Supergiant Games is a small developer with big ambitions: to make games that spark your imagination like the games you played as a kid.
We’re supergiant in name only. We’re 10 people whose headquarters once was the living room of a house in sleepy San Jose (now we’re in studio in a San Francisco alley). But we make for a superstar team. We walked away from our jobs building major franchises for huge publishers to make original downloadable titles for people who love games and their loved ones.
Our Team Includes (In Order of Appearance):
Amir Rao (@amirsrao)
Role: Design, Studio Operations
Born In: San Jose, CA
Favorite Games: Diablo II (PC), Defense of the Ancients (PC)
Origin Story: Amir grew up in the very place in which Supergiant Games is headquartered – the same home in which he took up hosting pen-and-paper role-playing sessions at the tender age of 10, and to this day he still DMs to the same group (which includes Supergiant Games’ Darren Korb). Contrary to the impression this must give, he did move out of his parents’ house for a while. After majoring in English at Columbia University, he joined Electronic Arts to work on the Command & Conquer franchise, where he was responsible for design on Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. Along with his colleague Gavin, he left the studio in 2009 to form Supergiant Games in his ongoing quest to give back to gaming what gaming’s given him. At Supergiant, Amir designs content for the studio’s games and manages day-to-day operations. His greatest accomplishment may or may not be the following Diablo II-inspired music video:
Gavin Simon (@gavinvsimon)
Role: Engineering, Design
Born In: Santa Barbara, CA
Favorite Games: Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES), Command & Conquer Red Alert (PC), The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Origin Story: Gavin was born in the same month the Nintendo Entertainment System shipped to North America, and it wasn’t long before he wrenched that controller away from older kids’ hands. And he never let go. Like a modern-day boy-raised-by-wolves (OK maybe not), Gavin was fostered by the likes of Mario, Link, Samus, Mega Man, and other iconic heroes from the golden age of games. Gavin got his start in the game industry at the indecent age of 15, when he joined Westwood Studios as a tester on Command & Conquer: Yuri’s Revenge, and subsequently worked on every title from that team including The Battle for Middle-earth and its sequel, C&C Generals, C&C 3 and Red Alert 3. During this tenure, Gavin soon rose from the ranks of QA due to his proficiency as an engineer and as a designer, as well as his surpassing skill as a player – he was 1v1 ladder champion on both C&C Generals and C&C 3. In founding Supergiant Games with Amir, Gavin aims to create the sorts of games that are as inspiring as the ones he played as a kid.
Darren Korb (@darrenkorb)
Role: Audio & Music
Born In: San Jose, CA
Favorite Games: Marble Madness (NES), Fallout 2 (PC), Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360)
Origin Story: A childhood friend of Amir’s, Darren also hails from the exciting and completely flat city of San Jose, which afforded him with the peace and solitude in which to hone his musical craft from a young age. Darren is a composer and musician who’s worked in film and television, in addition to authoring songs for the Rock Band network – something that combines his lifelong love of music with his lifelong love of games. It tells you something about this guy that in 2010 he reigned as the Rock Band 2 national champion. Seriously, you should see the photos. At Supergiant Games, Darren is a one-man band who provides all of the outstanding audio in Bastion, from the hundreds of sound effects to the memorable score (done in the self-styled genre he calls acoustic frontier trip-hop). Darren also directs and edits all the voiceover narration for the game.
Jen Zee (@0jenzee0)
Born In: Seattle, WA
Favorite Games: Metal Gear Solid (PS), Final Fantasy Tactics (PS), Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS)
Origin Story: Jen hails from beautiful sunny Seattle, which was so sunny in fact that Jen was forced inside from out of the oppressive heat and light and into cooler places like Dracula’s castle and Shadow Moses island. Like the rest of the team at Supergiant, she’s been playing games practically since she can remember, even as she honed her artistic abilities in media ranging from comics to tabletop games to massively multiplayer online games. Would you believe she was also Homecoming Queen in high school?! Neither does she, though cryptically she adds, “I’m the Goddamn Batgirl!!” So basically we try not to get on her bad side, partly out of fear that she could whip up some truly soul-destroying caricatures of anyone on team. At Supergiant Games, Jen is responsible for the lush hand-painted 2D artwork that defines the distinctive look of our gameworld and all its colorful denizens.
Greg Kasavin (@kasavin)
Role: Writing, Design
Born In: Moscow, USSR
Favorite Games: Ultima V (Apple II), Street Fighter II (Arcade)
Origin Story: After his parents whisked him away from the land of tolerance and freedom that was the Soviet Union, Greg must have subconsciously decided to take full advantage of the land of opportunity here in the United States by spending a disproportionate amount of time playing games as a kid. We’re not talking hobby-level stuff here… Greg played just about anything he could get his hands on, from arcade shoot-’em-ups to hardcore computer role-playing games and everything in between. He started writing about games professionally in high school, and wound up serving on the editorial team of the popular web site GameSpot for more than 10 years, during which time he rose from intern all the way to editor-in-chief. In spite of this long stretch in the gaming press, Greg never lost sight of his childhood dream of making great games. He finally got his first shot in 2007 when he joined EA LA, where he met Amir Rao and Gavin Simon. They became fast friends, and now they’ve reunited here at Supergiant, where Greg is responsible for conjuring up the gameworlds, characters, and stories that define our games.
