Episode Archive

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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 Fullbright (creators of Gone Home and Tacoma) 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.

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June 15, 2018 We've been through a lot together, Karla and I. And now, in what seems a fitting series finale for Tone Control, my business and creative partner sits down with me at the Fullbright office for a long conversation about her background in TV animation, how we came to cross paths in the games industry, and what we've made together. That's it, folks. Thank you for listening.

Games Discussed: Grim Fandango, The Neverhood, Asheron's Call, Asheron's Call 2, World of Warcraft, Zoo Tycoon 2, BioShock, BioShock 2, Minerva's Den, Gone Home, Tacoma

June 1, 2018 Derek Yu has been making video games for almost as long as he can remember. In that time he's helped build thriving game developer communities, created more than one classic indie game, and called Jack Thompson's bluff. Now he's on to his next adventure: fatherhood, and reflecting that experience in the upcoming Spelunky 2. Learn all about Derek's life work, and where he's headed next, in the penultimate episode of Tone Control.

Games Discussed: Aquaria, I'm O.K., UFO 50, Spelunky, Spelunky 2

May 15, 2018 Robert Yang is awesome. Educator, advocate, and subversive game developer all in one, his work focuses on issues of gay culture, sex and sexual politics, consent, surveillance, and the absurdity of digital eroticism. He also does great talks at conferences like GDC, where I caught up with him this year to chat about his work and outlook on what games can be.

Games Discussed: Counter-Strike, Half-Life 2, the Radiator mods, Hurt Me Plenty, Succulent, Cobra Club, Stick Shift, The Tearoom

May 1, 2018 Due to some scheduling requirements, we take a break from our GDC chats to visit sunny London, England! While I was in the UK for BAFTA, I sat down with longtime Media Molecule Siobhan Reddy to talk about her time spent helping run her parents' skate shop in Australia (!), the world of mid-'90s web design (!) and working on Discworld Noir (!!) before her time as a producer on the Burnout series, and her years at Media Molecule helping lead creativity-focused productions like Little Big Planet and the upcoming Dreams.

Games Discussed: Discworld Noir, Burnout 3, Burnout Revenge, Little Big Planet, Tearaway, Dreams

April 15, 2018 Some games love you. Some games are indifferent to you. Some games fucking hate you. Some game DEVELOPERS fucking hate you. Bennett Foddy, by god, fucking loves you. He believes in you. He knows you can do it. And also he'll be there, laughing, every time you fail. Get to know one of modern game design's uncompromising masters of the absurd and the sublime in this installment of Tone Control. And also try to figure out what the fuck cricket even is.

Sports Baffled By: Cricket

April 2, 2018 Naughty Dog Month is completed by my interview with Richard Lemarchand! One of the sweetest, most thoughtful and supportive folks I know in game development, Richard charts... ;) his course from jolly olde England to the sunny shores of Santa Monica, California, going from a kid growing up on ZX Spectrum and arcade games, to helping create one of modern gaming's most iconic series.

Games Discussed: A bunch of old ZX-81 and Spectrum and arcade games, The New Zealand Story, X-Com, the Soul Reaver series, the Uncharted series

March 15, 2018 Naughty Dog Month begins on Tone Control! This time I'm talking to former Dog Bruce Straley about his long and storied career-- starting with a Sega Genesis X-Men game I played as a kid (!) all the way through his work as a game director on the Uncharted series and The Last of Us. Join us on a trip across console generations, with a view into how some of Naughty Dog's most iconic series came to be.

The Games Discussed of Us: X-Men (Sega Genesis), Generations Lost, Gex, Gex 3D, Jak & Daxter, Crash Team Racing, Uncharted series, The Last of Us

March 2, 2018 Anyone who's been to GDC knows, it's a massive, vibrant, overwhelming, inspiring event. As a game developer, it's one of the most important weeks of the year-- and holy hell, it seems like a lot to manage, generally! So I spoke to Meggan Scavio, longtime General Manager of GDC (who's now moved on to be President of the AIAS, running the DICE conference instead) about her years helping to shape what GDC is, and how she came to run some of the biggest and most exciting game development events in the world.

