Final Boss: MAG Interactive’s Tone Brennan

Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV/DEVELOP with their unique insight. This month, we talk to Tone Brennan, Studio Manager at MAG Interactive Brighton.

What was the greatest [or most ludicrous, funniest, worst…] single moment of your career to date?

The most ludicrous moment is probably one of the last great excesses I was part of in the games industry. I was a producer on a game while working at Bizarre Creations in Liverpool, and they flew five of us on their official Lear Jet to their HQ for a tour.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a brilliant experience, but I dread to think how much it cost! In the end, all I got out of it that would help us make the game, was a massive bag of toys.

With the greatest respect to your current role, what is/was your dream job?

I love my job. It’s corny, but true. But my dream job these days would probably be something outside. Like a beach lifeguard or something like that. Somewhere I can exercise, be outside and be part of a community. That sounds nice as a summer job!

What are some of the biggest challenges today in the games industry?

If we’re talking about working in games, I think the biggest challenge I see is helping to manage the expectations and focus of very clever and ambitious people. Some fantastic people join the wrong studio and find themselves frustrated at the difference between working on a live game and the dream of being a creative genius. Like in any industry, successes are often based on continued hard work rather than a stroke of luck overnight.

How do you think the pandemic will change the industry?

I think the pandemic has given a choice to many people about whether they want to work from home or work in an office. I think we will see games studios find a good sustainable balance between hybrid and remote faster than some industries.

The pandemic has forced isolated people, who might have resisted in the past, to get much more comfortable with online social connectivity, and we’re seeing many different variations of that coming through as people make up their own rules for entertaining themselves in an online group. I think that variety and change in this will affect the mainstream online gaming approach in the years to come.

Who continues to impress you in the industry?

I’m very impressed by companies that consolidate and grow in a stable and solid way while keeping their core values. It’s difficult to grow and also hang on to what you value. MAG is a great example of this, but I’m also really impressed by Wooga who have a similar ethos.

Can the games industry possibly change as much over the next five years as it has over the last five?

I think games will continue to establish itself as a core part of how we entertain ourselves. That might mean we start to have more in common with video and music in terms of delivery and platforms. Or it might mean a blurring of entertainment delivery and Netflix/Spotify/etc change to feel more like games.

Is the games industry headed in the right direction?

I think it is heading in the right direction in terms of creating good work practices and caring about staff, at least in my experience. I think it can move faster than many of the other entertainment platforms and adapt quicker to new technologies. So, yeah I think it probably is!

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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