Nicole Stark



  1. Could you tell us a bit about how you started out in the games industry?

I was born in the 70s, so I didn’t touch a computer until I was 10, or own one until I was twenty.   I studied Film and TV production at uni, but while I was there I discovered Real 3D and Lightwave, and spent a ridiculous amount of time rendering metallic teapots on checkerboard floors.  At some point I taught myself how to animate, mostly so my tea pots would look cooler.   Luckily by the time I finished university 3D games had been invented and against all odds I found I had an employable skillset.

  1. What inspired you to join the industry? Was there a particular game you were obsessed with as a kid?

I fell in love with video games as soon as I played one.  It was love at first sight really. On my way to buy my textbooks for my first semester at Uni I passed a megadrive, set up with Sonic the Hedgehog and guess what I went home with? Then Final Fantasy 7 came out and I was lost forever.

  1. What project(s) are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on Ninja Pizza Girl, a game about bullying, emotional resilience and prompt pizza delivery. We’ve released the game on Steam and we’re launching the game on all of the consoles in the next couple of months.  We’re also working on prototypes for a couple of new games, which is particularly exciting after working on NPG for three years!

  1. What particular types of games or aspects of interactive storytelling interest you?

I love all kinds of game but I do like to feel properly motivated before gameplay gets me hot and bothered. I think empathy games are breaking new ground at the moment and I’m excited to see what the future holds for serious games. I want to see more and more games with a purpose that have great gameplay.

  1. Do you think approaches to interactive storytelling differ along gender lines? If so, how?

Splitting anything along gender lines is tricky. I think women have a lot to offer the craft of game making. Our stories are different, our perspective is different and our hopes, dreams and power fantasies are different.  Any medium is made richer by a diverse tapestry of creators.

  1. What are some of your favourite games created by a woman or featuring a female main character?

I love the work of Rhianna Pratchett, especially the new Tomb Raider games, although I also really enjoyed Overlord and Faith from Mirror’s Edge is wonderful. I adore Bioware games, especially Mass Effect 2. I would like to be Jennifer Hale when I grow up.

  1. Which upcoming games are you most looking forward to being released and why?

Ooh, there’s a lot to be excited about this year. Horizon Zero Dawn looks very cool. The main character just looks like such a badass, and the robotic dinosaurs are just crazy over the top.  Overwatch looks like fun. Elsinore looks great.  And of course there’s Street Fighter V.

  1. What are your tips for anyone wanting to break into the games industry?

Make a game! Finish it! Then have a little cry and make a better game.  Also make friends. Friends are great and will help you make your games or at least make you go outside from time to time.

  1. Are there any Twitter feeds, websites, Facebook pages, forums etc you could recommend for people who are interested in games and interactive storytelling?

Everyone should follow the IGDA SIG groups of their choice.  You’ll learn so much!  Other than that, just follow people you admire and who’s feed doesn’t drive you to distraction.