Design & Studio Operations
Amir grew up in the very place in which Supergiant Games was originally headquartered – the same home in which he took up hosting pen-and-paper role-playing sessions at the tender age of 10. To this day, he still DMs to the same group, which includes our very own 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 oversees production of our games, designs and tunes much of the gameplay in them, and takes point on many other day-to-day operations. However, his greatest accomplishment may or may not be the following Diablo II-inspired music video.
Diablo II (PC), Defense of the Ancients (PC)
Engineering & Design
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 wee 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 C&C Generals and Zero Hour, The Battle for Middle-earth and its sequel, 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 designer, as well as his surpassing skill as a player – he was 1v1 ladder champion on both Generals and C&C 3. At Supergiant, Gavin lends his mad APM to building our engine and tools, and all aspects of our games, from systems to characters and everything in between.
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES), Command & Conquer Red Alert (PC), The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Music & Audio
A childhood friend of Amir’s, Darren likewise hails from the exciting and completely flat city of San Jose, CA, which afforded him with the peace and solitude in which to follow his muse and hone his musical craft from a young age (and play a lot of D&D). 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 our outstanding audio, from creating sound effects to recording all the voiceover that brings our games to life, and, of course, to crafting the award-winning and unforgettable musical scores so vital to the atmosphere. He also seems to know more good places to eat than anyone who has ever lived.
Marble Madness (NES), Fallout 2 (PC), Rock Band 2 (Xbox 360)
Jen hails from beautiful, sunny Seattle, which was so sunny, in fact, that she was forced inside from out of the oppressive heat and light and into cooler places such as 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. We were instantly impressed with her incredible talent for creating vivid characters and places, and she somehow managed as the only artist on our team throughout development of our first game, Bastion. As our fearless art director, Jen now operates alongside an S-tier squad of elite artists who together form a sort of Art Voltron. Among them, Jen continues to create the lush, imaginative hand-painted artwork that defines the distinctive look of our gameworlds and all their colorful denizens.
Metal Gear Solid (PS), Final Fantasy Tactics (PS), Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS)
Writing & Design
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 video games as a kid -- just about anything he could get his hands on, from quarter-munching arcade shoot-’em-ups, to sprawling computer role-playing games. He started writing about games professionally in high school, and wound up working at the gaming web site GameSpot for more than 10 years, during which time he rose from intern all the way to editor-in-chief (earning degrees in English literature and business administration on the side). In spite of this long stretch in the gaming press, Greg never lost sight of his childhood dream of making games. He finally got his first shot in 2007 when he joined EA LA, where he met Amir Rao and Gavin Simon while working on Command & Conquer 3 and Red Alert 3. They became fast friends, and reunited at Supergiant, where Greg is responsible for conjuring up the gameworlds, characters, and stories that define our games.
Ultima V (Apple II), Street Fighter II (Arcade)
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. NOT ONCE. And that's from having worked with him for years and even shared paying the rent for an L.A. apartment for a while, so safe to say we’ve been through enough situations together in which lesser men would have gone ballistic. But not Andrew. He's been some places, too. He’s taught computer science in China and volunteered at an orphanage in Morocco among other things. Though, once all that pesky philanthropy was out of his system (temporarily, at least), Andrew proceeded to join Infinity Ward where he worked on a couple of amazingly successful shooters. He 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.
Sid Meier’s Civilization (PC), Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (PC), Counter-Strike (PC)
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 were very pleased, then, to feature Logan Cunningham in his first starring performance in a low budget/no budget game, which was our debut title, Bastion! 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, Logan not only delivers the game’s story but also gives it its humanity. His incredible performances have featured prominently in every one of our games since.
The Secret of Monkey Island (PC), Wing Commander II (PC), Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (PC)
Visual FX & UI
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, that, 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 was quick to describe the time in Dark Souls when he took down Great Grey Wolf Sif while rocking his then-1-month-old daughter to sleep. With no blue phantom support or anything! 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. Whenever you see something spectacular light up in one of our games, you rest assured that's Josh.
