Welcome to the first ever instalment of ‘Meet the Team’, where every month we will introduce you to a new member of the Wired Productions Family while discussing their job role, their career paths leading to this position, what they love about Wired, and any advice they have for those aspiring to join the gaming industry!
Today we are delighted to introduce you to Gary Marshall the Community Manager for Wired, who you may also know as the voice behind Wired’s Twitter, or the co-host of Wired Plays, amongst other things! Gary has worked with Wired for 15 months, seeing the launch of titles such as Those Who Remain, AVICII Invector: Encore Edition and The Falconeer.
What made you originally apply to work for Wired?
For the KFC days! No honestly it was mainly because of GRIP actually, I’d seen a random call to action for content creators to play GRIP on the Steam store page, and whilst doing it / afterwards really enjoyed myself – partially because I was a HUGE Rollcage fanboy back in the day, and partially because it was REALLY fun being hyped about a game and sharing that hype with people.
A while later I still had Neil’s (our wonderful Head of Marketing) social details on hand and saw the position open, after having a look at the rest of Wired library, looking at the development teams and seeing the range of talent and passion that went into bringing indie games to life, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Who wouldn’t want their day job to be sharing excitement and hype about games and thinking of cool ways to introduce them to the world!?
Where did you work prior to Wired?
I’d been a bit of a journeyman before Wired! I’ve had jobs all over, working in pubs, kitchens, golf courses etc. But the last two jobs I took on that I’d say directly helped with my experiences so far were my last two, specifically as a Network Engineer for an internet provider (never hurts to have some tech knowledge!) and as an SEO & Marketing Executive for an online marketing company!
What is your current role at Wired and what are your main day-to-day responsibilities?
Currently I handle all the Community bits and most of the social content! Honestly, there isn’t a ‘set’ list of daily tasks, every single day brings something new and there are so many different plates spinning, which can be challenging at the best of times but is one of the things I love about the job!
Checking up and replying to all our comments and DMs across socials.
Creating content for all our socials and planning out a schedule for it all / locking it in.
Keeping the Wired discord and game specific discords updated and making sure the community have all they need.
Making sure all things of note are locked in and supported (sales, patches, competitions).
Creating assets for all of our games and events.
Ensuring all the recent information is updated on platform backends (Steam, Xbox clubs, eShop, etc).
Collecting performance data for campaigns, growth, adverts, spending, competitions, trailers etc.
Keeping assets and presences on socials / website / schedule up to date.
Helping put together #WiredLive content scheduling and making sure it all goes up on time.
Lots of SEO work.
Creating blogs and updates for Steam and Wired as a whole.
Playing the games themselves (Got to know them inside and out to be able to market them well!)
Providing feedback on unreleased games.
Bug collection for the QA team and feedback to players.
A lot of Coffee.
Planning / doing the stream things!
Working with Product Managers to build up social campaigns that showcase the games in their best light.
Trying to understand memes.
The list goes on!
What is the most recent project you have worked on?
Well, I guess the last one that we can say is ‘finished’ was Wired Direct! Which obviously apart from being spectacular was a HUGE amount of work for everyone involved on it and felt pretty good once the dust settled to look back and go ‘whoa we actually did that!’
Being on the community side of things there is never a ‘single’ project that you are working on so to speak, our older games still have communities and updates and need constant attention as well as our newer ones and future plans!
But I would say a lot of attention at the moment is focused on revamping and building Wired Live as a streaming and daily content hub, and finalising campaigns for all the games we announced in Wired Direct.
When I joined Wired all the games that we have since released were known entities, they had already been announced, marketing plans were underway, and I spent a lot of time getting to grips (hah) with the games and understanding them to try and support them as best as possible.
This year is the first time I have ever experienced being there at the reveal of a game and knowing that I am going to be part of their entire lifespan! Being there from second one and being able to pitch in immediately with ideas and plans is kind of different in those regards and I am very excited for it.
Our last release (The Falconeer) was such a blast to play with socially, partially because Tomas was an absolute superstar in putting assets together and maintaining a dedicated fanbase – but partially because we leaned really hard into everything that makes the game special, and Great Ursee such a fascinating place! Along with the fact that – heck, it was a NEXT GEN LAUNCH TITLE!
So, I guess TL;DR, latest project, making #WiredLive awesome, and making sure ALL our upcoming games make as much of an impact as The Falconeer campaign!
What is your favourite thing about working for Wired?
I am going to say honestly my favourite thing about working at Wired (apart from the people, who are awesome) is twofold.
