Uncover Games Industry Insights in Rise Above, Season 1 – a Podcast by Ascendant Studios

Rise Above Season 1 has arrived! In this series, we speak to industry-leading developers who are masters of their craft in the video game industry and learn about their origin story, their path to success and the challenges they’ve experienced along the way. Each episode aims to provide insights and inspiration for current and future creators, players, and gaming fans alike, as we explore how these leaders Rise Above.

Tune in to Rise Above for a new episode every other Monday! You can find us on your favorite audio platform: YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, or Stitcher. Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Season 1 Episodes

PILOT: Bret Robbins – Founder, Game Director & CEO of Ascendant Studios

Welcome to our inaugural episode of Rise Above. Today we’re speaking with Ascendant Studio’s own Bret Robbins about his storied career creating and directing unforgettable journeys like Dead Space and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

BONUS EPISODE: Candid Conversations with Dead Space Creative Directors

Join us for a candid conversation between Bret Robbins, Creative Director of the 2008 hit Dead Space, and Roman Campos-Oriola, Creative Director of the 2023 Remake, as they share insight into design decisions, the challenges of creating then recreating a game, and what they learned along the way.

BONUS EPISODE: How BIG DREAMS Became a BIG GAME: The Origins of Ascendant Studios and Immortals of Aveum

We are Ascendant and this is our story. Take a behind the scenes look at the origins of our studio and the experienced team developing Immortals of Aveum™.

Immortals of Aveum is Ascendant Studios’ first game, releasing on August 22, 2023. But how did it all begin? Get to know the people behind the epic magic shooter, and how Bret Robbins and co. built a studio from a daydream! This is who we are, what we are all about, and how Immortals of Aveum came to be!

EPISODE 1: Unearthing the Art Behind Art Direction: Creating Memorable Game Worlds ft. Julia Lichtblau

Embark on an inspiring journey into crafting immersive game environments! Ascendant’s Associate Art Director delves into the artistic and technical challenges of designing iconic game environments like Minecraft: Story Mode, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones, and the thrilling experience of constructing entirely new biomes in Immortals of Aveum.

EPISODE 2: How BioShock’s Little Sisters Almost Got Cut: Tough Decisions in Game Design ft. Paul Hellquist

In this episode, Paul Hellquist shares his journey from gamer to archaeologist to video game designer to Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Stray Kite Studios, and what he’s learned along the way. Paul Hellquist is a BAFTA Awards nominated game designer who was the lead designer on the original BioShock and the creative director on fan favorite Borderlands 2. He now leads his own independent AAA game studio.

EPISODE 3: Imagining The Evolution Of Video Game Art: 3 Decades in Art

Join Ascendant’s Senior Art Director, Dave Bogan, as he discusses the evolution of art in video games throughout his nearly 30 year career working on Grim Fandango, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Batman: The Telltale Series, Sam & Max, and now creating a brand new world in Immortals of Aveum.

EPISODE 4: Making Video Games Fun, First and Foremost ft. Chris Scholz

Join games industry veteran and Free Range Games CEO, Christopher Scholz, as he shares hard lessons and inspiration from his years creating games for franchises like Tony Hawk, Spider-Man, and now Lord of the Rings.

EPISODE 5: Producing a Legacy: Real Lessons in Shipping Games ft. Kevin Boyle

Approaching three decades in gaming, Kevin Boyle has shipped over 30 titles while working for industry titans like LucasArts, WB Games, SEGA, and Telltale Games. He has worked on multiple Game of the Year award-winning titles with over 90 awards between them, including two BAFTAs. Now he oversees production on Ascendant Studios’ AAA magic shooter, Immortals of Aveum. Join us as Kevin reflects on the challenges of game development and the hard lessons he learned along the way.

EPISODE 6: Game Devs Unleashed ft. Haden Blackman

In this episode, award-winning game designer, Haden Blackman, shares his journey as a writer and creative lead for incredible franchises including Star Wars, The Force Unleashed at LucasArts and Mafia III at Hangar 13.

Just like making games, we’re trying new things and learning along the way as we work to create an enlightening podcast about the world of game development. Let us know what you think about Rise Above by rating and reviewing the show so we can grow and improve our podcast together.

Stay in touch

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