Cover art for podcast Out of Play Area

Out of Play Area

41 EpisodesProduced by John R. DiazWebsite

A bi-weekly video game development podcast by John R. Diaz, a veteran game designer who goes 1:1 in candid conversations with the developers behind today‘s hit games where we discuss their journey and learnings in this wild industry with no punches pulled. John is a kid born to emigrants from the D… read more

41 Episodes | 2021 - 2022

Jason Knobler | Senior Staff Engineer @ Lightning Games | Ep 39

October 17th, 2022


Episode 39 features Jason Knobler, a Senior Staff Engineer at Lightning Games in Philadelphia. Jay’s a fellow Full Sail University alumni, who has …

Claude Jerome | Lead Gameplay Designer @ Firewalk Studios | Ep 38

August 16th, 2022


Episode 38 features Claude Jerome, a Lead Gameplay Designer for Firewalk Studios part of the Probably Monsters family. Claude’s experience has led him from Vicarious Visions, 1st Playable, to Microsoft on Project Spark, …

Chris Cole | Senior Technical Artist @ Amazon Game Studios | Ep 37

July 25th, 2022


Episode 37 features Chris Cole a Senior Pipeline Technical Artist working at Amazon Game Studios as of the debut of this episode. We discuss his time …

Leon Kuperman | CTO @ Cast.AI | Ep 36

July 4th, 2022


Episode 36 features Leon Kuperman, who gets his gamedev cred from text based Zork style adventures, and is a Co-founder and CTO at CAST AI. Formerly Vice President of Security Products OCI at Oracle, Leon’s professional …

Shawn Alexander Allen | Founder @ NuChallenger | Ep 35

June 21st, 2022


Episode 35 of Out of Play Area the game developer's podcast, we sit down with the creator of Treachery in Beatdown City and discuss founding his …

Henry Golding | Principal Software Engineering Lead @ Xbox Game Studios | Ep 34

June 7th, 2022


Henry Golding is a Principal Software Engineering Lead at Xbox Game Studios currently spreading the significance of Test Driven Development and …

Kent Hudson | Designer Director @ Brass Lion Entertainment | Ep 33

May 23rd, 2022


Kent Hudson is a fellow Midway Austin colleague who now serves as a Design Director for Brass Lion Entertainment.  We talk about his start at Ion …

Zach Mumbach | Producer & Designer @ The Wandering Band | Ep 32

May 9th, 2022


Zach Mumbach is a designer & producer at the Wandering Band who spent 17+ years at EA as a producer on Dante's Inferno, Dead Space, Battlefield: Hardline, Godfather 2, Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, the Simpsons …

Ben Retan | Lead AI & Encounter Designer @ Hangar 13 | Ep 31

April 25th, 2022


Episode 31 features Ben Retan, a Lead AI & Encounter Designer at 2K’s Hangar 13 Studio out of Novato California. Ben is an old Midway Austin …

Chris Bourassa | Design Director @ Polyarc | Ep 30

April 11th, 2022


Episode 30 features Chris Bourassa, a Design Director at Polyarc working out of Seattle. Chris is a fellow Full Sail University of Alumni with over …

Jason Jurecka | Lead Software Engineer @ Visual Concepts | Ep 29

March 28th, 2022


On episode 29 we sit down with Jason Jurecka, a Lead Software Engineer at Visual Concepts, who just released WWE 2k22 laying the smack down on the …

Alan Blaine | Principal Tech Designer @ Bungie | Ep 28

March 14th, 2022


Episode 28 is dedicated to the people of Ukraine.

We sit down with Alan Blaine, a Principal Technical Designer for Bungie on Destiny, and a former Rockstar Designer for Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto V. We …

James Kane | QA Manager & Designer @ Raccoon Logic | Ep 27

February 28th, 2022


Episode 27 of Out of Play Area the game developer's podcast features James Kane, a Game Designer & QA Manager at Raccoon Studios in Montreal, …

Marie Mejerwall | Consultant Game Director | Ep 26

February 14th, 2022


Marie has a long career in game development, where she has worked on several AAA titles such as Batman Arkham Origins, Dead Rising, RollerCoaster …

Mauro Fiore | Studio Design Director @ EA Firemonkeys | Ep 25

February 1st, 2022


On Season 2’s premiere episode we surf the waves of change with Mauro Fiore

Studio Design Director at EA Firemonkeys in Melbourne, Australia.


2021 Retrospective | John R. Diaz | Tech Designer @ Electronic Arts | Ep 24

December 27th, 2021


This bonus episode features your host John R. Diaz, a Senior Technical Designer for Electronic Arts Frostbite Engine. In this 1:1 we look back on the podcast and the inaugural year, where we've been, and where we hope …

Johnny Wu | QA Director @ Riot Games | Ep 23

December 14th, 2021


Johnny Wu is a QA Director at Riot Games in Santa Monica who has worked for Respawn on Apex Legends, King, Zynga, and King.



  1. (00:00) Who …

Elaine Gomez | Game Designer @ Brass Lion Entertainment | Ep 22

November 29th, 2021


Episode 22 of the game dev's podcast features Elaine Gomez a Game Designer at Brass Lion Entertainment based out of New York City. 

Elaine Gómez is an award-winning game designer currently working at Brass Lion …

Angelica Baca | UX Designer @ Intercept Games | Ep 21

November 8th, 2021


Angelica "Jel" Baca is a UX Designer at Intercept Games who found her way through QA for Glu Mobile, Bungie, PopCap, Card Kingdom, and King.

