NEWS - Monday, May 30, 2011

Xbox founder returns to game development

Seamus Blackley, one of the founding fathers of Xbox, has left his post as head of the Creative Artists Agency’s games division and is making a return to games development.

That’s according to US entertainment periodical Variety, which reports that industry stalwart Blackley plans to launch a production company to develop new games.

 Who is Seamus Blackley, we hear you ask? One of the key figures in the creation of Microsoft’s Xbox console, that’s who.

A qualified pilot turned games developer, Blackley assisted with the creation of System Shock and Ultima Underworld at Blue Sky Productions in the 1990s. More famously, he helped to create the celebrated physics system in pilot sim Flight Unlimited in 1992.

 He then joined Dreamworks in 1998, where he took a lead role as executive producer on licensed PC title Jurassic Park: Trespasser, published by EA.

 But it was after joining Microsoft in 1999 - initially to work on Direct X - where he would really make his name.

Blackley co-wrote the initial Xbox proposal, and helped assemble the team that designed and built the device. He then became a B2B evangelist for the console - selling its abilities to game developers across the globe.

 Blackley is widely credited with bringing young blood onto the Xbox project, and the quote:

 "The scariest thing was... a bunch of fifty-five year old men, who have never played a game in their lives, decided they’re gonna do a game console and then start talking about the specifications... This is like a group of men designing tampons or something... a very bad idea."

 Blackley left Microsoft in 2002 and went on to head up the games division of the Creative Artists Agency.

 Further details on Mr. B’s new venture have yet to be revealed, but he is in the midst of transitioning to the new venture, it’s reported.



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