Jailed Games – Into Exile

Jailed Games – Into Exile

After leaving Midway Home Entertainment in San Diego I was on a quest to find a small development team to work with again, and I found it at a little known studio at the time called JGI or Jailed Games Inc.

Located in Santa Monica and owned and run by Daryl Pitts and Linus Chen, JGI was working on what I can only describe as one of the most unique game concepts I had seen at the time. It was so unique that I really wanted to work on its game play designs.

But back home things were about to get harder, for my wife at the time had enough of the instability of being married to a game developer. The long hours we often have to work and never knowing if you’re going to be laid off and have to move again was just too much for her.  We had just moved down from the bay area only a few months ago, before Midway hit us with a layoff and this really brought the point home for her.

On top of stress of all of this we were, once again stuck in a lease on a home in San Marcos, California that we couldn’t get out of and it was too far away for me to commute all the way up to Santa Monica during the week. So we agreed to separate and I had to rent a really small bachelor apartment in Santa Monica to start working for JGI.

This was an extremely hard thing to do, seeing we also had a 6 year old son at the time.

But there was no work for me back in the San Diego area and the offer from JGI was a good one, and all other job offers at the time would have only moved me farther away from my son.

So I started work on JGI combat/ strategy games for the Xbox and it was turning out really good, and I was getting more excited about it each day. Although when we took it out on the road to publishers there were less so on the strategy elements of the game.

Most publishers at the time were only looking for mindless combat and the idea of mixing combat with deep storytelling and strategy wasn’t going over well.

But none the less we kept plugging along with the production while searching for a game publisher that saw what we saw in the game, something unique.

Well this went on for around 8 months when I realized that the distance between my son and I was taking too much of an emotional toll on both of us and I had to find a way to move closer to him again.

It was around this time that I was contacted by Ready at Dawn Studios in Irvine California, looking for a game designer to lead Daxter, a game title for the Sony PSP.

Now, while I had some real concerns after my interview with them and it felt like I was returning to a big studio management mentality again, something I told myself I would avoid in an employer, the need to relocate closer to my son again was worth the risk.

Or at least I thought so… Grrrrrr.

Next: Ready at Dawn – Hop, Skip and Jump

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