From time to time, I’ll make a stunt out of my interviews with video game professionals. I’ll do this when they’re bunched together for a weeklong event like Game Developers Conference or the huge E3 show in Los Angeles. I’ll convince every executive and game designer I speak to at one of these things to ask a question for the next person I’m talking to. Or I’ll cajole a parade of all-star game creators to play Tic-Tac-Toe. In June, I asked a who’s who of developers, some of them rivals, to help draw one sketch.
I started this one with a flash of inspiration that came as I reached the second day of my interviews at the 2017 edition of E3. On the evening of June 12, as the game developer Michel Ancel outlined Beyond Good & Evil 2 for me in a room filled with concept art for the dream project, I thought of my reporter’s notebook and the remaining blank pages inside it. I waited for Ancel to finish his presentation and respond to a few of my questions. Then, as a fresh batch of reporters began entering the room, I asked him if he’d be willing to do something unusual and start a drawing that would connect all the game developers I’d meet that week.
As I flipped to a blank page, he said yes. I handed him my notebook. He sat, hunched over, and spent a minute drawing a moon.
Ancel works for the multi-national gaming company Ubisoft, which was showcasing its big E3 games that night of the 12th. After I met with him, I was slated to chat with Ashraf Ismail, who is leading development on the next big Assassin’s Creed game in a studio in Montreal. Ismail and I chatted about Assassin’s Creed Origins for a bit. Then I handed him my notebook.
He added an astronaut to Ancel’s moon.
That was it for Monday. I had actually started my E3 interviews on Sunday, and had I thought of…