Brian Upton

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Creative game development solutions.  No drama.  No ego.  Fast turnaround.

Let me help you make your game better

Pitch Doctor

When I worked for PlayStation, I took hundreds of game pitches.  I know what publishers are looking for, and I can help you refine your presentation to make it irresistible.

Preproduction Sherpa

I’ve been the creative lead on hit titles, and I’ve shepherded over a dozen games through production.  I’ll guide you through creating a plan that will keep your game on track and under budget,  without sacrificing your creative vision.

Game Designer

I’ve designed level layouts, combat mechanics, crafting systems, boss battles, power-ups, puzzles, economic simulations, monetization systems, and much more.  If you’re overloaded, offload some of your design tasks on me.  Or get expert advice on making your core loop insanely addictive.

Narrative Designer

I wrote the dialog for Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon & Sorcery.  You can hire me to write anything from a one-page story treatment to a full recording script.  Or have me supervise  voice casting and direction.

Virtual Reality Expert

I worked on first-gen VR systems back in the 90’s, and I recently collaborated on two  PlayStation VR launch titles.  I know the challenges and pitfalls of shipping a VR game.

Publisher Services

Since I’ve worked both sides of the publisher/developer divide, I know all about the challenges of remote project management.  Hire me to vet your development team’s production plan, or to perform regular milestone reviews to make sure things stay on track.

Game 911

Are you out of time?  Out of money?  On the verge of being cancelled?  Do you have major design or production problems that seem impossible to solve?  Let me help you.  I have a proven track record of rescuing troubled games and getting them back on track and out the door.  I’ll get you through your crisis with both creativity and compassion.

Flexible Pricing

My standard rate is $125 / hour.  I can quote you a price for individual deliverables, or provide you with ongoing services on retainer.

But … just because your budget is small, don’t think you can’t afford me.  I love working with indie teams!  Drop me a line and tell me about your project, and I’ll try to cut you a deal.

“Without exaggeration, Brian is one of the very best game designers I know. He has a laser-like focus, is able to get to the core, address potential issues and provide clear, actionable feedback for improvements.”

Brenda Romero, Game Designer

“Working with Brian was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a game developer. Brian is an extremely talented Creative Director, Game Designer, and Writer. He is also a level-headed, and experienced team-player who can help a team and project reach new heights of quality.”

Cory Davis, Creative Director, Tangentlemen

“Brian has an impressive understanding of how games work and has been extremely helpful when designing gameplay for our upcoming title. Brian is not only good at pinpointing potential problems, but also quickly provides detailed, and in-depth, solutions to these issues.”

Thomas Grip, Creative Director, Frictional Games

“Brian’s creative expertise was invaluable to many projects while we worked together at Sony Santa Monica Studios External Development group.  In addition to being able to quickly identify high-level conceptual issues across a wide range of game genres, Brian is equally skilled at delving deep into foundational elements like core mechanics, progression systems, level layouts and narrative flow.  At times, Brian took it on himself to work side-by-side with designers, quickly becoming fluent in new toolsets such that he could help fix issues to fully realize the game vision.  He truly loves making games – he makes his own in his spare time, and he’s constantly thinking about all of the challenges that we face as developers, as we try to bring new experiences to this medium.  Your game will undoubtedly benefit from his perspective and his efforts.”

Chacko Sonny, former Dir. of Product Development, Sony Santa Monica Ex. Dev.

“Brian is a no-nonsense and to-the-point designer I am happy to have had reviewing my and my team’s work for almost a decade. He constantly challenged my design team to not only justify their decisions, but also to constantly not lose sight of our main goal of finding the fun. If your design is struggling, stuck or just in need of an outside opinion, Brian is your guy.”

John Mundy, Senior Game Designer, Respawn Entertainment

“Brian is the guy who hired me into video games. Despite that misstep, he’s utterly brilliant.”

Richard Dansky, Central Clancy Writer, Ubisoft