Bonfire Studios is an independent game studio located in sunny Irvine, California. Our purpose is to build friendships by creating legendary game experiences that bring players closer together, united in a sense of adventure, exploration and fellowship. At Bonfire, being the best means being driven to excel, not as individuals but as a team. We believe that skill and experience are only part of the puzzle – an adventurous spirit, a commitment to excellence and a passion for iteration are essential.
Like many kids in my generation, I grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons, first as a player, then as the dungeon master. This is where I discovered that what makes games truly special are the personal connections they create. It was so rewarding to design the moment that became a story and a memory that lasted for years. I learned that adventure, collaboration, and sometimes even competition could build friendships and create ties that bind. Over my game development career, I feel like I’ve continuously added to my friend group through the games that I’ve played and designed. As a player, it was moments like defeating the Avatar of War with my Everquest guild. As a designer, it was seeing virtual friends meet for the first time at BlizzCon. Bonfire for me is really just the next phase in this journey to deepen and enrich friendships through gameplay.
I played a lot of games growing up from NES to arcade to board games, but the question “when are you going to grow up?” echoed at home. I hit time extension in college when I discovered ethernet and multiplayer games like Starcraft and Quake TF. However, graduation meant I had to get a “real” job. I rolled the dice and checked off “Investment Banking Analyst” on my character sheet. In my cubicle, I played endless hours of Excel and Powerpoint. After a short-lived career on Wall Street, I found myself looking for purpose. My passion had always been games, but NYC is a long way from the world of game making. Thanks to the help of a few friends and divine intervention at its best, I found myself on a one-way flight to Seoul to start the first of 12 years at Nexon. There, I joined the MapleStory team where I got my first and last taste of working within a dev studio. At Bonfire Studios, I’m excited and humbled to get back to where the magic happens with this incredible team and to continue my pursuit of a lifetime of play.
Some days define your life. The day my parents took me to my first drive-in movie theater was mine. The film was Star Wars, and it would change my life forever. Once I realized that an artist had the gift of imagination, I found my calling. While I was too young for art or film school, a fire was lit and I would begin my relentless pursuit of creation. As a kid, I enlisted the help of my friends, and together we created crude stop motion shorts. During this time, I began to understand that one can achieve more with the help of friends, and that imagination is more powerful than any other force. Fast forward to the present, and it’s undeniable that those early influences were fundamental to my 22 years of bringing characters and worlds to life with my incredible friends at Blizzard. Believe in your friends and don't waste the precious gift of imagination. Unleash it and share it with the world.
Even before I knew game design existed as a profession, it was something I was drawn to. Whether it was running epic D&D campaigns or hosting Warhammer 40K games, I frequently found myself in the role of game master. This time forged my identity as a designer and my player-first philosophy. It didn’t matter how clever my adventures were if my friends were not having fun. I also realized that games are more than rolling dice and slaying dragons - they create experiences more powerful than movies or books. D&D and Warhammer lead to a job writing for White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade. From there, my dream took me to Relic Entertainment, Ubisoft and eventually Blizzard Entertainment where I was able to contribute to my favorite franchise - Diablo. Having a strong belief in collaboration, it’s not the games I’m most proud of, but the teams I’ve had the privilege to lead and the friendships forged from trying to make the best games possible.
Growing up in Australia, I discovered my passion one coin at a time in the arcades. After much practice, the dragons of Black Tiger could easily be vanquished. In high school, I obtained access to a compiler and began programming in earnest. By university, I found myself writing video games as much as I was playing them. Placing first in the Tetris division of a programming contest landed me a job at a local developer working on Dark Reign. There, I naively handled multi-player and networking for the game, little knowing that the experience would lead me to a career building Battle.net. Over the course of 16 years, Battle.net connected millions of Blizzard players across the world in an impossibly large arena. Whilst the construction of this arena is what kept me going, facing difficult challenges and hard lessons with the team has made the journey worthwhile. Bonfire Studios is the opportunity to begin anew, to explore new ways to connect players, side by side with some of the most talented developers I’ve had the fortune to encounter.