Tone Control

Conversations with Game Developers

tone control n. A control device, as on a high-fidelity amplifier, for varying the intensity of high and low frequencies. Alternately, a podcast where Steve Gaynor of The Fullbright Company sits down with noteworthy video game developers for an in-depth conversation about their career and creative process, and the tricky work of establishing and maintaining a cohesive tone in their games.


Season 1 of Tone Control has come to an end. Look out for Season 2, start date TBD.

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Episode 14:
Ken Levine

May 1, 2014 A long journey's road comes to an end. We always arrive back where we started. Circles within circles... there's always a man.. there's always a city.. there's always a podcast. In this, the final episode of Tone Control Season 1, I sit down with my former boss Ken Levine to talk about the origins of Irrational Games, BioShock, and that time we worked together on BioShock Infinite. Thanks again for listening.

Games Discussed: System Shock, System Shock 2, Freedom Force, BioShock, BioShock 2: Minerva's Den, BioShock Infinite, Gone Home

Recent Tone Control Episodes

More episodes in the Archive

April 15, 2014 Do you like aliens? No-- you like KILLING aliens. And so does Jake Solomon. He's made a career of it, in fact. But how? Learn all the alien-killing secrets from the Creative Director of Firaxis's XCOM: Enemy Unknown (as well as a little side talk about his career, his mentorship by Sid Meier, and the design philosophy that brought one of strategy gaming's all-time classics back into the modern age.)

Games Discussed: X-Com, Civilization, Civilization 2, Civilization 3, Civilization 4, Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier's Pirates!, Sid Meier's SimGolf, Civilization Revolution, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM: Enemy Within, Gone Home
Tumblrs Discussed: rekall.tumblr.com

April 1, 2014 Few creators in the games industry are fortunate enough to have decades-long careers, much less ones where their own work and that of their studio is constantly vital and inspiring. Between leading projects like Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend and Broken Age, and facilitating the creation of games like Costume Quest, Stacking, and more at Double Fine, Tim Schafer is one of those lucky few. Listen in as I blitz through the long, long career of this incredibly old man.

Games Discussed: Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Broken Age, Gone Home

March 15, 2014 Creeping. Sneaking. Running and hiding. Ryan Payton has spent many years working on games about sticking to the shadows, keeping out of sight. Now the first episode of his own company's new iOS game series, Republique, has stepped out into the light. Follow us on a journey from Portland to Japan to Seattle, and finally onto your internet telephone.

Games Discussed: Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Republique EP1, Republique EP2, Gone Home

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Episode Schedule

Oct. 15 2013: Jake Rodkin & Sean Vanaman of The Walking Dead and Campo Santo
Nov. 1 2013: Neil Druckmann, Creative Director of The Last of Us
Nov. 15 2013: Craig Hubbard, Writer & Designer of No One Lives Forever and F.E.A.R.
Dec. 1 2013: Clint Hocking, Creative Director of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2
Dec. 15 2013: Tom Bissell, writer of Extra Lives and Gears of War: Judgment
Jan. 1 2014: Randy Smith, designer on the Thief series, creator of Spider and Waking Mars
Jan. 15 2014: Brendon Chung of Blendo Games
Feb. 1 2014: Tom Francis, creator of Gunpoint
Feb. 15 2014: Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid and The Witness
Mar. 1 2014: Amir Rao & Greg Kasavin of Supergiant Games
Mar. 15 2014: Ryan Payton of Camouflaj
Apr. 1 2014: Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions
Apr. 15 2014: Jake Solomon, Creative Director of XCOM Enemy Unknown
May 1. 2014: Ken Levine, Creative Director of BioShock and BioShock Infinite


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