Listen to her journey through this industry and how she thrives today.



Ryan Paradis | Game Design Director @ Bungie | Ep 20

October 25th, 2021


Ryan Paradis, Design Director at Bungie working on Destiny talks about his journey through Full Sail University, working at Rockstar Games in San …

Testing Games Is Awesome with Brian Dumlao QA Analyst @ Jam City | Ep 19

October 11th, 2021


Episode 19 of the game dev podcast Out of Play Area features Brian Dumlao a QA Analyst at Jam City in Carlsbad, CA with Philipinne roots hailing from …

Entrepreneur, Technologist, & Storyteller Matt Udvari | Co-Founder & CTO @ Aquifer Motion | Ep 18

September 27th, 2021


Episode 18 features storyteller/technologist Matt Udvari the CTO and Co-Founder of Aquifer Motion in Austin, TX. We talk about his journey through …

Being Authentic with Yesenia Cisneros | Lead Producer @ Brass Lion Entertainment | Ep 17

September 13th, 2021


On Episode 17 of the Game Developer's Podcast Out of Play Area hosted by John R. Diaz we sit down with Lead Producer at Brass Lion Entertainment Yesenia Cisneros a Queens New York City Native with Chinese - Ecuadorian …

Creative Director @ Rovio Montréal Stephan Carmignani | Ep 16

August 30th, 2021


Episode 16 features Stephan Carmignani Creative Director at Rovio in Montreal.

We discuss diversity, hiring in the pandemic, VR arcade design at

A Game Character Artist's Portfolio - Corinne Scrivens - Art Director @ Polyarc | Ep 13

July 19th, 2021


In episode 13 of Out of Play Area, we sit down with Corinne Scrivens who is an Art Director at PolyArc in Seattle Washington. She's worked as an …

Inspired by Pixar to Animate Video Games | Chris Torres - Animation Director @ Bluepoint | Ep 12

July 5th, 2021


In episode 12, Chris Torres, video game animation director for Bluepoint in Austin, TX discusses what led him to get into video game animation, his love of technical animation, and what led him to become a director and …

Freelance Game Developer The Dream Job | Grant Shonkwiler - Commander & Shonk @ Shonkventures | Ep 11

June 21st, 2021


In episode 11 of Out of Play Area the Game Dev podcast, Grant Shonkwiler, a freelance game developer aboard his own company Shonkventures, talks about being an audio programmer, to a game designer, and finally a …

Open Your Own Studio with Empathy, Risk, & Trust | Danny Bulla - Design Director & Co-Founder @ Polyarc Games | Ep 10

June 7th, 2021


In milestone episode 10, Danny Bulla, a co-founder and Design Director at Polyarc Games in Seattle, WA shares what it takes to leave the comfort of …

The Power of Stories & Community Building | Juan Vaca - Narrative Designer @ Netflix | Ep 9

May 24th, 2021


On episode 9 of Out of Play Area we sit down with one of the co-founders of the Latin X In Gaming Organization Juan Vaca an El Salvadorian / Ecuadorian American currently working as a Narrative Design Lead at Netflix. …

Designing & Directing Video Game Sound | Kristen Quinn - Audio Director @ Polyarc Games | Ep 8

May 10th, 2021


In episode 8, John gets to learn all about game audio design from Kristen Quinn an Audio Director for PolyArc Games in Seattle, WA. Her credentials …

Come Correct if You Want to Design Free to Play Mobile Games | Jeff Junio - Lead Game Designer @ Jam City | Ep 7

April 26th, 2021


In episode 7, Jeff Junio, a Lead Game Designer for Jam City in Carlsbad, CA, talks about what's it like building major free to play mobile games, how he approaches hiring and managing, how to sustain for over 30 years …

Animate Faces & Bring Life to Video Games with John Geiger - Senior Animator @ Eidos Montréal | Ep 5

March 29th, 2021


In episode 5, our first animator on the show, John Geiger a Señior Animator for Eidos Montréal talks about his career working on iconic characters such as Lara Croft and on Deus Ex Mankind Divided & Human …

Play Video Games Together, Better | Mayling Tan - Senior Game Designer @ Google Stadia Montréal | Ep 3

March 1st, 2021


In episode 3, Mayling Tan, a Senior Game Designer at Google Stadia in Montreal falls Out of Play Area and talks about the bombshell news that Google Stadia announced to their game studios. She candidly walks through her …

The Origin of Rockstar Presents Table Tennis | Mr. Benja - Founder of The 8Bit Cubist | Ep 2

February 15th, 2021


In episode 02, we sit down with Benjamin Johnson, or Mr. Benja as he’s known online, who is a designer and creative living in SoCal best known for being the lead designer on Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis and …

Design Memorable Video Game Puzzles | Douglas Burton - Senior Game Designer @ Polyarc | Ep 1 | Acapella

February 3rd, 2021


In the acapella version (no background music) of the inaugural episode, we sit down with fellow Full Sail University Alumni, dear friend, Detroit’s …

Douglas Burton - Senior Game Designer @ Polyarc | Ep 1

February 1st, 2021


In the inaugural episode, we sit down with fellow Full Sail University Alumni, dear friend, Detroit’s own Douglas Burton currently working as a …

Out of Play Area Video Game Development Podcast | Trailer | Ep 00

January 23rd, 2021


Out of Play Area is a bi-weekly podcast series where video game developers open up about their craft, themselves, and their motivations, for the benefit of other game devs both veteran and aspiring. Hosted by Game …

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