Meet Ben Furneaux, Senior Principal Designer on the New Entertainment team!
How did you start at London Studio?
As a creator I’ve always been drawn to games that take storytelling to a new level, are technologically innovative, and reach out to new audiences. In London Studio – with The Getaway, VR Worlds and SingStar – I saw a studio that lives and breathes my ideals.
I reached out to Liz Wyle to see if there might be a role well suited to my passions and experience, and the rest is history. We share a vision that video games are for everyone and that they have the power to tell the greatest stories of our generation. I hope to look back and see that our team has contributed to that mission in a meaningful way.
What does your role entail?
I’m living my dream job on the New Entertainment team. I lead the creative vision on our projects which spans from game and visual design to story and audio.
What do you find most exciting about your work here?
One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of my job is the variety – every day is different. On one day I can be collaborating with designers and programmers to solve a deeply technical challenge. The next day I can be working with writers and getting into the psyche of a character as we work through an emotionally complex story.
It requires a brain that can context-switch on a dime. From shaping the 10,000-foot vision in one moment to solving an extremely granular problem in the next.
What has your career path looked like over the years?
When people ask me how long I’ve been creating games I struggle to put a date on it since I was doing it obsessively on paper as a kid. I’d send my designs to my favourite developers, complete with character art and often logos cut out from kitchen foil. At 15, I pitched a fantasy RPG funnily enough called ‘Fable’ to Eidos – identical in name only – four years before the actual Fable was released. Eidos were polite in their response that they couldn’t use my idea, but told me to keep working hard to get into the industry when I was older.
That served as inspiration for my academic career path into games: graphic design. This served as a great foundation for what I do today and I draw on it all the time. Much like making games, graphic design often demands precision and mathematical thinking at the same time as it demands creativity and visual storytelling.
I started my professional career creating user interfaces and progressed to achieving my goal of becoming a designer of game mechanics and features. Fast forward (quite a few) years and I’m now living my childhood dream creating games and I’m thankful for it every day.
What is it like to work in the heart of central London?
I’m obsessed with food, so Soho is probably one of the best places in the world to work in that regard. It’s also great to be in the creative heart of the UK, with plenty of industry events to attend on our doorstep.
If you could describe London Studio in a few words, what would they be?