SARAH E. DANIELS
In 2005, I transitioned careers from commercial photography to video games. My first role was as a Sr. Producer at RealArcade. I've never looked back.
Since then, I’ve lead teams in the creation of dozens upon dozens of games as Creative Director, Lead Writer, Designer and Producer. My passion lies with the players who want to lose themselves in story-driven, immersive experiences.
Story is life.
When feeling puckish, I'm prone to interrupt polite dinner conversation with questions like this:
"When do you think our ancestors first taught their children to hunt?"
When they could throw a spear? Fire an arrow? Chase a buffalo? No. Children first learned to hunt when the hunters brought home a kill.
In the midst of firelight and feast, babes in arms would inhale the heady aromas of smoke and sweat and flesh. They would watch their elders dance, shadows thrown huge against the sky, as they retraced their trials of strength and daring. These stories were planted in the fertile human imagination from which all future hunters were born.
Story is the birthplace of possibility.
To hear a story is to be transported. To play a story is to be transformed.
"Play is the exultation of the possible." ~ Martin Buber
The majority of my games include robust story elements. My clients count on me to create integrated narrative worlds which infuse the central story into all aspects of gameplay.
Not just a game designer, but a writer, I've create pitches, treatments, story beats and full-length scripts for multiple, shipped titles. Though I enjoy working on my own stories, the most fun I've had is leading teams in a writer's room environment where our mutual enthusiasms may spread like wildfire helping each individual access their own, deeper inspiration.
Most of my portfolio falls into the story-rich categories: Hidden Object, Adventure, and Casual Simulation.
As an efficiencies nerd, I consider myself a production-friendly creative.
I work with small, nimble teams who are often short on time and resources. My greatest desire is to help these studios grow while insuring the creative playground doesn't burn through their budget. It's a delicate dance, and I find the best creative leaders allow their teams to run wild early on in the process, but then provide clear direction to guide the project to the finish line.
In doing so, I strive to create an environment of manageable goals catered to individual team members' disparate personalities. I've done my job, not only if we get a commercially viable game out the door, but if each member of the team feels proud of their contributions.
As a Creative Director, I enjoy defining the sandbox and inspire my teams to run wild within those parameters.
As a Designer, I enjoy everything from creating a delightfully balanced level progression, to mapping adventure game decision trees, to perfecting player on-boarding, to interpreting the nuances of user testing, to defining every click in the game flux.
If I haven't mentioned it, I love games -playing games and making games. It is near impossible to play a role that isn't intellectually thrilling and fun.
FREELANCE | Narrative Game Design
Oversee publisher relationships with outside studios specializing in brand overhaul and reboots for popular game franchises. Freelance writing of treatments and scripts; copy-editing of story scripts.
CLIENTS: iWin, GameHouse, Fresh Games, Memory Lane, Oberon, Playfirst, BigWig Media, FreezeTag, Robot Super Brain, Ph0enix New Media
Maggie's Movies - Second Shot | iWin; Welcome to Primrose Lake | iWin; Word U | iWin; Cursed Words | iWin; Cubis Kingdoms | iWin; The Love Boat | GameHouse; Scruffs 2: Return of the Duke | BigWig Media (PC/Mac Download); Rocket Weasel | FreezeTag (iOS); Globall | Robot Super Brain (iOS); Jet! Set! Go! | Ph0enix New Media (PC/Mac Download)
Chocolatier IV | Playfirst (PC/Mac Download); Holland America: The Endless Cruise | Oberon (MMO/Facebook); Cursed Words | Fresh Games (iOS); Cubis Kingdoms (PC/Mac; iOS/Android) | iWin (In Development)
GAMEHOUSE | Creative Director/Exec Producer
Vision holder core franchises: Delicious (Time Management) & Mortimer Beckett (Story Adventure)
Managed outside studios developing Delicious (Emily) sequels 9, 10 & 11 (preliminary) and an experimental, Mortimer Beckett adventure game.
Defined creative direction for gameplay elements including narrative, features, and underlying mechanic iterations.