Doom (PC), Final Fantasy Tactics (PS), Planescape: Torment (PC)
John-Paul, to whom we refer by acronym, is your modern-day renaissance man insofar as he's done everything from English tutoring at community college, to shooting and editing positively gorgeous wedding videos, to technical support at a very popular technology store chain designed in California, to brewing cups of coffee (or pints of beer) you could buy for less than the price of one our games on a Steam sale. Through all this we were lucky to find him, because he instantly became the backbone of our previously-backbreaking efforts such as shipping all the wonderful merchandise available at our online store, keeping our studio so well-stocked that everything is magically at our disposal always, making sure we make a splash whenever we take this show on the road to various events, and more. Thanks to his help, our studio has grown, and found a permanent location in the heart of San Francisco, where JP works with everybody else on team, and thousands of our customers, to make sure all is well.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GameCube), LIMBO (Xbox 360), The Beginner's Guide (PC)
When he wasn't busy absolutely crushing other kids at foosball (sometimes literally single-handedly), a young Dexter Friedman kept plugging away at GameMaker, teaching himself the intricacies of the craft. This know-how, the game development experience more so than the superhuman foosball talent, brought him to Pocketwatch Games, where he helped develop the excellent real-time strategy game, Tooth and Tail. At Supergiant, Dexter has the vital responsibility of bringing our small but growing library of titles to more and more platforms, so as many folks out there can play them as can be! Dexter hails from California's Bay Area, where he's the eldest of three siblings. Some of the games that left an indelible mark on him range from Nintendo classics such as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Super Smash Bros. Melee, to deep strategy games such as Civilization V and FTL: Faster Than Light. But if he really had to narrow it down, these are his...
Sim City 4 (PC), Metroid Prime (GC), Rocket League (PC)
In the days of yore, if you wanted to become a game developer, basically you needed to drop out of comp sci and use your nerdy programming know-how not to make banking software but rather to make 2D sprites render onscreen then do stuff when someone pressed a key or a button. Nowadays, thankfully, they have honest-to-goodness schools to teach folks how to do all this properly, sometimes even using polygons instead of sprites. And, Eduardo here rose through the ranks of one of the most famous of such schools: DigiPen. His senior project, a game called Guardian of the Gears, even was a 2018 Independent Games Festival finalist. We were struck by his mindset toward collaborative game-making, as well as his experience with his student projects and his past work as an associate designer on Marvel Heroes, and he's been helping us make better games from the moment he joined. Born in Mexico and raised in San Diego, Ed grew up playing everything from platformers to strategy games to massively multiplayer RPGs, and even somehow learned to cook a mean paella for good measure.
World of Warcraft (PC), Age of Mythology (PC), Super Mario 64 (N64)
Engineering & Design
Alice brought to us that most-excellent and quite frankly overpowered character class combination of game design and engineering expertise, multiplying our capacity to actually make stuff work pretty much overnight. No wonder, as we were super impressed with her personal game projects (playable at https://umbrella-isle.itch.io/), not to mention her experience. Hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia, close enough to the city's epicenter to where everybody knew the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by heart, she picked up plenty of know-how working at PopCap Games (creators of Plants vs. Zombies among many other titles; PvZ was one of the games that inspired the founding of Supergiant), and later this one company you've probably never heard of that makes a search engine and stuff and rhymes with 'frugal'. More importantly, she claims to have made her very own Horrible Ball of Teeth using materials purchased online and some sculpy; this was not part of her background check, and we haven't pursued the matter in further detail, to be honest.
