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Funcom | Play Now
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 05/20/08)  | Pub:Eidos Interactive
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Age of Conan: Developer Profile - Gaute Godager

Each month, MMORPG.com brings you a profile of one of the developers working on Funcom's Age of Conan. This month, it's the head honcho himself, Game Director Gaute Godager.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us a little about your childhood. How did school and where you live influence your choice to join the video game community?

Gaute Godager:

I believe it was my brother who was my greatest inspiration to “fall in love” with computers. I guess that sounds a bit silly, but his boundless enthusiasm for the Commodore VIC 20 owned by some neighbors (the “Førde Brothers” (Fred and John) across the road) and his consequently purchase of a spanking new Commodore 64 (omg that was one powerful and wonderful piece of machinery for its days) that really brought me into gaming, demo making and dreaming about even better computers. (He is 1,5 years my elder and has another weird Norwegian name – Tjalve).

My brother and I are still at the same love for hardware, gadgets and tech as back then, now 25 years later. (Im 37). I’m the only one into gaming…

 

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MMORPG.com:

Can you remember your first video game? How often did you play, what other games had an influence on you?

Gaute Godager:

I do remember my first video game. It was Gorf (Midway) on the Vic20 back in 1982. It was 2kb cartridge you plugged in the back of the box. I played it as often as I was down with our neighbors, but it was far from enough. It just left me wanting more and more!

I guess my social gaming carrier kicked into overdrive with an excessive amount of Garrison 1 & 2 (Rainbow Arts) on the Commodore Amiga that I played with another Friend night after night (we Euros sure loved Commodore…) and my deep fascination and love of RPGs came from Bards Tale and the D&D games Pool of Radiance (Strategic Simulation).

 
MMORPG.com:

Besides games what other influences brought you into your career? Whether it is books, movies, or artwork everyone has different tastes, tell us about yours.

Gaute Godager:

I guess early the spark for many of my meanderings into gaming came from my love for The Lord of the Rings (read it 8 times) and classics in Sci-Fi like Asimov. It could be a yearning for travels to lands and worlds more majestic where the possibilities are endless – plain escapism - that also led me to become fascinated by making those worlds myself?

I also enjoy books that are not Fantasy / Sci-Fi. A good mystery novel, poems or well written psychological stuff (I’m a psychologist after all) – Mitch Alboms “The five people you meet in heaven” or “Tuesdays with morrie” springs to mind.

All different kinds of music has lined the walls in my office and home brought me inspiration. I looked at my CD and OGG collection and tried to classify my musical taste, but struggled – hm, Indy rock from the 80s and till today (love old REM, Smiths, Waterboys up til todays Frans Ferdinan) – soothing dreamy stuff from the 80s - David Sylvian (hm, Brilliant Trees!), Pop, but seldom top 20 stuff, classical music – happy or sad – like Mahler 5th, groovy dreamy Blues to Singer Songwriter (have 30 odd records with Van the-man Morrison (mmm, “Astral Weeks”)…

When people sometimes ask what I like, I answer arrogantly “quality” – but it’s not really true, I don’t listen as much to quality hard core rock as I should for instance… I do think I get to use my interest in music at work, though - when working with the excellent composers at Funcom. Trying to inspire them is very inspirational (hehe). Working with composer Knut Haugen on Conan was exceptional.

In High-school / College I studied and did some art (painting and photography), and grew to enjoy it more than I guessed I would. I do not spend enough time and effort on this these days, but my enjoyment and interest in art is something I get to exercise a lot in my time at work – especially in the beginning of the project when we concept new areas, gamemechanics or styles. I am not an artist but working with them for years and years makes me at least have the ability to know what I like, and to give trust and influence to the best people is at least something I can do. I think Didrik Tollefsen – art director on the Conan team – is a genius on creating visual moods and was given the ability to see Light and use it - directly from God himself ;)

I must say though, that the thing that inspires me the most is the people I work with – beyond anything. Solid, talented, good-natured, smart people – professionals - working together is great!

 
MMORPG.com:

What was your first job in games? What other games have you worked on?

Gaute Godager:

Hm, I made a game by myself in 1989-1992. My first paid job was that of Producer on a Funcom / Namco title in 1992 called “Hakon” – it was canned ;p

Other than that, a mishmash of titles: http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,14734/

 
MMORPG.com:

What is your job at Funcom? How did you get your foot in the door?

Gaute Godager:

Game Director. I’m like a movie director – except don’t have a megaphone (I don’t need one, I’m naturally loudmouthed ;p). I founded Funcom with 4 others – it could be called a foot I guess.

 
MMORPG.com:

Take us through a typical day of work on Funcom while working on Age of Conan, what is it like when you show up at the office?

Gaute Godager:

I basically sit in meetings all day, or answer questions as I walk down the halls – and write stuff like this at night. I plan, track, review, question, reorganize and play play play.

What meetings I attend vary from day to day, but that I do is persistent.

 
MMORPG.com:

Are there any friends or family who had a major impact on your career or chasing dreams that you’d like to talk about, do they play games?

Gaute Godager:

In addition to my brother, as I mentioned, old buddies from way back that believed in me and that I discussed gaming with included Jonny Larsen and Steve Reberg. I got support from my parents too, but they also always discreetly wondered when I would grow up. I question that too, sometimes… These days my wife gives me wonderful support and like many spouses deserves more thanks and mention than they get. Here it is though, thank you Anja! ;)

 
MMORPG.com:

The video game industry continues to grow very quickly. What are your hopes for games in the future?

Gaute Godager:

I guess that gaming will be the interest of a wider and wider type of audience and that we shall see more and more types of games. I wish there was some way to more easily create gaming titles with a smaller budgets and succeed than there seems to be – leaving the gamers also with “arty or underground” video games to inspire and push us professionals. Indi-games basically.

I also hope, but more and less take for granted, that all gaming in the future will be online. This is the future not only for the PC gaming but for consoles.

 
MMORPG.com:

How have things been progressing with Age of Conan? Have you enjoyed working on such a strong IP as Conan?

Gaute Godager:

I am very happy with the result of the Age of Conan. I was surprised with how much we gained from working with the Conan license. Not only in terms of marketing and positioning (everyone understands what a Conan game should be all abouty) but also creatively. Hyboria, the Conan world, is very well suited for MMOs. A deep, flexible and massive world is better than anything.

 
MMORPG.com:

Is there anything you would like to write to the readers of MMORPG.com that we have not spoken about?

Gaute Godager:

No. I don’t know if it was interesting, but if it was, thanks a lot ;)

 

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