Co-Wrote story script and defined story arc for Delicious titles
Wrote story script, defined story arc and defined narrative interactions for Mortimer Beckett.
Directed creative asset & technical development within the confines of the overall, corporate, strategic goals and defined budgetary constraints.
Created wireframes, level balancing worksheets, and designed critical game features.
Managed RFP process, game design documentation and production cycles, internal and external communications, and scope to budget expectations.
Evaluated free-to-play partnerships and provide tactical design feedback to increase engagement, retention, and conversions.
Delicious: Emily’s Honeymoon Cruise: Over $5 million in global revenues. Top grossing mobile title in the franchise.
Delicious: Emily’s New Beginning: $2 million in revenues. On track to exceed overall, franchise performance.
Kiwi Wonderland: Free-to-play endless runner featured in Apple’s “Best New Games” in 160 countries.
519 GAMES | VP Creative
Drove catalog development and provided ongoing creative direction for experimental, start-up founded by Scripps Media.
Created game design documents, including underlying systems, in the genres of time management, choose your own adventure, hidden object and word for the social/mobile market.
Wrote RFP and brand guidelines for all internal products under the dictate: entertain, engage and enlighten.
Wrote all in-game dialogs and story elements for all titles, contributed to copy for corporate site and social media.
Managed strategic partnerships with outsourced studios and brand holders.
Collaborated with internal teams to influence corporate brand identity, production, data analytics and social media strategies.
Represented company interests at international trade-shows and conferences.
Political Rampage: iOS game pitting candidates against each other in fits of puzzling madness.
Campaign Story: Innovative Facebook game. Choose your own adventure. Campaign as a humble mayor. Rise to the highest office in the land. Beware dark politics.
Branded game designs: Scripps Spelling Bee; ATF; and Undercover Boss.
Original game designs: The Guardians (environmental game); The Candidate (political game); Modern Museum (social science game)
JOLLY BEAR GAMES | Studio Lead
Lead designer on all projects. Manage internal and external cross-functional teams. Generated over $3 million in revenues.
Directed cross-functional team collaborations and contribution to overall game design.
Created assets for games including in-game art, UI and UX wireframes, and mini game puzzles .
Wrote all narrative, copy and technical documentation.
Created brand guides and promotional copy for game franchises.
Managed all administrative aspects of the studio including human resources, outsourcing, external partnerships, budgets, and production.
Hodgepodge Hollow: A Potions Primer (Hidden Object Adventure)
Big City Adventure: Vancouver (Hidden Object)
Age of Oracles: Tara’s Journey (Story Adventure)
Big City Adventure: New York (Hidden Object)
Undiscovered World: Incan Sun | HoverBee Studios (Hidden Object)
Horatio’s Travels | Robot Super Brain (Time Management)
REALGAMES | Sr. Producer, Studio Partnerships
Sourced, produced, and directed design on some of RealGames’s most lucrative, published titles.
Managed relationships with strategic, studio partners.
Drove the third-party sourcing strategy for all of Real’s, download, distribution channels.
Oversaw usability lab and establish focus testing methodology to ensure customer-centric, analytic-driven design practices.
Generated over $15 million in revenues.
STUDIOS: Lifetime TV, Hipsoft, Mumbo Jumbo, Playfirst, Sandlot Games, Merscom, Last Day of Work, GamesCafe, Alawar, RealOre, Reflexive Entertainment, SpinTop Games, Gamezebo, Encore, 10tons; Fuzzy Games; PoBros, Robot Super Brain, and others.
Sally’s Spa | GamesCafe
Sally’s Salon (Game of the Year 2007) | GamesCafe
Tropix 2: Quest for the Golden Banana | Robot Super Brain
Shopping Blocks | Thunderstorm Games
Blood Ties | Merscom
Great Wall of Words | 10tons
Fab Fashion | Fuzzy Games
Azkend | 10tons
Alice’s Magical Mahjong | PoBros
Burger Rush | Gamenauts
Profitville | 10tons
Sparkle | 10tons