Final Fantasy VI (SNES), Cave Story (PC), Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (DS)
Our games here at Supergiant have taken on some signature characteristics over time, not the least of which is their distinctive visual style if-we-say-so-ourselves. So, it's not just any artist who can walk in here and not just live up to the look and feel of our past work, but help us make even more vibrant, imaginative, fantastical worlds than we've ever made before. We are, of course, referring to Joanne, who joined us after having worked at EA Visceral and Sledgehammer Games, where she produced these stunning and incredibly moody environment concepts for those studios' spectacular first-person shooters. That work won us over straightaway, and here at Supergiant she instantly took to our weird proprietary tools and got busy making wonderful-looking places we're excited for you to see. When she's not casually belting out stunning works of art, Joanne has been known to mass-breed some of the most vicious strains of Pokémon this side of Kalos region, and is rumored even to be able to bust a mean rhyme.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NS), Persona series (PS), League of Legends (PC)
Studio & Community
Caitlin came to us from the SoCal town of Whittier, where she'd been working on stage productions, from costumes to lighting and much more, after having done stints at major retailers, major coffee chains, and even at a major theme park where she got to do her best old-west accent while in full costume, to the delight of children all the world over. This roll-up-her-sleeves attitude, and her long-standing affection for the kinds of games that inspired many of us here, made her the perfect individual to help us do everything from grow our vast merchandising empire (she personally fulfills your orders from our online store), our player community in places like our official Discord, our presence at events like PAX, and much more. Caitlin once portrayed the goddess Athena herself in a college production of The Trojan Women, and apparently some of the goddess' wisdom and power must have rubbed off, to the good fortune of the rest of us who get to work with her now.
Legend of Mana (PS), Fallout: New Vegas (PC), Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations (DS)
Making games as a small team can be complicated. This is doubly true once you consider everything involved in publishing them on all sorts of different platforms for players all around the world. Fortunately, we have Will to focus on this ever-vital aspect, the key to our games achieving their potential. From collaborating with platforms and partners, to localizing game content in all sorts of different languages, to putting together store pages, our publishing effort has grown in scope and complexity over time. Will can wrangle it all, undaunted. A childhood spent crunching numbers in various role-playing games means there isn't a spreadsheet he can't handle. When he isn't immersing himself in data analysis, Will enjoys immersing himself in the ocean, with plenty of early-morning surfing and other aquatic sports. After joining us for our successful Early Access launch of Hades on Steam, we can only assume there must be some Poseidon connection here.
Baldur's Gate (PC), Fallout (PC), Myth II: Soulblighter (PC)
We use our own proprietary engine and tools to create our games, and our tech has grown faster, more powerful, and more complex over time. There came a point where improving and optimizing our tech became a big enough task that we needed a seasoned specialist to handle it. And, we travelled all the way from our San Francisco, CA headquarters to Belgrade, Serbia to find him (OK, we just did some Zoom calls). Originally, Nikola studied biomedical engineering so that he could one day build cybernetic hands and the like. Such pursuits naturally drew him to game programming, where he served as an engine programmer and lead programmer at Ubisoft. He enjoys building things physically as well, having constructed a full Star-Lord costume at one point, further evidence to his extraordinary power. He hasn't had to don the suit yet as part of his job at Supergiant, though someday, who knows?
Theme Hospital (PC), Braid (PC), Hollow Knight (PC)
Like, who even cares about graphics, right? Wrong. We happen to care about graphics a great deal. We think they shape players' first impressions and entire experiences with our games, and are vital to the kind of atmosphere we strive to create. And as soon as we started working with Devansh, we knew he felt the same way. He was instrumental in helping us evolve and optimize our tech while working on Hades, and now focuses on graphics and other tech and tools as we move forward. Like Eduardo, he's a graduate of DigiPen Institute of Technology, though unlike Eduardo, or just about any of us for that matter, he's worked in games around the world, from India, to Seattle, to North Carolina, and back again, where he remains undaunted by the time difference with our San Francisco-based HQ on the other side of the planet. When he isn't enabling our art team to do their best work, Devansh enjoys distance running, teaching computer science, and participating in game jams.
Pokémon Blue (GB), The Witcher 3 (PS4), Hollow Knight (PC)
Several of us from Supergiant have experience working on real-time strategy games, so when James expressed interest in joining us fresh from having worked on the StarCraft II test team, we just knew he had the optimal build order for the fastest, most ruthless 1v1 Zerg vs. Protoss opener. More importantly, his deep knowledge of design-focused quality assurance and his background competitively playing shooters and fighting games cemented him as someone who could always mine the depths of our game systems and help us find all sorts of opportunities to make them better. We're talking about someone who's pulled off a start-to-finish Bloodborne speedrun in less than an hour! While there's no expectation that everyone working at Supergiant needs to be able to take Darkbeast Paarl in 19 seconds or less, it sure is fantastic having someone who can in your corner when you're working on games meant to offer a deep and compelling experience for players across a variety of skill levels.