Andrew Wang (@andrewfwang)
Role: Systems Engineering
Born In: Boston, MA
Favorite Games: Sid Meier’s Civilization (PC), Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (PC), Counter-Strike (PC)
Origin Story: A Boston native, Andrew is your typical Red Sox / Patriots / Celtics / Counter-Strike fan with a master’s in computer science and electrical engineering from MIT who worked on Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2. Fact: We have never seen this guy lose his cool, and a couple of us shared an apartment with him in L.A. for a while, so we’ve been through enough situations together in which lesser men would have gone ballistic. But not Andrew. Dude’s been around, too. He’s taught computer science in China and volunteered at an orphanage in Morocco among other things. Once all that pesky philanthropy was out of his system, Andrew proceeded to join Infinity Ward where he worked on a couple of amazingly successful shooters. He left in January 2011 and since joined Supergiant Games, where he serves as our chief technical officer, seeing to it that any game we make runs beautifully on any platform we decide we want to be on.
Logan Cunningham (@glancingonhuman)
Born In: San Jose, CA
Favorite Games: The Secret of Monkey Island (PC), Wing Commander II (PC), Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (PC)
Origin Story: A longtime friend of Darren’s and Amir’s, Logan hails from San Jose but moved back east to study… just about everything besides acting. Yet by the time Logan finished college, he knew that acting was his true calling, thanks in part to an education rife with classical theater and visual arts kids. Armed with this realization, he took the obvious next step: He moved to Brooklyn and “got jobs shelving comic books in Times Square and tearing tickets at an arthouse cinema in Greenwich Village,” as he puts it. Thankfully he does fit some acting gigs into his schedule from time to time, and has “appeared in countless low budget/no budget movies.” We are very pleased, then, to feature Logan Cunningham in his first starring performance in a low budget/no budget game! To this end, when Logan first starting doing voiceover work for Bastion in early 2010, he only needed to step into Darren’s bedroom to record since the two of them were roommates at the time. As the voice of Bastion’s narrator (featured in our debut trailer and all throughout the experience), Logan not only delivers the game’s story but also gives it its humanity.
Michael Ailshie (@mailshy)
Role: Office Management
Born In: Valencia, CA
Favorite Games: Castlevania (NES), Half-Life 2 (PC), Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
Origin Story: Michael survived a childhood in Orange County, California to become stronger, more resilient, meaner… qualities that made him well suited for a variety of vocations ranging from (we’re not even kidding) Disneyland crowd-herder, wine steward, canoe guide, taqueria chef, and elementary school tutor, to name a few. Now that he’s office manager of Supergiant Games, he’s basically all these things at the same time. Michael is keeping our little operation well-supplied and in tip-top working condition with the same fearlessness he summoned when, once, he stood his ground against a charging black bear because it wouldn’t have made for good video to turn tail and run. He even claims he can speak fluent French, further rousing our suspicions that he’s in fact an international spy come to liberate all of the Bastion narrator’s darkest secrets that we locked away on zip drive and then misplaced while we were moving from San Jose to San Francisco.
Camilo Vanegas (@miloanimates)
Role: 3D Artist
Born In: Bogota, Colombia
Favorite Games: SimCity (PC), Age of Empires (PC)
ORIGIN STORY: To list the talents of Mr. Camilo Vanegas would require more room than exists on the Internet, or less exaggeration, but suffice it to say he made it very easy for us to increase the size of our art department by 100%. Not that it was easy to find an artist of Camilo’s caliber. After looking at hundreds of talented applicants, he stood out as having a very rare talent for capturing in 3D the kind of nuance and texture that’s key to our art director Jen Zee’s style. On top of that, Camilo’s animation brings out an emotional depth we couldn’t achieve before. Camilo graduated from the Academy of Art in San Francisco not long before joining us. His past work has appeared on TV and in advertising as well as in art exhibitions and festivals, though it will be our pleasure to feature it in a video game for the first time.
Josh Barnett (@kirbylfo)
Role: UI & Visual FX
Born In: Los Gatos, CA
Favorite Games: Doom (PC), Final Fantasy Tactics (PS), Planescape: Torment (PC)
ORIGIN STORY: At a key point during Transistor’s development, as we were gearing up to publicly unveil the game, a lone artist swooped in like Batman and made the whole game look so much better in so little time, well, to be honest it was kind of embarrassing for the rest of us. His talent for producing crisp, visually stunning effects work couldn’t have been more obvious. In hindsight, this was no surprise, as Mr. Josh Barnett came very highly recommended by none other than Jen our art director, who worked with him at Gaia Online. Josh’s other strong suits include such virtues as modesty and determination, for when asked to cite some of his notable accomplishments, he’s quick to describe the time in Dark Souls when he took down Great Grey Wolf Sif (no blue phantom support or anything!), all while rocking his 1-month-old daughter to sleep. What a guy! Before he got started in the industry, Josh was fascinated by the PC demoscene, how visual art, music, and technology could produce beautiful results — sometimes in just 128 kilobytes or so. It took playing through Final Fantasy VII back in high school for him to realize that his love of computer art and his love of games could not only be reconciled, it could become a career.
Morgan Wren (@mwren)
Role: Quality Assurance
Born In: Santa Rosa, CA
Favorite Games: Secret of Mana (SNES), River City Ransom (NES), Shining Force II (GEN)
ORIGIN STORY: Mr. Morgan Wren developed a discerning eye for games, and a knack for picking them apart, in the halcyon days of console gaming. He brings to Supergiant his significant experience testing games on both sides of the North American coast: After getting his start doing QA on a variety of games from the 2K Sports lineup (such as the mesmerizing Amped 3), he later made his way to New York, where he joined Area/Code, makers of the classic mobile game Drop7 and the wildly popular social game Parking Wars. His time working with smaller independent teams on original games made for some of his best development experiences, so one day he came to Supergiant in search of more. Turns out he was just the guy for the job. Maybe it was his closet full of T-shirts of obscure Northern California garage punk / metal bands (e.g. Condition Zero), or his stories of train-hopping across the coast. Or maybe it was his taste for games, and his disposition as a tireless, no-nonsense bug hunter. Either way, he very quickly earned his stripes as Supergiant’s in-house quality assurance expert.