CELEBRATE ASIAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH WITH MARVEL CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS

Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander individuals across the globe. At Marvel Contest of Champions, we’re proud to have a team of people from diverse walks of life and we want you to meet a few of the talented Kabammers bringing new and exciting content to The Contest. 

Tristan

Quest Designer

What inspired you to work in the Gaming industry?

I’ve held a variety of hats throughout my tenure in the industry. QA, Level Designer, Systems Designer, Gameplay Designer, Live Designer. Currently, I’m a Quest Designer on Marvel Contest of Champions, and definitely digging my time here. 

For me, there were three games that inspired me to join the industry. Half-Life (to which I was super into the modding scene), Mass Effect (which taught me the value of narrative), and Company of Heroes (which captured the feeling that I expect out of a game based in World War II).

The through line of each of these games is the experience each of them gave me. That line? A sense of space, an immersion that each game brought out for me to play within. That was the power of games that inspired me to come out and help capture those experiences and present it to the player. Feelings are incredibly hard to measure, but like love, you know you caught it when you playtest it.

One of my proudest moments working on Marvel Contest of Champions has to be the Event Quest from this past month, Annunciation of Ruin. That was my first time writing a script and publishing it with Marvel, which was good clean fun. Air-Walker and Dragon Man were really interesting Champions to write for. I did tons of reading on source material from the old-school Fantastic Four comics, and tapped into my own writing experiences to make them fit into the monthly narrative.

How has your Asian/Pacific Islander heritage shaped the person you are today?

While it might not directly correlate to my own heritage, the fundamentals my father taught me were what shaped most of my career. To focus on what was most important to me, something I believe was passed down and distilled in a simple message. What is your intent? That was as plain as my father made it.

Not wholly original, but it’s something that stuck with me, whether I knew it or not. Always know what your intent with your life is. Don’t have a way to get there, but know where you want to go. And as I stand, living and breathing just the same, I’m exactly where I wanted to land. Now it is a matter of figuring out what that next goal is, and hopefully getting to it, no matter the way I take.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the gaming industry?

Traditionally, apply to any job, and get some dang ol’ experience within a game company and talk to everyone to see where your passions lie. If you want to be a Game Designer, ask as many questions as you can, understand the process, and be a team player. Don’t be afraid of talking to designers about the day to day of their job.

I started as a Quality Analyst, and did exactly that. When I thought appropriate, I expressed my thoughts when I was able to talk design with others, scheduled meetings with designers with the intent of understanding the mindset necessary to be a good designer. If anything, it helps you understand the language that a designer looks for, and helps bring out that critical eye needed for the job.

Most importantly, chuck your ego at the door as they don’t survive in this industry. Games are made by teams coming together under a banner of a vision to create great experiences. If you aren’t working with others, then that’s just bad juju. It’s a small industry, remember. Ultimately, a family.

Aemee

Business Development

What is your role? What inspired you to work in the Gaming industry?

I work on the Business Development team where I manage partner relationships internally and externally.

I did not have a traditional route to gaming, I started in the finance industry and later in ad-tech and when the opportunity surfaced itself in gaming – I jumped on it. As someone who has owned nearly every Nintendo console and grew up playing video games with my father, I always gravitated towards the connections you make while playing games. It seemed only a natural transition to work in a studio that creates the very magic that builds bridges between people and communities. To be able to work with the creative masterminds behind the games has been rewarding and continues to inspire me.

One of the most rewarding campaigns I’ve worked on so far has been the International Women’s Day Boss Rush. I love that The Contest continues to highlight and celebrate diversity in our game!

How has your Asian/Pacific Islander heritage shaped the person you are today?

