For Victor Burgos, it seemed like all roads led to the Lowcountry — and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Burgos began his journey at Parris Island with the U.S. Marine Corps in the early 2000s and finished his tour of duty in Beaufort. From there, he found himself at the Savannah College of Art & Design with a focus on game development.
“It was the right place at the right time,” he said. “I learned a lot (at SCAD), so I am very thankful for that.”
While in school, Burgos was finding freelance assignments and part-time jobs for various gaming studios around the world. The work helped him gain more experience in the field, and he said it informed him as much as his schooling did on what he needed to learn to excel in the industry.
“It taught me the greatest skill. It taught me about being autonomous, basically,” he said. “Since I’m working remotely, it taught me time management skills. It taught me how to be proactive and how to just basically manage my life better and how to communicate a lot easier.”
The experience also taught Burgos that he wanted his own game studio, and wanted it to be smaller and more personal. The gaming industry lacks a true centralized hub like the movie industry in Los Angeles or theater in New York City, so he said it was much easier to stay in Beaufort, where he was comfortable, and bring the world to him.
“I basically just want to make my extended family feel proud of each and every project that we work on,” Burgos said.
His current extended family includes himself and a number of contractors from around the world working on his studio, Burgos Games’, first commercial release, “Neko Ghost, Jump!”
With the rest of his contributors living in Germany, Canada, Russia and Mexico, among other regions, Burgos said he is putting in hundreds of hours with the elements of development that he knows while his other contractors come in and place the other pieces into place.
“This is my company’s first game (and I’m) hoping that (the workload is not) like this forever, but in this industry, there’s so many games that are getting pumped out every year, so you have to do something special,” he said.
“I’m not saying that working at 100 hours (a week) is special and obviously I do not recommend this for anybody to do this. I’m in a unique position that I was a Marine before and kinda already used to some of these hours, especially when I was deployed to Afghanistan.”
Burgos describes the game as a mix between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional animation with a look and feel that reminds people of the classic Mario video games. The player works as a character jumping around a 2D environment, but what makes Burgos’ game so unique is the player’s ability to switch between 2D and 3D as they make their choices and try and complete objectives.
Burgos said the demos have been a hit not only with kids who are more typically playing these types of games, but also their parents and grandparents.
“It’s a great game for all ages, and especially for parents that are gamers that want to play something in front of their kids, because it’s not really, there’s no gore and blood,” he said. “There’s some cartoon violence, but it’s just cartoony stuff. So that’s something that you can definitely play for your kids and not be ashamed.”
Burgos expects the game to be ready for the latter half of 2020 with a rollout on Playstation 4, Xbox and PC.
While he hopes this is just the beginning of the work being done by Burgos Games, Burgos said he’s hoping to get more involved with helping the younger generation find their way into game development and the fruitful path it can create.
“There’s definitely a lot of problem solving that you have to do in game development that could help students to learn, especially in the real world,” he said.
“So, definitely, definitely, I would love to see more high schools, such as the tech classes, start teaching students, game development, (and) stuff like that.”
“Neko Ghost, Jump!” is available for pre-order on Steam. You can learn more at nekoghostjump.com.
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