Phantasy Star (SMS), Parasite Eve (PS1), Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
Hailing from warm sunny Massachusetts, Allison supercharged our quality assurance team with her unique background combining a deep knowledge of games, fiction and literature, and... print production for a seafood restaurant? You might be surprised just how much the latter could prepare one for the rigors of testing a piece of video game software with an essentially limitless number of possibilities, though in Allison's case, the need for a keen eye for detail runs through her work history as well as her broader interests. Among other things, she's a talented baker, and loves to travel when global conditions permit, if only to continue her lifelong quest for the best ice cream this world has to offer. At Supergiant, besides putting our games through the paces, she oversees key aspects of our software submission pipeline -- the process by which a game goes from being on our work PCs to the consoles you have at home.
Dark Cloud 2 (PS2), Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC), Harvest Moon: Save The Homeland (PS2)
Perhaps it was her days working at a nanofabrication research lab in college, having to carefully put on clean-room PPE each time she entered the facility, that helped prepare Ellis for the intricate process of testing our games. Or perhaps it's her academic-juggling skill, as she simultaneously earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees -- in anthropology and social science, respectively, with a focus on academic approaches to games analysis and the Internet! Then there's her experience in critical analysis across media, and knowledge of Japanese (for two years she taught English in Japan). During all this, Ellis became increasingly engaged with games and the unique ways in which they can create emotional experiences, which drew her to our games. At Supergiant, she lends her talent and attention to everything from narrative testing and localization testing to technical support, among many other aspects that contribute to a rewarding experience for our players.
OFF (PC), Riven: The Sequel to MYST (PC), The Beginner's Guide (PC)
Imagine the sculptor with their block of marble or clay, molding and shaping that near-featureless mass into something that looks very much alive. Now, imagine having to do that if the marble or clay... wasn't even there. That's the 3D artist life -- and Morgane's specialty! At Supergiant, she takes whatever vivid character designs we can come up with, and renders them into beautifully detailed and textured 3D models, which then spring to life in our games. Born and raised in France, Morgane grew up playing all sorts of console and PC games, and dreamed of someday helping create games herself. She studied 3D modeling in Belgium, then moved to Montréal where her journey as a game developer began, working on big franchises such as RollerCoaster Tycoon before joining us here. While fearless in her craft, she confesses to a fear of butterflies (not necessarily because of their sinister role in Hades), though fortunately has her pet cats for protection.
Silent Hill 2 (PS2), The Binding of Isaac (PC), Little Nightmares (PC)
Sometimes, you can tell you're playing a great game right away, just by how everything moves, even in simple interactions like making your character run across the screen. Craig has had a storied career driving toward that kind of quality, animating for studios of all shapes and sizes, and for some of the biggest video game franchises ever (including Overwatch and Ratchet & Clank, to name a couple). Classically trained in cell animation, Craig has chased a variety of other artistic pursuits ranging from painting and illustration to shaping surfboards and playing in punk rock bands -- so, we were thrilled to have someone with his experience at the helm of making our characters move about in exciting, larger-than-life ways. In spite of all this, Craig cites his proudest accomplishment as raising his two sons, and for all his interests and accomplishments, not much else comes close to spending some quality time with the family in Virginia Beach.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NS), Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES), Metroid (NES)
Survive long enough as a small studio, and there may come a point at which you really need some dedicated focus and experience when it comes to keeping your house in order. Enter Mr. Stephen Puckett, who quickly took on an invaluable and far-reaching set of responsibilities here ranging from make sure our employees get paid to navigate the terrifying ever-shifting labyrinth of U.S. tax law, and much more. Born and raised in North Carolina, Stephen cut his teeth in the world of finance at Ernst & Young, which is to accounting firms kind of like a Microsoft or Nintendo is to games. He later served as finance manager at a water slide park before joining us, locking in one of the great origin stories on our team. Stephen somehow earned his Master of Accountancy while working full-time with a newborn at home, so perhaps a childhood spent negotiating peace treaties in Civ helped prepare him for overcoming the odds.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V (PC), Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS), Fallout: New Vegas (PC)