This was a hard question when I initially read this. I am half Korean and half Syrian (with an Irish last name to really throw you for a loop). Being multi-racial, more often known as “hapa”, I’ve struggled with navigating which box to check. I felt like I was always trying to prove loyalty to both cultures while never feeling accepted. When former President Barack Obama delivered a campaign speech about race and having a biracial identity in Philadelphia in 2008, I saw a parallel between our journeys and it really helped shape how I approached my heritage going forward. While I may struggle in choosing which heritage is more dominant, I see so many similarities between the two, such as respecting our elderly, sharing food as a sign of caring, and the importance of social connection. This helped me realize that the benefits of being mixed race outweighed the challenges and to pull from the best of both cultures and embody them to the best of my ability. Ultimately, both heritages have shaped who I am and my role in Business Development – my desire for building strong relationships and helping one another.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the gaming industry?

It’s never too early or too late to get into gaming. As cliche as it sounds, if there is a will there’s a way. Find your ideal role and research the skills needed and start learning. Reach out to individuals you admire in games and build those relationships. You never know when the right opportunity will surface for you. 🙂

Bernard

Data Scientist

What is your role? What inspired you to work in the Gaming industry?

I am a data scientist. My main function is to use the available data to make the game more enjoyable for our players. I started in the video gaming industry by mere happenstance. Having not played video games since my university days, joining the video game industry was not actively on my mind at the time. Through a friend, I learned about data analysis and its application in the industry. Upon this discovery, I applied to Kabam and got my current position. I have been working with some truly fun and awesome people ever since.

As part of the data team, we mainly support other design teams in retrospectives. Therefore, it is difficult for me to single out any one feature or design in the game. Overall, I am very proud that most design teams continue to seek our input on matters small and big. It shows that data driven design and decision making have a positive impact on our games.

How has your Asian/Pacific Islander heritage shaped the person you are today?

My cultural heritage has shaped the way I see the world. Growing up in North America with Asian heritage, I have come to understand that neither the Asian nor the North American way of operation is always right. Beyond the two aforementioned perspectives, I like to look at things from as many angles as possible. This kind of thinking has helped me in resolving conflicts. I am always ready to see things from another perspective and seek a resolution that would work for all sides.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the gaming industry?

Before I joined Kabam, I did not know about the different aspects of game making. Prior to joining Kabam, I was primarily a console gamer. As a result, I only thought of games in terms of graphics, quests, and characters. Viewing gaming only in this context limits the number of possible positions. Obviously, there would be the core positions, but there are so many other possibilities. Modern mobile games are online and constantly changing. There are so many aspects, such as economy, stability, and community sentiment that good game stewards must continuously consider.

Given the number of pieces that go into modern game production, I would advise people who are looking to break into the industry to first look to their own strengths. I think people would be pleasantly surprised that they might be able to make positive contributions for a game team already. Furthermore, I would advise them to learn about aspects of the gaming industry that they do not understand. The most interesting ideas always come in the intersection of the two disciplines. Combining their own strength and an understanding of the gaming industry, I am sure that there would be a fit somewhere. In fact, I look forward to seeing their contributions at Kabam.

Maurice

VP of Engineering

What is your role? What inspired you to work in the Gaming industry?

As the lead engineer at Kabam, there is a never-ending list of interesting technical issues to solve and optimize — especially for a title that is live 24/7 and played by millions of Marvel fans around the world. As MCoC continues to grow, It’s been an incredible opportunity to work on a game that’s withstood the test of time over all these years

In my role, we continually release tech improvements with each build. Since everything is worked on behind the scenes, it’s easy for players not to notice when something goes live. 

How has your Asian/Pacific Islander heritage shaped the person you are today?

As an Asian growing up in Canada, it helps to learn to understand different views and perspectives from people with different cultures and diversity. This helps me grow to be a logical person – I always try to understand full context before making judgement, and be open to any type of feedback and other methods.

As an Asian person growing up in Canada, the diversity of this country has helped shape me into the person I am today. Having met people from all walks of life and learning from their cultures, I feel lucky to have such an enriched upbringing.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the gaming industry?

Game development is a fast moving ecosystem and often seems confusing. Be patient and slowly sort through weeds. Everything always seems to be on fire during game development; but if everything is on fire, then nothing really is on fire.