Levi Buchannan served as director of BD for EA Mobile’s Chillingo studio, working on blockbusters like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, and Iron Force. He also pioneered mobile game coverage at IGN Entertainment. Buchanan has been published by Random House and syndicated by Tribune Media and MSNBC. He’s also the co-creator of a comic book called PiNKHEARTS.
He is currently Director of Business Development at Rogue Games, a games publisher with several award-winning titles including Glitch Dash, Chaos Battle League, Oz: Broken Kingdom and more.
We caught up with Buchanan as he looks towards the next trends in the games industry.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a bit about Rogue Games
Levi Buchanan: The front page of Rogueco.com says it best: “Empowering developers. Engaging players.” Our team pulls expertise from all vectors of the industry to help developers successfully bring their games to players around the world. And to make sure those players have fun. Fun. That’s something we talk about every single day at Rogue. I’m proud of that.
What does your role entail?
My mission at Rogue is to search out the best developers for us to partner with so we can continue to deliver amazing games to players all around the world.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
I love the art of telling stories and I think games are one of the most exciting ways to do that, especially now that the definition of “videogame” is in complete flux.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
The best advice to give a writer is to read. Always be reading – something, anything. Same goes for anybody wanting to get into games. Play as many games as you can get your hands on to learn what’s possible with the medium so you can later push those boundaries. And talk to developers. Or read postmortems, blogs, etc. Understand not just the general mechanics of game development, but also the sweat and tears that go into making games, so you can truly empathize with the people on the other side of the screen. If you enter this industry with an authentic voice, you stand the best chance to be heard and leave your mark.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
Every year brings new inventiveness to our industry. I love that games continue to break free of presumed boundaries, such as what screen they belong on or what kinds of stories can be told in games. I mean, Untitled Goose Game exists alongside Fortnite. And they exist alongside casino games on a phone. The last year was full of so many different play experiences and I’m incredibly proud of our industry striving to not leave people out. I expect that to only continue in the months and years ahead until games are genuinely inclusive.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
More games that follow the player to whichever screen they choose – living room, mobile, game room. More genre mash-ups that explode the definitions of action, horror, puzzle, racing, etc. Longer lifecycles for individual games thanks to innovative live ops. I love it when I get to be part of a game’s evolution as a player.
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
Without revealing how old I am… in my time, we’ve gone from a two console battlefield to games that exist on dozens upon dozens of screens and are purchased right from the device versus going to retail. The cast in this industry has changed many times over, too. New faces with new ideas rolling up their sleeves alongside veterans with hard-learned experience and clever tricks. But there’s been a unifying theme across every single person I’ve worked with: let’s do everything we can to bring the best possible games to players.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
Like some of the best conferences, Connects is something of a family reunion where folks from all across the industry are in the same place. I’m looking forward to meeting new developers and experiencing wildly new ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues, sharing and learning. And I can’t wait to play some games!
At Pocket Gamer Connects London 2020, Levi Buchanan will be co-hosting a session: “Don’t let publishers off the hook”, which aims to help developers ask the aggressive questions before signing a contract with a potential publisher. For more information on the show, and to buy your tickets, click here.