The Bossa Studios creator-in-chief gets the rapid-fire question treatment

FAQ: Imre Jele

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Imre Jele, I co-founded Bossa Studios with Roberta Lucca and Henrique Olifiers three years ago. I carry the fun and thoroughly confusing title of creator-in-chief. I’m also member of the BAFTA Games Committee.

What are you working on right now?
Multiple games actually. We’re trying to figure out how to bring Surgeon Simulator 2013 to touch devices, which is a tricky but very, very cool thing to do. We’re also testing the prototype of Time To Live, a hilariously violent action game about the future’s greatest bloodsport. And finally, I’m also working on a game I’ve been dreaming about forever. But it’s super-secret…

What was the first video game or product that you ever worked on in the industry?
The first game-related payment I ever got was for an adventure I wrote for a national tabletop RPG competition. It got published and I was really confused when I got the money. It just didn’t compute to me that you can get paid for making games. Not long afterwards, I started in the industry as a tester.

What was the first video game you ever played and did you enjoy it?
I remember spending an unreasonable amount of time and effort to sneak into our local pub to play Centipede on an arcade machine as a little kid. Every minute on it felt like a bite from a forbidden fruit. But the first memory I have playing a video game at home was Manic Miner on the ZX Spectrum.

What was the most recent video game you’ve played and did you enjoy it?
I play a lot of games for pleasure and research. But I have to say my most memorable experience in recent months was the remarkable Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

What is your favourite game ever, and for what reason?
Full Throttle. I have dear memories about so many games, but Full Throttle is one I’ve replayed the most over the years and I still enjoy it every time. Lately it’s become more like a karaoke title – I know it so well I can say the lines along with the game.

How many hours a week do you spend playing video games?
I’d say it’s about five to 20 hours, depending on how busy work gets.

What area of the industry do you think needs more investment?
I’d like to see more effort done to increase the diversity of our workforce. BAFTA and some other organisations do some great work, but there’s still much to do to shed the “white male” stereotype of games developers.

What do you enjoy about the video games industry today?
It’s amazing how accessible games are. Being able to get a game with a press of a button is fantastic. Not to mention how easy it is to tell a dev when I love their work on Twitter. If someone told me 20 years ago that I could interact with games and developers like this, it would have blown my mind.

What disappoints you about the video games industry today?
The constant drama and negativity. It seems a lot of people actively seek out a chance to be angry and destructive, instead of discussing our passion as a form of art. You can say ‘that’s the internet’, but I believe it still is unacceptable. So often gaming news is degraded by tabloid-like headlines.

Of all the games you have worked on, which has been your favourite to work on?
Time To Live. I know it’s cliché to name your latest game, but we’ve been playing this game internally for months and are still enjoying it. I really do like it and I have high hopes players will feel the same way.

What game that you were not involved with would you most liked to have worked on, and why?
The Last Express. That game was way ahead of its time with its dynamic storytelling and handling of time progression. And it’s out on iOS, too.

What other video games developer do you most admire?
I have many heroes. But I’d like to highlight Ian Livingstone in particular. His Fighting Fantasy book series was a key reason why I got into making games myself. The games and businesses he created through his colourful career are inspiring. And his work about education is absolutely invaluable.

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