Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox
Enduring and recovering from the long development of At the Gates
"And while we often hear about stories of burnout, rarely are those made truly real for us. It’s always something at a distance, something impersonal," shares Jon Shafer in a deeply personal blog.
January 9, 2019
1 Min Read
“Not many people understand the extent to which being an indie game developer, or really any kind of independent artist, can not only consume your life but really, truly become it.”
- Jon Shafer examines his personal journey through the development of At the Gates.
Game developer and Civilization 5 lead designer Jon Shafer has shared a deeply personal post on his blog about his life during the development of his game At the Gates, offering an honest retelling of the toll indie development can take on a person and the complicated responsibilities and rationalizations of solo development.
It’s a story that will no doubt resonate with other game developers, both indie and triple-A, and Shafer also shares his experiences as a sort of cautionary tale to other game developers, with the goal of giving fellow devs advice and encouragement to avoid or weather the same complications and pressure he saw during At the Gates’ 7-year development.
But, in addition to a harrowing retelling of those darkest and most difficult moments, Shafer shares how he worked to turn his life around, first through small changes and focusing on overcoming seemingly small hurdles, one at a time.
“And while we often hear about stories of burnout, rarely are those made truly real for us. It’s always something at a distance, something impersonal,” shares Shafer. “In this article I hope to pull back the curtain and show how bitterly dark it can be behind the public veneer. There were many moments where I’d given up on everything, and saw no future for myself, none whatsoever. I’m thankful now that I didn’t give up, because I came very close.”
Read more about:2019
About the Author(s)
As the Publisher of Game Developer, Alissa McAloon brings a decade of experience in the video game industry and media. When not working in the world of B2B game journalism, Alissa enjoys spending her time in the worlds of immersive sandbox games or dabbling in the occasional TTRPG.
You May Also Like
Accessibility and fancy footwork with GLYDR's John Warren - Game Developer Podcast ep. 40Feb 28, 2024
Exploring the 2024 State of the Game Industry report - Game Developer Podcast ep. 39Feb 2, 2024
Phantom inspiration and the ethical auteur with Xalavier Nelson Jr.Dec 8, 2023
Designing Killer Queen: from playground experiment to modern arcade sensationOct 18, 2023
Get daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox
Subscribe to Game Developer Newsletters to stay caught up with the latest news, design insights, marketing tips, and more