PlayStation Game Runners: Carl Christopher-Ansari Interview
Recently a series of play-tests revealed BLOCKS as the most popular game developed during the PlayStation Game Runners project. The game will be put on display and available for all to try on Friday 8th October at Elys Yard, The Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street in London.
Despite the event being just around the corner Carl Christopher-Ansari, the Sponsorship & Events Manager at Sony Computer Entertainment UK, kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to Gamebrit about the project.
Gamebrit: How did the idea for Game Runners come about?
Carl Christopher-Ansari: PlayStation Game Runners came about by PlayStation wanting to have a direct communication with its social players target audience. We were seeking to create direct and engaging experiences with our brand.
GB: What role in the proceedings did you take?
CC-A: As Sponsor Manager at SCEUK, I am the Senior Producer of the project. My role is to bring together all the parties in the project, to strategically plan and manage the project from start to finish. The project starts with my creative ideas, and I appoint the appropriate parties to full realise that vision.
GB: What did the partnership with Hide & Seek bring to the table in terms of ideas and ways to progress the project?
CC-A: Hide & Seek, are great architectures of social gaming. Hide & Seek were the perfect partners to teach the Game Runners on how to build, craft and restructure social games. In response to the brief from PlayStation to create games that were social, competitive and based on the verb to manoeuvre. Hide & Seek designed three games BLOCKS, HOOPS and FLAGS. Hide & Seek designed those games with a basic skeleton, and over the course of the project held workshops with Game Runners to encouraged their creativity and allowed them to see the direct consequences of their decision making on how the games played out.
GB: With social gaming being at the forefront of the project, what kind of benefits can you see from this type of gaming?
CC-A: Essentially, social gaming is fun, and has multi participatory aspects to it. PlayStation believe all the best games are shared.
GB: Video gaming has become more and more popular in recent years, because of this do you feel people are less encouraged to spend time enjoying physical games out in the real world?
CC-A: I really believe you can have a mixture of both. PlayStation Move certainly shows that you can mix the physical with the virtual.
GB: Young people often have radically different ideas and opinions on most things, did you find this was case when working with the chosen Game Runners and did you learn a lot from the experience?
CC-A: It was great to have such sharp young minds working directly with our brand. The mixture of opinions meant that the debate on how the games could be played and changed was always lively. However, over the course of the project the Game Runners became very passionate about the games they were crafting. They picked up very quickly that each creative decision would have an overall effect on the end users game player experience, and also shape the spectators experience.
GB: A big congratulations goes out to BLOCKS for being chosen as the most popular game. What do you think were the deciding factors in it’s game play that made it rise above the rest to gain it’s winning status?
CC-A: I believe it was the simplicity of the game play, and its intimate competitiveness that enabled BLOCKS to win the popular vote. BLOCKS is pick up and play, and very addictive. We have office and inter agency mini leagues set up already. It has got very competitive. One agency has claimed bragging rights. BLOCKS charm is it’s simplicity, you can envisage BLOCKS being a playable digital game.
GB: Aside from the event in London on October when else will the world see BLOCKS and the Game Runners project on show?
CC-A: That is up to the PlayStaton Game Runners community. We would love to see BLOCKS take off by the community setting up their own mini leagues, in the same way as we have internally. I would love to see these community leagues posting their content online. Let the bragging rights commence.