It is estimated that more than 3 billion people are active video game players with the global gaming market valued at US$347 billion. Behind the largest entertainment industry in the world are movers and shakers like Blake Battle ’12MSa veteran producer at Bungie, which created popular games like Destiny and Halo.
A UCF Interactive Entertainment graduate, Battle’s has turned his gaming hobby into a career through his training at the university’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). FIEA offers an authentic and unprecedented video game development experience that helped Battle break through. He did an internship at EA Sports during his studies and transitioned seamlessly into a full-time position at the games company upon graduation – a testament to the value of FIEA’s plug-and-play approach.
As a market leader, strategist and customer, Battle is always looking for the next level of gaming, which he believes is currently service gaming. Service games forego upfront costs and instead rely on in-game monetization, benefiting both the player and the developer.
“Games as a Service is a return to the old form,” says Battle.
As Battle works to renew Bungie’s offerings – focused on building games that inspire friendships – he reflects on his time at the first game development community he joined: FIEA.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a video game developer and participate in FIEA?
Before FIEA I was a paralegal and preparing for the LSAT bar exam. Before that, I was a recent college graduate trying to navigate the business world. After college, I quickly realized that neither would make me happy and that I needed to pursue an area I was passionate about. Video games were undoubtedly the only object of passion in my life. I found FIEA via a Google search for “Best Video Game Grad School” (and) found it on a Princeton review list. The cohort-based program seemed to work best for me.
*Editor’s note: According to The Princeton Review and PC Gamer, FIEA was ranked among the top two graduate game design programs worldwide for the fourth straight year in March.
How did FIEA prepare you for the industry?
FIEA offers an authentic video game development experience that is almost impossible to reproduce in any other environment. More than 60 student developers from all disciplines are on site to develop games together with you. That’s the job. Before FIEA I had no knowledge of game development and the functional skills and experience I gained allowed me to jumpstart my internship during the program. After graduation, it quickly became a full-time position. FIEA allowed me to be truly plug and play in the industry.
What advice do you have for current FIEA students entering the game development industry?
Don’t undermine the experience you had at FIEA by applying for jobs. Even though FIEA is not a game studio in the truest sense of the word, the experience you get developing a game with colleagues is of an extremely high quality and comparable to what you would get in the industry.
So don’t be afraid to identify yourself as the role you want to play in the industry based on your accomplishments at FIEA. I’m not saying “You were a project leader at FIEA, so you’re ready to become an EP in the industry or a creative director.” But you want to be a gameplay designer and you’ve done gameplay design at FIEA? Imagine you are now a gameplay designer and not an aspiring one.