Announcing: Anthony Valterra's Heralded Return to Games
It seems to be a truism here at Brunette Games that the only thing that's constant is change. In that spirit, I bring you another announcement: Anthony Valterra is joining the Brunette Games team.
Anthony brings to the team more than 20 years' experience in brand and grant management. He has stewarded federal, state, and local grants of as much as $10M-plus, with a track record of success evident in above-average outcomes across his career. His game industry experience includes business management for Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons & Dragons and Avalon Hill lines. He was also the founder of Valar Project, publisher of role-playing game products. He primarily serves our client Robot Sea Monster Games as their director of client communications, as well as directing business for Brunette Games. Because if there's one thing Anthony has, it's direction.
What's incredibly cool about this announcement is that Anthony gets to return to games after a decade-long hiatus, in which he racked up all those wins as a grant manager. The two experiences together will make him formidable in any boss battle.
Of course, for those of you who know us, the other obviously cool thing here is that Anthony joining Brunette Games makes this a family business, as he is also my husband. We make an awesome team in so many other aspects of our lives together. We're pretty much unbeatable as the king and queen of games.
You can now find Anthony on our team page, but here are some questions I asked him to answer for you, by way of introduction.
Tell us about your experience in the game industry. You've done a lot of different things, and you're well-known in certain circles.
I've had the pleasure of working in both the traditional (board and dice) game industry and the electronic game industry. My very first job is one that most people in the game industry can relate to - working in a virtual sweatshop. I knew enough Photoshop to work on a production line for an interactive sports product. It was a contract gig with a very short deadline. In order to complete it, we had to hot-seat the work (one team would sleep while the other worked, and then we would trade places). We got the project done.
Two years later, I went in for an interview at Wizards of the Coast, and there, on my future boss's desk, was that same sports product. Life is funny that way. Years later, when I left Wizards of the Coast, I made an attempt at running my own companies - Valar Project and Portal East. Valar Project put out 2003's bestselling Dungeon & Dragons-compatible book. But Portal East made more money, by brokering print and manufacturing for game companies out of China. I then worked for a 3D-asset design studio called Lamplighter. Lamplighter created 3D characters and other assets for games, including assets for BioShock.
How have you applied your knowledge of game theory to the world of grant management?
I was quite surprised to find that there are a number of parallels between playing games and managing a grant. Both have a set of rules, sometimes very arcane, using unique terms and often written very poorly. Both have "win conditions" and assets or "meeples." And both require you to work and compete against other people who are also trying to use the rules to reach their win condition. And like the best modern games, the rules can change as you proceed. Frankly, running a grant can be quite maddening, if you don't see it as a game!
What excites you most about returning to the game industry?
The game industry is notorious for being a difficult environment. It suffers from social issues, financial issues, and political issues. And it is my first love. I played D&D as a kid, and the love of gaming has stayed with me my whole life. It may be a crazy world, but it is where I feel at home.
What do you see down the road for mobile game development?
There might be a brand new thing coming that I don’t know about, but if I were going to bet on something, it would be augmented reality. I think Pokemon: Go was an initial foray, and in the coming years, we will see some truly innovative, story-driven, augmented reality games.
Please join me in welcoming Anthony to the Brunette Games team.