Mike Ellis

About Mike

Overview

I'm a veteran creative leader with over 25 years industry experience.

In that time I've had the pleasure of working on many successful titles (both in the US and the UK) for some of the biggest and brightest game dev studios, publishers, and platform holders in the industry. Throughout my career, I have developed a reputation as a highly-collaborative team member, who is quality driven, detail oriented, and willing to go the extra mile. While I strive for the best possible outcome, I’m also conscious of tech, budget, and time restrictions. When managing teams of creatives, I'm known to be engaging and empathetic. Providing team members with the support they need, while also giving them enough space to do their best work. 

During my career I've worn several hats within creative roles.

  • As Design Director, I traveled to studios around the globe, helping teams to reach success with their projects. Sometimes this was offering guidance and design consultation. Other times it requires that I support development teams by providing complete designs for them to exercise. This can mean working on-site for weeks at a time in order to best collaborate. 
  • Working as the Director of Design, I've overseen multiple design teams across several projects. I was able to successfully increase collaboration and the cross-pollination of ideas, process, and methodology. This role also enables me to provide mentorship and a friendly ear to the designers in times of need.   
  • I've spent much of my career as a Lead Designer on several titles. In this role I am able to utilize my creative vision and combine it with expert organizational skills to lead the team to success.   
  • When working as a Senior Designer, I am a solid, dependable team member. Often happiest getting my hands dirty, working with set of dev tools and a group of teammates to make the magic.

I've also often taken on Producer/Project Manager responsibility for the parts of projects that I've owned. Creating road maps and schedules, tracking progress and writing status reports, and prioritizing work in order to achieve maximum product value. 

I am a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and member of BAFTA.

 

Games aren't just an interest or careeR.
They are my life's work.

Mike Ellis Game Designer 2018.jpg

My Design Perspective

Video games are a uniquely interactive medium.

As such, my passion is to put control in the hands of the player and allow them to partake in immersive, player-centric experiences. Fantasy fulfillment is why we play. A great experience should be like running down an invisible checklist that is ensuring the heart's desires are met. Games are at their best when all the separate elements are in harmony and are collectively greater than the sum of their pieces. 
 

  • Controls and interactions should be tight and responsive, with constant feedback and no lag.
  • Gameplay should present players with choices and options, creating situations that are rewarding and memorable.
  • The game teaches the player how to be successful at it without limiting their options to a set of binary decisions.

 

Great video games aren’t just made, they're crafted. The the result of detailed design, extensive planning and focused implementation by a diverse team of passionate, talented people. Prototyping, rapid iteration and evolution are to be embraced and utilized until the product is right. Once the foundation is strong and the building blocks established, content can be added. Too many games fail because they never create solid foundations before they commit to growing toward their shipping product.
 
Games aren’t just about big features and creative ideas. They’re also defined by thousands of smaller decisions that are correctly made along the way and by getting a multitude of small details right.
 

PS Controller.jpg