We often talk about the work that goes into making a good game. Being the face of a game or company may sound like the easy part but there’s a lot of pressure that comes with standing front and center at all times. Which personalities stood out the most this year and how did they excel when things looked grim? Let’s look at the nominees for industry personality of 2016.
As game director for Overwatch, Jeff Kaplan has had a tough journey. From rebuilding the remains of Titan, the canceled MMO, into a hero shooter, the true task began when Overwatch launched. Balance changes, new events, new content, handling toxic players and even adding new voice lines, Kaplan handled it all with patience and articulation.
If we were handed a project that was long overdue and changed up several times, we’d be pretty scared. Hajime Tabata, who directed Final Fantasy Type-0, might have felt the same but he rose to the challenge. Detailing Final Fantasy 15’s gameplay, overcoming anger at no release date and much more were all in a day’s work for Tabata. And given how he took over for Tetsuya Nomura, that’s no small task.
There’s something about Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division at Microsoft, that makes you trust him. Even with some controversial opinions, Spencer has done nothing but deliver promise upon promise to players. He’s been behind constant Xbox One system updates, Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, updates on projects (without revealing sensitive info), addressing consumer complaints and a steady stream of strong titles for the console.
VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines has had his hands full in the past year. Whether it was anger over Fallout 4 season pass changes, the delay of PS4 mods, Dishonored 2 problems, DOOM worries or just collective criticism over Bethesda’s review copy policy, Hines was his usual straightforward and thick-skinned self.
There are fewer individuals more skilled at marketing in the industry than Aaron Greenberg. He’s responsible for building hype and crafting campaigns for Microsoft’s games while keeping concepts like Project Scorpio and Xbox One S in the discussion at all times. Whether you agree with his views or not, Greenberg is pretty good at his job.
In June this year, the Xbox One finally managed to outsell the PlayStation 4 in the United States. It continued this trend for four months and achieved the same in the UK for several months as well. While sudden, it’s actually the result of constant work from Phil Spencer and his team at Microsoft. Since Don Mattrick’s departure, Spencer has worked to rebuild the image of the Xbox One in gamers’ eyes. Project Scorpio could herald either a new beginning or end for Microsoft, especially with regards to 4K gaming and VR, but with Spencer at the helm, there’s an uncanny optimism for the former.
Note: GamingBolt’s Game of the Year categories, nominations and awards are selected via an internal nomination, voting and debate process. You can check the rest of categories and the respective winners here.