Rising Star – Artemis Leonov, associate game producer at CRITICAL REFLEX,

Artemis Leonov, associate game producer at CRITICAL REFLEX, talks about his start as a games journalist, and how he left it behind to start a new career path.

How did you break into games?

Since childhood, I have been passionate about video games, and I was always interested in the development process. I was studying history and foreign languages at University, but somewhere along the way, I realised that this career path didn’t suit me too well. I started to research other options, ended up at a European media outlet, and began my career as a game journalist.

While most of my colleagues focused on the consumer side of things, mostly writing reviews of popular games, I decided to specialise in game development itself. I’ve always tried to dig a little deeper and understand the intricacies of how games are made.

After quite a lot of articles and interviews with development teams all around the world, I eventually decided that it was time to move on: when you write about something for a long time, It’s inevitable to feel an urge to create something of your own at some point. That’s how I joined CRITICAL REFLEX — a publishing studio that saw my potential as a producer. Now, I’m finally using my knowledge in practice and offering colleagues my perspective as a former journalist and media manager.

Also, something to point out – I’ve spent a lot of time and money on a game design degree, but it didn’t help my career in any significant way. I suppose it could be a valuable point for those searching for ways to break into game development.

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

I’ve been working in actual game development for less than a year, so I don’t have anything to brag about, at least not yet! Apart from the fact that I have an opportunity to work with unique indie projects, which is kind of a dream come true — that might be an achievement in and of itself.

My most outstanding accomplishment to date happened in my time before I joined CRITICAL REFLEX. I helped build a media outlet basically from scratch, and we managed to reach 350k subscribers on YouTube in less than two years. Since it was a channel focused exclusively on game development — that’s quite a big number, actually.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

I think the greatest challenge was to go on a completely new career path at 26. I was doing well as a journalist, so to leave it all behind and start everything from scratch was quite stressful. Imagine working with people roughly the same age as you, but a lot more experienced in what they do – that would almost make you feel like a complete outsider. But the good thing was that I was ready to learn and adapt, so It wasn’t too uncomfortable – besides, the team at CRITICAL REFLEX did a great job of onboarding me, and slowly easing me into the intricacies of the production process.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy that I’m getting to work on different games, all of them great in their own, unique way. I know some developers working on amazing and beautiful AAA games — but if you work on the same project for 3-5 years, even the best game in the world can start to annoy you.

I think I found a great middle-ground: I’m working with an indie game publisher, so I’m happy to provide my input into quite a lot of unique projects in my line of work. That way, there’s always something new and refreshing for me to bite into.

What’s your biggest ambition in games?

My main ambition is probably to launch a successful project as a producer. For now, I’m heavily relying on the support of my teammates and colleagues, due to my limited experience in the field. Although I’m hoping to overcome this soon, thanks to their excellent mentorship and support. Soon, a day will come when I’ll be able to do everything a great game producer should do, but I’m pretty happy with where I am now. I’m in an environment where I can constantly learn something new, and it’s a great feeling.

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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