27 Sep Krillbite Dev Profiles: Jon Cato!
What’s it like to work in an indie game studio? Who are the people working at Krillbite Studio? We would like to answer these questions in a blog series starting this week. Get to know us through some Q&A!
Krillbite Studio is comprised of ten passionate people with different professions that complement each other. Some have been here from the very start, and some are quite new to the studio. In this blog series introducing us at Krillbite Studio, we are starting off with our top man, Jon Cato, who joined us last summer!
What’s your role at Krillbite Studio?
I’m the CEO, or as it’s more modestly termed in Norway: the general manager. That makes me the boss. I deal with the finances, try to secure a steady income, build relationships with partners, make sure everyone in Krillbite gets paid, hire people, fire people, and try to keep everyone happy.
The word “boss” sounds very authoritative but generally, I just try to secure a safe financial environment so that all of the creative people in Krillbite can chase down their amazing visions without compromising.
Krillbite Studio is a company where everyone can voice their opinions, and the boss is a fair decision maker. We value openness, personal involvement, and experience from different backgrounds and perspectives.
Jon Cato has an extremely cool and varied background, and his different perspectives are of great value to us.
When I was a kid I loved to play games. I also spent a lot of time reading about games. I probably liked reading about games more than playing them and ended up writing about them for loads of different media. I wrote a book about old games, I had a column in Norway’s largest newspaper about the cultural relevance of games, and I generally followed the industry pretty tightly for over twenty years.
After so many years of covering the industry I really wanted to cross over to the other side, to be a part of creating games and not just write about them. When the opportunity to work for Krillbite appeared I really wanted the job, and luckily enough I got it!
Jon Cato says he never consciously chose writing as his profession, he just loved games and spent a lot of time investigating games from every aspect. He says he was lucky to end up working with it, but we know it is also about working hard and getting out of your comfort zone.
Did you know you wanted to work with games early on?
I knew I loved games and everything about them, but I never dared dream that I would be working with them. To me, video games was a bit like magic, the creators of games were visionaries and I didn’t dare compare myself to people like Andrew Braybrook, Jeff Minter, or John Hare (google them, kids). I was a simple country boy, my original ambition was to be a teacher like my dad, but life led me down another path.
As someone who was previously a video game and tech culture journalist, surely you have the occasional oddball as a favourite game, right? What are your top three video games?
Easy. Wizball on the Commodore 64 by Sensible Software because it proves that any idea can become a game if you’re skilful enough. Another of my favourites is Planetfall, a text adventure by Steve Meretzky where you and your robot friend Floyd try to escape a space station. One of the most emotional game experiences in my life. The last one is Xpilot by a couple of Norwegian coders at the University of Tromsø. It was a team- and physics-based multiplayer game playable over the internet in 1992(!). Beat that!
What is your dream video game project?
Our next game Mosaic, of course!, he says with sparkles in his eyes.
Does a CEO get to work on anything fun?
I like order and predictability so I really enjoy working on our budgets and finances. No, really! I mean it! It’s true!
… Sure! We believe you.
We’ll end this interview with some throwback. What is your fondest memory from Krillbite Studio?
Getting Among the Sleep out for PS4 on our actual deadline date felt pretty good. I joined Krillbite in the middle of the porting process and it felt like I sort of passed a test (even though most of the credit must go to Kristina and Trond who did all the bureaucracy stuff and coding).
But mostly getting to know all the beautiful people who work here.
Quite an emotional ending!
We’ll continue to introduce the team at Krillbite Studio in the coming weeks! If you have any questions about the roles and people we present, let us know in the comments!