A few weeks ago Jason Canam, a designer from DrinkBox Studios, announced opening his new studio Household Games. Jason was kind enough to do an email interview about his time at Drinkbox, and his plans for Household. Check it out below!
TorontoGameDevs.com: Thanks for taking some time today, congrats on the announcement regarding Household Games! Before we dive into that, can you give us a little bio? What kind of gamer are you? How long have you been a designer?
Jason Canam: Thanks for having me and for the kind words! I’m Jason Canam, I’m the Founder and Director at Household Games, and I’ve been playing games since the early 80s. My earliest memories of playing video games are playing games on an Atari 2600. The first game I was a “fan” of was Pitfall II: Lost Caverns. Most games of the era were simple “score attack” games where you simply played for as long as possible to get the highest score but Pitfall II had an ending, it could be completed -- a fact that blew my mind as a kid! That was the point that I fell in love with video games.
I like to play everything. I play a mix of current games and classic games. I speedrun a couple of games: Donkey Kong Country 2 for the SNES (102%) and Mega Man X for the SNES. I consider myself an “amateur speedrunner”. Speedrunning is a fantastic gaming sub-culture. I’m a completionist, too. I love going for Platinum Trophies! I will play a game until I 100% complete it, if I really enjoy it – I’m not one to slog through a game I hate just for trophies/achievements.
I have been a developer since 2007, and have been a designer since 2010. I got my start working in QA at Capcom Interactive (now Beeline Interactive) and spent a few years working on mobile and casual games (at studios like Gameloft) before moving on to working on core games at DrinkBox.
TorontoGameDevs.com: What was working at DrinkBox Studios like? How has working on Guacamelee, and Severed helped with launching your own studio?
Jason: Working at DrinkBox for just over 3 years was a great experience. It’s a top-notch team and I’ve greatly learned much from the wisdom and expertise of all of the team members there. Both Guacamelee! and Severed are incredible games, and I’m glad and honored to have had even a small hand in the development of those games.
I recently realized that I’m now in the enviable position that I get to experience any future DrinkBox games completely blind (just like everyone else!). So, I’m really looking forward to what’s coming next from them.
TorontoGameDevs.com: What made you decide to venture out on your own, and start your own company? Who are some of the people working with you?
Jason: Many things lined up to make it happen, that, and a lot of realizations. I realized that I have gotten to a point where I am familiar with, and more importantly comfortable with, all of the elements and facets of game development. This doesn’t mean I can do it all myself, but that I have a very comprehensive understanding of game development. I also had the realization that I know some very talented professionals that I could approach about joining me on this admittedly ambitious undertaking. I’m quite honored that they trust in me and I am very grateful to have such talented people on the team. With everything in sync, it was the right time to start Household Games, and I’m looking forward to showing the world what we’re capable of!
The team is really great, and the biggest reason that I’m so excited for the game. With a team this experienced and talented, I’m certain that the game will turn out exactly how I envision it. Everything from the code, to the visuals and to the sound are all being handled by experts who will undoubtedly deliver.
We did some brief introductions on Twitter (@HHGamesInc), and we will be doing some livestreams this summer talking with the team and discussing, while playing, their favourite games. We’ll be announcing the streams on twitter very soon.
TorontoGameDevs.com: What would you say the company vision is? Anything you can tell us about the first game?
Jason: My goal with Household Games is to make games that are creative and engaging, but fun above all else. Of course, “fun” is a pretty intangible and subjective term! But at the end of the day, that’s what games are all about. But let’s not forget that games are powerful things, that can have powerful messages, and they mean a lot to people (myself included), but they can be meaningful and fun.
I wish I could say more, but for now, all I can say is that our first game will be created with our core values in mind, and it’ll be something special, indeed!
TorontoGameDevs.com: What's it like being a GameDev in Toronto? Finding talent and the community as a whole?
Jason: I think it’s pretty safe to say that Toronto is one of the best places in the world for game developers. And that’s thanks to the incredible, supportive, collaborative and inclusive game dev community that exists in Toronto. “Toronto” is very much a member of the Household Games team.
The HHG team is made up of pros that I’ve worked with in the past, as well as people that I’ve always wanted the chance to work with. And to be honest, there are many more that I’d love to work with in the future!
Makes me proud when people tell me about their favourite games and they happen to be developed here. I’m in good company and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
TorontoGameDevs.com: Thanks again! Any last things you want to let our readers know?
The team is hard at work on the game to get it to the point where we can show it off. Please follow us at @HHGamesInc and stay tuned for info this summer!