Episode Archive

Page 1 of 2
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.

Looking for general information about Tone Control?

Visit the Tone Control Show Homepage

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

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

March 1, 2014 Amir's dad's living room. Computers on folding tables. One busted old car. These are the humble beginnings that would lead to the hit indie game Bastion. Amir and Greg sit down to talk about what came before and after their time in that house, and the design philosophy that they're carrying through to Supergiant's next game, Transistor.

Games Discussed: Command & Conquer Red Alert 3, Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Uprising, Spec Ops: The Line, Bastion, Transistor, 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.