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PlayerUnknown: A lack of typical dev experience 'gives me a lot of freedom'

"It lets me dream a little bigger, I guess, because I’m not tied down by knowing too much about it," Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene told RPS recently about his leap from modder to creative director.
"It lets me dream a little bigger, I guess, because I’m not tied down by knowing too much about it."

- Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene, speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun about how he feels about jumping straight from hobbyist modder to creative director.

By now most devs are likely familiar with the (seemingly overnight) success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which has sold over 4 million copies in the ~3 months since it launched on Steam's Early Access service.

They're likely less familiar with the story of how the titular Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene went from hobbyist game modder to a creative director at PUBG developer Bluehole Games.

According to a recent conversation Greene had with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it's a popular tale (modder makes the leap to full-time game development) with an interesting twist: Greene, now in his 30s, has played relatively few video games.

"Coming not from gaming, most games like Zelda? Never played it," he told RPS. "I had an Atari 2600 when I was a kid. I played some online, like Delta Force: Black Hawk Down and America’s Army and that kind of game. Didn’t play a lot of the triple-AAA titles, don’t consider myself a major gamer like most people here [at EGX Rezzed.]"

He also describes himself as a self-taught coder, having previously worked for many years as a photographer and graphic designer. Now that he's made a name for himself as a modder, consultant and creative director, Greene says he appreciates how his lack of technical game dev knowledge affords him a bit more creative freedom.

"It gives me a lot of freedom, because I don’t know the technology," he said. "I kind of know it now because I’ve been making a game for a year, but I can still request stuff that I just don’t know if it’s possible. It lets me dream a little bigger, I guess, because I’m not tied down by knowing too much about it."

It's an interesting perspective, and it helps flesh out Greene's conversation with Gamasutra earlier this year when PUBG was just taking off.

For more from Greene on everything from why he moved to Korea to why PUBG's shrinking circle of death is a circle ("I couldn’t program squares like it is in the Battle Royale movie"), check out the full RPS interview.

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