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Students & Alumni

Game Changer Files: Blake Battle ’12MS

July 12, 2023

A glimpse into the mind of a Bungie producer who is pioneering the future of gaming as a service, and our first Game Changer Files Q&A session in a new series featuring FIEA alum.
Blake Battle, FIEA alumnus from Cohort 8, casually leaning on a pole at Luminary Green
Blake Battle, FIEA alumnus from Cohort 8, casually leaning on a pole at Luminary Green

Earlier this summer, we had the privilege of an in-house visit with Blake Battle, an accomplished project lead at Bungie and an alumnus of Cohort 8 at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). Blake’s talk on “Games as a Service” provided a thought-provoking insight into gaming and its promising future.

Service games forgo upfront costs and instead rely on in-game monetization to support their business. With his sharp vision, Blake identifies this emerging trend and passionately believes that service games are the future of gaming.

As a leader, strategist, and customer, Blake’s multifaceted perspective offers a unique lens through which to explore this dynamic industry. One of the most intriguing aspects of his talk delved into the morality of Gacha—a gaming concept that raises questions about whether it constitutes gambling or not. Blake candidly contemplates the moral implications of investing money and time in games, emphasizing the importance of balancing entertainment and financial responsibility.

“I play 30-40 hours, and I invest X amount of money in playing with my friends and draw a comparison to how much I would spend doing some other kind of social activity,” Blake stated, reflecting on the allure of these service games.

Blake Battle, FIEA alumnus from Cohort 8, casually leaning on a pole at Luminary Green
Blake Battle ’12MS, FIEA alumnus from Cohort 8

He acknowledges that adopting a more free-to-play model for games g carries inherent risks. Still, he envisions that supporting strong social features in games will pave the way for more sustainable business models that benefit players and developers. Drawing from the Bungie code of conduct, which centers around creating games that inspire friendship, and strict adherence to ethical monetization practices that champion player experience above all, Blake shares his passion for his career and his pride in being a part of the Bungie family.

Inquiring about Blake’s current projects, we discover he diligently works on an unannounced project at Bungie, eagerly anticipating the day when he can unveil Bungie’s latest creation to the world. However, his journey in the gaming industry didn’t begin at Bungie; before his time at FIEA, Blake pursued a career as a legal assistant while studying to become a lawyer. Dissatisfied and yearning for fulfillment, he realized his true passion lay in video games. In what seems like a happy accident, Blake stumbled upon FIEA through a Google search for the “Best Video Game Grad School,” he found a nurturing environment aligned perfectly with his ambitions.

Blake urges FIEA students to embrace their chosen roles based on their FIEA accomplishments. By identifying themselves as the professionals they aspire to be, they can confidently embark on their careers in game development.

FIEA, a graduate institution known for its immersive game development programs, played a pivotal role in Blake’s transition into the industry. FIEA provides an authentic and unparalleled video game development experience with its cohort-based approach. Working alongside 60+ fellow student developers from various disciplines, Blake acquired the functional skills and experience necessary to hit the ground running. His internship during the program at EA Sports seamlessly transformed into a full-time position upon graduation, showcasing the value of FIEA’s plug-and-play approach.

When asked about advice for current FIEA students venturing into the game development industry, Blake emphasizes the significance of their experience at FIEA. He encourages them not to underestimate the quality and depth of knowledge they have gained while building games with their peers. FIEA may not be a literal game studio, but the caliber of experience garnered within its walls is comparable to industry standards. Blake urges FIEA students to embrace their chosen roles based on their FIEA accomplishments. By identifying themselves as the professionals they aspire to be, they can confidently embark on their careers in game development.

Read more on UCF Today: UCF Alum on How FIEA Took Him From Gamer to Creator

Beyond his professional pursuits, Blake reveals his love for gaming as a personal passion. In his free time, he immerses himself in the captivating realm of video games, recently indulging in the world of Diablo IV. Additionally, he soaks up moments of sunshine in Seattle, seizing opportunities to venture outdoors and enjoy the company of friends.

As our time with Blake concluded, it became evident that his interactions with current FIEA students mirror a master class in game development with students gathered in a circle indulging in the one-on-one time. His wisdom, derived from a blend of experience and foresight, holds invaluable lessons for those navigating the intricacies of this evolving industry. Blake’s lighthearted predictions for the future of games as a service bring forth a sense of excitement and anticipation as he asserts, “Games as a service is a return to form.”

“Games as a service is a return to form.”

Blake Battle ’12, Cohort 8

Blake Battle is a model for current FIEA students in a rapidly transforming gaming landscape. Through his vision and expertise, he propels the industry forward, shaping the future of gaming as a service and inspiring a new generation of game developers to follow their passions.

Written by Courtney Lewis

Game Changer Files: Blake Battle ’12MS

Project Lead at Bungie

We’re asking FIEA alumni five questions about their experiences before, during and after graduating from UCF’s top-ranking game development program.
1. Status: Where are you currently working and what projects are you currently working on (if you can share)?

BB: I am currently working at Bungie. Unfortunately, I am working on an unannounced project and can’t share at this time.

2. Noob: Tell us what you did before your time at FIEA. What inspired you to attend FIEA?

BB: Before FIEA, I was a legal assistant studying for the LSAT exam to become a Lawyer. Before that, I was a recent college graduate trying to find his way in the business world. I quickly learned after college that neither of those things made me happy, and I needed to pursue a field I was passionate about. Video games had been the one unquestionable object of passion in my life. I found FIEA via a google search for “Best Video Game Grad School”, found it in a Princeton Review list, and the cohort-based program seemed like the best fit for me.

3. PvE: How did FIEA prepare you for the industry?

BB: FIEA provides an authentic video game development experience that is almost impossible to replicate in another setting; 60+ student developers across all disciplines, there to build games with you. This is the work. I had zero game development knowledge before FIEA, and the functional skills and experience I gained allowed me to hit the ground running in an internship while still in the program. This quickly transitioned into a full-time position upon graduation. FIEA allowed me to be truly plug-and-play in the industry.

4. PvP: Please share any advice you have for current FIEAns as they enter the game development industry.

BB: Don’t undermine the experience you have at FIEA when you are applying to jobs. Even though FIEA is not a literal game studio, the experience you have there building a game with peers is extremely highly quality and comparable to what you would experience in the industry.

With that, don’t be afraid to identify yourself as the role you want to be in the industry based on what you did at FIEA. I am not talking about “you were a project lead at FIEA, so you are ready to be an EP in the industry, or a creative director, or whatever”. BUT, you want to be a gameplay designer and you did gameplay design at FIEA? Guess what, you’re a gameplay designer now, not an aspiring one.

5. AFK: Do you have any recent, interesting personal successes, new hobbies, family updates or activities you would like to share?

BB: It will come as no surprise, but I am a huge gamer. I have been spending a lot of my free time playing games (lately Diablo IV) and going out with friends when the sun peeks out from the Seattle overcast.