a cross between artistry and technology and business, that if you can really bother, only bother if you can do something great, because if it’s not really the intention then it’s just sort of going to waste everybody’s time.
Principles I Live By | I really hope to impress upon my kids that it’s important to be responsible and whatever else comes with it, but one of my pet peeves in life is when I deal with folks who just lack responsibility. And that’s a big word. But what that means to me is that when you talk about doing something that you can understand that you can do it. And obviously you can understand what we believe about not crossing things off the list. It’s doing things right and having integrity and that kind of thing. So it’s hard to sit a 7-year-old down and have a conversation about responsibility, but it is important to understand why you brush your teeth and why you eat vegetables and things like that. So I think those things are important things.
Favourite Games | One of my favorite games is not a video game; it’s a card game called Wizard. It’s not quite collaborative Bridge but it’s a game where you take tricks. If you ask me what my favorite video game is, I would say, “’Wow, that’s really hard to put down.” There’s so many that I like that this, it might be slightly embarrassing I guess, but I’ve probably played more Word with Friends than any other game and mostly because I can compete with my wife, and it’s a pretty level playing field…. I was a huge fan of Portal. That was an eye opener for me. And the Shadow of the Colossus, both were eye openers for me. I have got a lot of respect for those games.
Resources I Use | Some of the most influential, biggest impacts on me are just people that I have gone into business with and people that I have ended up working with. Maybe even out of my choice, like when we were acquired by Microsoft, and when we were acquired by Disney, I ended up in this new environment that I didn’t really know too much about when I got there, but both of those experiences were sort of mind growing for me, because I ended up in this much larger context with folks that had a much difference experience than I did.
Kids These Days | Kids today are really smart. I guess kids have always been smart, but I’m always impressed when I meet college kids and they have access to so many more tools than I did when I was graduating. There were no tools for gaming. And that’s an opportunity – making their own stuff – which I think is fantastic. So really, you know, the one thing that they are lacking is just experience. There is a lot of trial and error – try and fail, you know – that goes into a career.
Finding Quality People | Finding people that are talented, sometimes that’s the easy part, because…you can look at a portfolio of an artist and go, “Oh my gosh! That’s amazing! I really want to work with this person!” But getting a sense for what the people’s values are, whether they’re trustworthy, whether they’re responsible, whether they do what they say or whether they just say and not do, all of those things those are harder to judge and it’s harder to get that out of a out of a, you know, an hour interview. But that’s really, that’s the fundamentally important thing for me, is finding good quality people who are also really talented and can help you get to the place where you want to be.