The legendary writer talks about his journey through the video games industry, from satirical website Old Man Murray through Half-Life and Left 4 Dead to the founding of a new studio
‘I donate to the Guardian, so I’m paying you.” So begins Chet Faliszek as we sit down to lunch in one of the San Francisco hotels that satellite around the Game Developers Conference. One of the industry’s most respected comedy writers and lead developers, the 53-year-old is here to recruit developers to his new studio Stray Bombay, named after his pet cat Boris. With Riot Games veteran and AI expert Dr Kimberly Voll, he is leading a studio that will focus on smart cooperative video games, made for (they say) smart cooperative players.
It quickly becomes clear just how much cooperation has been a vital part of Faliszek’s life, from pivotal relationships growing up in Parma, Cleveland, to a comedy writing double-act at infamous early-internet website Old Man Murray, to his run of successful collaborations at a behemoth developer, Valve. With every key moment in his life, he cites the generosity of another person, a pattern which appears to have informed his entire approach to games development, and the sorts of games he wants to make.