First of all, the fact that we go all in on the games we support. We all get a say in the games we take on, meaning that if a game falls under our name, it is because the team as a whole believes in it, they enjoy it and can see the best potential within it – It really makes a difference when your job is to promote something you are actively passionate about and the fact that you become a huge champion for literally EVERYTHING you touch.
Seeing the intense love and respect for horror media and how it works whilst wanting to buck the jump scare trends from the Camel team who created Those Who Remain, the incredible awe and inspiration of OUR ENTIRE KNOWN UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING WITHIN IT that drove KeokeN to create Deliver Us The Moon, realising the incredible worlds that live in the minds of people like Tomas who managed to take his own life experiences and funnel them into The Falconeer, something that stands unapologetically as a testament to his drive and manages to be something unlike any other game out there, or even being a part of Tim Bergling’s ongoing legacy and showcasing his talents to audiences that may not until that point have considered themselves Avicii fans with Invector.
It might sound like I’m gushing a little, but it’s because I am! Seeing a project go from ‘this game looks like it could be neat’ to getting intimately familiar with the talent behind it, falling in love with the creators AND the worlds, then seeing players around the world become champions of the games themselves is EASILY my favourite thing about the job!
Secondly, I’d say it’s the support and acknowledgment of mental health that makes me proud to be part of the company.
The job itself is hard, and I don’t think it’s any guarded secret that things such as crunch and mental exhaustion have in some cases become the norm and ‘part of the privilege of being able to play games all day’ which is frankly nonsense. Nobody, anywhere in ANY industry should be expected to burn their own sense of self and wellbeing for a paycheck. So the fact that Wired continually ensures that mentally, medically and personally we have what we need to do our jobs to the best of our abilities, but more importantly, to grow ourselves and take care of ourselves as people is something I appreciate a ton. It can be very easy to lose yourself in work and burn through on something, but even something small like an unprompted wellness check and some time away to get yourself back to where you need to be for YOURSELF – even in the middle of something major like a game launch or event is incredible to see.
The gaming space has a huge issue with mental health being a taboo discussion – as do most places! But it’s never more prevalent than in online discussions and even the professional side of the industry.
It’s very easy to put lip service on something and say ‘we support mental health’ and take all of the social engagements for it – but Wired put their money quite literally where their mouth is.
From the support of charities like the Tim Bergling Foundation and Safe In Our World, to the publishing of games that on the face of it are not ‘easy and fundamentally fun’ to play, but share important stories and challenging themes to help spotlight mental health as a discussion (such as The Town Of Light and Fractured Minds).
Seeing players become aware of these charities through our games, become ambassadors for them, hearing them share their own stories and relations to the subjects and engaging in dialogue with us and others after playing these games is frankly one of the most rewarding things I see regularly, and something I hope that becomes less of a rarity across the industry as a whole as developers become more confident with sharing their stories, and publishers become more comfortable with presenting them to an audience. For now? I’m just proud to be part of a team that does just that!
What advice would you give to someone trying to take their first steps into the gaming industry?
Gah, I hate this question – partially because I still feel but a fledgling game industry baby on the scale of things!
But honestly, (and I get the hypocrisy here) don’t take advice from people in the industry – at least not 100%.
I liken it to back when I was a much heavier content creator and you’d see so many people giving out advice under the guise of ‘This is what worked for me – so follow my steps and you can achieve the same exposure / success / partnership!’
It’s nonsense, everybody’s journey is a bit different, we all have our own strengths, weaknesses, talents and networks – how on earth could there be a set route that guarantees anything? Mentors and the like in spaces like that are selling nothing but snake oil , learn the basics to make sure you’re technically sound – then find your own voice.
That might sound like a tangent, but honestly it relates.
The industry is wider open than its ever been, with development becoming more accessible, tools becoming readily available, and content creation becoming a massive part of marketing strategies – just because you haven’t got a doctorate or qualifications associated with games related roles, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the ability to do so!
Take a real hard look at what you are good at, I mean REALLY good at (and no, I’ve played games all my life and am passionate doesn’t count) and double down on it, be REAL GOOD at it. Build a portfolio of examples, experiences and awesome accomplishments that showcase you at your BEST – HYPE YOURSELF UP TO THE MAX. Then talk to EVERYONE!
And it never hurts to add a few more strings to your bow, sure you aren’t going to be able to learn / cover EVERYTHING needed for a role like this without actually – you know, doing the job. But don’t let that dissuade you! Just the willingness to show that you would be capable of being able to pick up things and run with them is enough to cover experience you don’t have and tackling new things with aplomb is a great showcase for that!