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Interview #030: Neil Broadhead (Wired Productions)

We had the absolute pleasure in speaking with Wired Productions' Communication Manager, Neil Broadhead. Let's learn more about Neil, Wired, and the SpecialEffect charity and more!

Thank you Neil for taking time to speak with me today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm the Communications Manager at publisher Wired Productions - I've been talking about games and lucky to work in the industry for over 10 years.

What was the first console/game you remember playing?

Space Quest. I grew up playing Sierra games.

What is your fondest childhood video game memory?

The first times... first time booting up a Game Boy, Mega Drive, Game Gear, PS1. The huge boxes for a CD case and a manual bigger than most books. 

Growing up, did you always want to work in the video game industry?

Nope. I was always creative and wanted to do something where i could create. I was a massive gamer as a kid, but working in the games industry was something i don't think i even thought possible.

You're currently the Communications Manager at Wired Production. For those who don't know, could you give a quick background on Wired Productions?

We're an independent Publisher based in the centre of the universe (Watford England). Wired is a rare breed of a publisher that cares deeply about its products, which is, of course, easy to say, but it's true. We sign games we love and help our development partners reach the widest possible audience. We do things differently: In the past two years we've released the first ARPG on Nintendo Switch, filmed with Shaq, shot a b-movie horror film with Lloyd Kaufman, offered $1m as a comp for space travel, brought back combat racing, traveled to Italy on a journey discovering more about mental health, and launched countless amazing games... we've enjoyed every moment of it and you can never really predict what game we'll sign next!

Can you explain your role and responsibilities?

Along with the amazing marketing team, i help create the strategies for how the games release, what we say, where we say it and who we say it to. I basically talk. A lot.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

Playing the next game for the first time and then seeing something you helped market sat on a shelf or in a chart online. 

Wired Productions recently released Shaq Fu, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Victor Vran, and GRIP: Combat Racing. What makes this game one to keep an eye on?

I'm a 90's kid. That was the decade i first really started playing games in, and racing games, as they are today, back then were huge too. But they were more arcade, more split screen. I'd raced with my Dad or my friends on my sofa. Recent games have taken another route, an amazing route and i play them, but i feel we lost a genre of racing games in recent years. GRIP takes me straight back to the 90's 'Neil', for pure adrenaline racing on my sofa, with a friend. I actually played it with my Dad recently and it brought back all those memories, plus it's GRIP... so i was able to blow him up, which was pretty epic.

Are there any upcoming games for the Switch that you can tease today?

 Yes... REDACTED and REDACTED... ha... we have a really good line up for 2019. If you look at Wired's games, they are all completely different. We find games we love and that deserve a voice and a gamer... 2019 promises to be our biggest year yet.

SpecialEffect is a UK-based charity that helps gamers with disabilities be included in the gaming community. Can you tell us about this organization and how you became involved as an ambassador? 

SpecialEffect is a UK based charity which uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities. At my previous company, I was part of a team that managed the charity relationships and we approached SpecialEffect as a potential new partner. I fell in love with what they were doing pretty quickly. We raised a huge amount of money for them, I covered a taxi in grass and drove it to France in their name, and since then I've had the honor to be able to talk and share all the brilliant things they do globally for people who can't access gaming. 

Besides providing accessories for gaming, another interesting service that is provided is called the StarGaze project. Could you elaborate on this? StarGaze specialize in Eye Control Technology, enabling severely disabled people to use a computer in any way possible, using whichever part(s) of their body that work best, by adapting technology to their individual needs.

Tens of thousands of people each year suffer a sudden injury or illness leaving them completely paralyzed, unable to speak or move any part of their body other than their eyes. Or a progressive condition which increasingly takes away their ability to move and/or speak. Eye-control technology enables them to operate a computer for communication, independence, education, work & leisure.

Enabling a completely paralyzed person unable to speak (‘locked in’) to communicate with doctors & family, making choices & their wishes to be known, to socialize with family, friends & the outside world, to still be able to email, use Facebook/social media from their hospital bed, read (imagine trying to turn the pages of a book when you’re paralyzed); or enabling a child to play games with friends & family instead of always being left out; hugely important in overcoming exclusion & alienation that severely disabled people can feel.

What game(s) are you currently playing and looking forward to?

Like the millions, I'm playing RDR2. But i really enjoy games with a story - I actually just completed Firewatch (late i know) and was so in love with it.

Finally, is there anything else you'd like to share?

Make sure you Follow Wired on twitter, facebook, or join our discord (links all below). We're a very talkative bunch and community is at the core of all we do, so we'd love to hear from you! I think 2019 is going to be an incredible year for the industry and i can't wait to reveal more about the part Wired will be playing.

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