Topics Discussed: Omaha, Nebraska; teenage hardcore shows; antique roadshows; printed circuit board gatherings; SAVOR; etc.

February 15, 2018 A thirteen-foot-tall octopus named Edward Scissorhands rampages into your life and destroys everything you love. What do you do? If you're me, you interview him! This hellish creature, also known as Davey Wreden, is the creator of two of the most mind-bending indie story games in recent history, The Stanley Parable and The Beginner's Guide. Discover how his life and outlook, and his propensity for eight-armed havoc, led to the creation of these modern indie classics.

Games Discussed: The Stanley Parable, The Beginner's Guide, Gone Home, Tacoma, games that include a copy of Infinite Jest in them

February 1, 2018 Harvey Smith is a mensch. Not only has he been a lead or director on some of the most inspiring and foundational Immersive Sim games of the last 20 years, he's also just a sweet, friendly, thoughtful guy who's great to talk to and has a wonderful southern accent. And lucky you, last time I talked with him, I had my recorder turned on! Hear insight on everything from the advent of the System Shock and Deus Ex series, up through modernizing those concepts into Dishonored, and beyond.

Games Discussed: System Shock (in VR!), Deus Ex, BioShock and BioShock 2, Osmos, the Dishonored series

January 15, 2018 It's like rain on your podcasting day. It's when a train goes by, and you can't hear what I say. It's the hammer blows, that ruin your take. And who woulda thought, it figures. Despite a variety of exciting sonic interruptions, Steve and Nina soldier on to talk through her work a s Nuovo Award-winning indie game designer of titles like how do you Do It?, Cibele, and Lost Memories Dot Net, and her experience becoming a level designer on Tacoma at Fullbright. Pull up a chair, settle in, and don't let the distant hooting throw you.

Games Discussed: Myst, Final Fantasy X-2, how do you Do It?, Cibele, Kimmy, Lost Memories Dot Net, Gone Home, Tacoma

January 1, 2018 Charles Webb, self-styled "Senior Black Writer" at Hangar 13, joined the Mafia III team after a long and winding path that included writing narrative-driven cell phone games in the early 2000's (!), a bit of professional film criticism, and some time with Master Chief. Join us as we learn that led Charles to help bring Mafia III's Lincoln Clay, one of the most fascinating game characters in recent years, to life. Recorded live on site at 2K's studios in Marin.

Games Discussed: Mafia III, BioShock 2, Minerva's Den, Halo, Dragon Quest 2 or 3, a bunch of stuff in old Nintendo Power magazines, a bunch of awesome-sounding narrative driven cell phone games from the early 2000's (!) that Charles worked on, etc.

November 25, 2017 Classic 2D animation: the art of drawing the same thing in slightly different poses over and over and then flipping through them so fast that they look like one fluid, moving thing. Beautiful, inspiring... but gosh, that sounds like a lot of work! And that work falls to intrepid folks like Mariel Cartwright, the Lead Animator of Skullgirls, and Art Director/Lead Animator of the upcoming INDIVISIBLE! Come along with us on a journey that involves Shrek, Marvel vs. Capcom, the harshest of Canadian winters, and of course, lots and lots of drawing.

Games Discussed: Sonic the Hedgehog, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories UFO Ending, Barbie and the Three Musketeers, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, DarkStalkers, Skullgirls, Indivisible, Tacoma

November 24, 2017 Welcome back... to Tone Control! Steve shipped another game, so conversations with video game developers begin anew. Kicking off Season 2 of Tone Control, Steve sits down with Leighton Gray, one of the main creative forces behind the daddy dating hit Dream Daddy! Steve discusses daddies, art school, Disneyland, the perils of sudden success, toilets, and daddies, with one of the most exciting up-and-coming creative figures in indie game development. Thanks for joining us!

Games Discussed: Dream Daddy, Dragon Age Inquisition, Gone Home, Tacoma, the game of dodging student debt and navigating the challenges of being a public figure

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

Tone Control

Steve Gaynor of Fullbright sits down with noteworthy video game developers for an in-depth conversation about their career and creative process.