Developer Playlist is The Black Panel’s occasional column devoted to industry figures and the games that inspire them. Each instalment features a ‘playlist’ of influential titles hand-picked by a talented creator.
A lot has changed in the gaming landscape over the past two decades. Whilst many in the industry have come and gone, Frank Simon has spent his 17 year career moving from strength to strength. With 2012 marking his seventh year as a Producer at Sony Computer Entertainment, Simon has worked with some of the highest profile first and second party developers in Sony’s stable including Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch and Insomniac. With AAA franchises like Uncharted and Infamous under his belt, he has most recently added to this already impressive list the Resistance series’ latest title from developer Nihilistic.
—– Frank Simon’s Playlist —–
When asked to list three of the games he returns to time and again, Frank responds with a surprisingly diverse range spanning generations and platforms.
First released in 1987 for the Atari ST and later ported to multiple platforms including the PC and SNES, DUNGEON MASTER is a first person dungeon crawler which uses a real time combat system as opposed to the turn based systems found in many similar titles made at the time. Remaining a cult favourite today, Simon says Dungeon Master is the “game I come back to more often than anything, because I love role playing games”.
Coming out for the PlayStation 2 at the tail end of 2001, JAK AND DAXTER: THE PRECURSOR LEGACY showed the world that former Crash Bandicoot developer Naughty Dog could still push the boundaries of the platforming genre. Admitting that this inclusion “is a little more self serving”, Simon goes on to say that “because the original game, Jak and Daxter, is much different than Jak II, it’s always kind of tear for me which one I’d like to go back and play”.
Last, but not definitely not least, on the list is the juggernaut that is Blizzard’s flagship MMORPG WORLD OF WARCRAFT. Since its release in 2004, WoW has seen multiple expansions and overhauls to both its visual and gameplay elements. Perhaps this is why it has managed to remain relevant in a marketplace that has seen so many others try and fail. Simon admits that “I just started my subscription again. I think this is the fourth time that I’ve started the subscription”. When rationalising his repeated ventures back into Azeroth, he states “there’s something compelling that they’ve created in that world that draws me back again and again.”
Frank Simon on Resistance: Burning Skies
Utilising the strengths of the PS Vita, developer Nihilistic has managed to put the frantic action of a console FPS into the palm of gamers’ hands. Building on the core elements found in the first four titles in the series, Simon promises that players of Burning Skies will “get to see something new,” including “a new hero in Tom Reilly and a story that is being told from a civilian perspective”, something which isn’t a regular occurrence in blockbuster FPS series. Long time Resistance fans shouldn’t worry however, as Burning Skies still contains “a lot of the things that people know and love about Resistance”.
Image Credit: MobyGames (Dungeon Master)