On the week of the release of the new Boom Blox, one of the game's chief creators heads to ThatGameCompany.
Video game designer Robin Hunicke, noticeable at any gaming event for having the reddest hair of anyone in attendance, is trading her big-company background for ThatGameCompany, a sign that the small studio behind Flow and Flower is growing its ranks.
Hunicke had served as lead designer on MySims, the Wii spin-off of the classic PC series that itself has launched MySims spin-offs. She also was a producer on the original Boom Blox and the sequel, Boom Blox Bash Party, which launches this week.
In an e-mail to Kotaku, Hunicke explained her move:
"I've always pushed to try new things. With MySims, we reached beyond core Sims compulsions, embracing a whole new range of casual game mechanics. With Boom Blox, we channeled the beauty and complexity of physics into an edge-of-your-seat game that's also extremely accessible. Add intuitive editors and online features (a huge win for Bash Party) – and you're allowing people to create and share experiences in a whole new way.
"These projects, GDC and Experimental Gameplay, teaching, research... all my work is united by a single thread. I want to reach new people, with new experiences, via the medium of games and the language of game design. TGC was founded with similar goals in mind, and is at the forefront of the indie movement as a result. The blend of emotion and exploration they have achieved with their titles is what sets them apart.
"It's funny – I don't think I fully appreciated their impact until I began telling folks about my new gig. 'Oooh, Flower,' they'd say, smiling. 'I really *loved* that game!' And in their voice I could hear this... resonance. It's a connection to the game and its creators that goes beyond the experience itself. That's the kind of connection I want to help bring to life!"
ThatGameCompany co-founder Kellee Santiago wouldn't let slip what Hunicke will work on, but said "Her talents as a designer and her experience and skill as a producer make her an asset to any team, but make her a perfect fit for thatgamecompany, where we're trying not only to change what games are made, but how they're made. I think Robin is going to push us all to greater heights in video game development."