Games Industry Pioneer Joe Ybarra Talks Shackleton Crater, Gaming Industry, Kickstarter
by Gregory Laporte Editor Vice President on March 12, 2013 at 01:00 PM EST

Shackleton Crater

Recently, I got the chance to hold a Q and A with Video Game Industry Pioneer Joe Ybarra. For those of you that don’t know Joe has worked for many respectable companies like Electronic Arts, 3DO, Ensemble Studios, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. He has also worked on many titles like Wasteland, Bard’s Tale, Starflight, Madden Football and M.U.L.E. At the age of 60 Joe continues to provide a fresh take on things and wants to keep innovating. He has just announced his newest project which has a kickstarter available for you all to fund.

GamerFitNation: Talk to us about Joe Got Game. What is your vision for the company? How will you bring your expertise and knowledge to the games you’re making?

Joe Ybarra: I founded Joe Got Game to build great games with content that my team and I are passionate about. That’s why we’re starting with Shackleton Crater. I dream of exploring new frontiers. In fact, Shackleton Crater is the first game in a series of exploration titles: our next title after exploring the moon through Shackleton Crater will be delving the darkness of Challenger Deep.

GamerFitNation: You have produced many classic games. With the first title from your new studio, what can we expect to see in terms of gameplay experiences that will be available?

Joe Ybarra: I am taking the best of my experiences in game development and using them to mold Shackleton Crater. I’m 60 years old and I want to take everything I’ve learned and create a series of games to stand at the pinnacle of my career. All of our games will be given the utmost attention and finest craftsmanship my team can deliver.

GamerFitNation: Now you’re hoping to bring games to tablets and PC players? Why not bring it to consoles or even handhelds? Is it personal preferences or just something that your team wants to do?

Joe Ybarra: I am a strong believer that tablet gamers are craving quality games for their devices. I am not a stranger to developing games for evolving hardware and my experience lets me see the value in making games for these devices. I’m certainly open to other platforms but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew with a new company.

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GamerFitNation: Tell us a little bit about your time at EA? I know you don’t work at the company now, but tell us what your thoughts are on EA and their plans moving forward?

Joe Ybarra: Electronic Arts from the very beginning was founded to create the biggest and best games in the industry.  Although I haven’t been involved with EA in over 20 years, I can still see the passion and expertise EA has fostered, and I’m sure they will continue this tradition as they go forward.

GamerFitNation: Next Generation hardwares have all but been announced. What are your thoughts on these devices? Has the thought ever crossed your mind to produce a potential Xbox Live, PSN, or Wii U title?

Joe Ybarra: As I mentioned above, I’m no stranger to developing for evolving hardware. I want to focus on the PC and tablet markets with Joe Got Game until we are satisfied with the game quality and our development process. However, the next generation of console hardware seems very interesting and we’ll address these when the time is right.

GamerFitNation: What are your thoughts on the gaming industry currently? It seems like games that have a low amount of sales but are well received by critics almost means a death sentence for some developers and companies. Why is that so? Is corporate greed and commercialization hurting the industry?

Joe Ybarra: In the end, you have to make good games that people want to play AND you have to talk to everyone you can so your players know you exist.  Large publishers have the resources to accomplish both missions, but because of social networking and customer awareness it is also possible for independent studios to compete effectively.  For a small studio like Joe Got Game we can be profitable with modest product sales, so we have more freedom of expression.

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