Jonathon Myers is CEO and Co-founder of Reactive Studios, a company which he formed to create a new type of game called “interactive radio drama.” He explains, “It is an entirely acoustic experience of story in which you use your voice to play a role.” Their first title is Codename Cygnus, a spy-thriller released on iOS and showcased at Casual Connect Europe‘s Indie Prize Showcase.
Myers comes to Reactive Studios with a background in entertainment industries. He was originally a creative writer and playwright, earning a student Academy Award nomination for a short film he co-wrote. One of his early experiences in the games industry was writing for Dejobann Games, a Boston indie company, working on the Valve Potato Sack ARG, which led to the release of Portal 2. He then began adapting story IP to Facebook for various companies. He worked as game writer for Zynga Boston on Indiana Jones Adventure World, which was named a top 5 social game of 2011 by Gamesutra. From there, he went to a narrative designer position with Disruptor Beam, planning the story and leading the writing team on Game of Thrones Ascent. He got into mobile through designing narrative and writing for Jack Lumber by Owlchemy Labs, and his focus remains on mobile today.
Myers particularly appreciates the camaraderie of indie developers and the community of support among writers around the world. Boston holds several monthly meetups where they come together to share knowledge, discuss problems and demonstrate games. He enjoys the same community cooperation at trade meetings such as GDC and Casual Connect.
The games industry entices him with the challenges of creative problem solving both as a writer and a designer. Delivering an entertainment product satisfies his desire to reach others with his creative work. And because it is a booming commercial industry, he can take practical steps to grow both his career and his business.
Innovation and Interaction
Innovation is especially important to Myers. He reached a turning point in his career with the opportunity to explain the innovations in the narrative of Indiana Jones Adventure World when he spoke at the Games Narrative Summit in Austin, TX in 2012. He tells us, “We had worked very hard to do something very different with story for a Facebook game.” With this game, he says, “I felt like a pioneer staking out new territory.” And now, the use of narrative elements has become much more prevalent in the mobile/social space. He insists, “I try to walk that path of innovation in all my projects.”
He tells us interactive entertainment is a category he expects will continue to boom in parallel with more accessible development tools that allow content authors to have creative control. As well, advances in mobile hardware and peripherals will allow for more innovations in audio. The limitations in these areas have been holding mobile games back until recently.
Reactive Studios are working to reach the largest possible audience for interactive stories, using a focus on acoustic storytelling. They are targeting an overlapping audience of audiobook listeners and casual gamers, with game content driven by audience demand. For 2014, they plan to focus on partnerships for new titles, allowing for rapid growth of the company.