Meet Josiah Wallace— The Lead Game Designer of Guild of Guardians
We’re on a mission to onboard hundreds of millions of gamers into digital ownership via NFTs, by building the world’s most popular mobile RPG where players can turn their passion for gaming into real assets.
It’s a bold ambition, and bold ambitions require relentless focus, teamwork and some of the best talents in the industry. In this ‘Meet the Team’ series, we take a behind-the-scenes look at the team who are passionately building and spearheading the next frontier of gaming.
Meet Josiah Wallace — Dungeon Master, and Lead Game Designer of Guild of Guardians. With almost 10 years of experience working on some of the most popular games in the world, including Temple Run 1 and 2, together amassing more than 1 billion downloads — we’d say we’re pretty damn chuffed to have him.
Josiah’s expertise in game design is combined with cutting-edge blockchain and open economy design principles to create world-class Guild of Guardians gameplay. Although an artist at heart, Josiah works hard by the rule of building a fun game first and is a constant inspiration for the Guild of Guardians team.
Tell us a little about yourself, Josiah
I always knew I wanted to be an artist of some kind, but I think a real life-changing moment for me was in second grade when my teacher showed a 3D animated music video of ABC by the Jackson Five. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever and from there on out I started learning animation and practising how to draw.
Eventually, I reached a point where that artistry transitioned into programming and around high school, I realized that all this cool digital development stuff I’d been learning could be applied to video games! Thank goodness because I was desperate to prove to my parents that all my video game time was truly valuable.
Some of the first games I grew up playing were early SNES and NES games, like Duck Hunt, Super Mario World, and A Link to the Past.
When I finished college I started seeking out video game jobs and worked my way up through Quality Assurance and Technical QA, to becoming the primary Game Designer on the Temple Run series and of course, to where I am today, the Lead Game Designer for Guild of Guardians.
My experience professionally is in the mobile space and when Guild of Guardians was pitched to me they were like “Hey, we need somebody who has been a designer of one of the most popular games in the world.” I couldn’t say no!
Growing up people would always say that playing video games wouldn’t get you anywhere, so I’m really proud of where I am today.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
The thing that always stands out to me was on Temple Run 2. I joined when we were working on our first big refractor for the game and when we were about to unveil our first big new map.
We worked really hard on that for a very long time, a lot of early mornings and late nights. It finally came out and we got Temple Run 2 to the number one spot in the app store. That’s something that really you only see Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat do! We didn’t just hit the top and then fall off after a couple of hours. This is pretty cool considering we were competing amongst literally every genre and every style of app on the marketplace.
We were number one for a while and that’s always been a huge accomplishment for me.
How different is the design process of Web3 games like GOG compared to previous games you have worked on?
I would say that the process is still the same. To be honest it’s probably a really good thing that the process doesn’t change that much between the two. The game development process has always leaned very heavily on cultivating the fun aspect of whatever you’re working on. If that were to change, you would see a whole bunch of projects that would’ve been game first, suddenly look a lot more like marketplace simulators.
Guild of Guardians is on a mission to disrupt the gaming industry and bring digital assets to hundreds of millions of gamers via NFTs. What do you think is going to be key in making this mission a success?
Building off my last answer, fun for sure. A lot of people correctly mention things like, “Sustainability, Value, or Longevity”. These are all great things to have, but the only way any of those things work is if you are enjoying the time that you’re spending in the game in the first place. Guild of Guardians will succeed because we are laying out the foundation of a successful game first. Purpose, Collaboration, and Legacy are what you can expect from GoG!
Are there any games that have fundamentally shaped your design style and direction throughout your career?
I can’t help but break this answer down into more specific categories so bear with me!
Gameplay-wise, I was mostly influenced by the Zelda and Mario Games. I don’t think you can get much better than that to be honest. Perfect feedback across the board.
UX-wise, there’s nothing better than the Persona series. Especially the latest entry, Persona 5. Every time they make a new game they set a new bar for excellence!
Content-wise, Age of Empires really influenced the way I viewed games and replay-ability. As I grew older it switched to Hearts of Iron. Nowadays it’s Crusader Kings 3, Stellari, and all the Total War games.
My friends always make fun of me for my grand strategy game fascination because they’re like, “Josiah, he doesn’t play games. He plays spreadsheets.”
What excites you the most about working on Guild of Guardians?
From day one, it was the excitement of working with new audiences, new technology and having a different set of problems to solve.
I like RPGs and I still like working in the mobile space so this is checking all the boxes for me. The most exciting thing about working on Guild of Guardians is that it’s something that I want to design and it’s something that I would want to play.
Who is your favourite Hero and why?
That’s an easy one! It would be Morax. I would really like to see that character grow its fan base. One of the things I enjoyed about working on Temple Run was the fan bases around specific characters.
When I saw the Church of Morax starting to crop in the Guild of Guardians Discord, I was excited to see all these people slowly start to unravel all the intricacies of this character and what they can do. It’s all the deep, interpersonal relationships that we want to have between these characters and all their synergies. So I wanted to get in on it early and watch the news drops and how they ripple throughout the community.
Where do you see Guild of Guardians in the next 5 years?
I feel extremely confident about where we’re taking the game and the people that we have behind it right now. We have accrued a perfect combination of people to come in and make this one of the best, if not the best game out there in the blockchain space because we’re actually focused on creating something that people will want to play.
That to me is a very strong selling point. Guild of Guardians has the potential to redefine the game industry. Once people realise that these games can be fun rather than just marketplace simulators that’s when we’ll see mass adoption.
How can people follow you?
We hope you enjoyed getting to know our amazing Lead Game Designer, Josiah Wallace. Stay tuned for the next edition to learn more about the people behind the game, Guild of Guardians.
Until next time.