Call of Duty Video Game Producer Zach Gonzalez Talks Treyarch, Creating and Publishing Triple-A Franchises

Today we talk with Zach Gonzalez, producer at Treyarch on Call of Duty and other huge game franchises. We talk about the business model of funding, developing, and publishing Triple A games, the ethics of first person shooters, and how crowd funding is opening up new avenues for indy game development.

Zach also talks to us about the role of the producer in gaming compared to film and other creative industries, getting work in gaming now versus five years ago, and then we settle in for some old school game nostalgia.

  • 3:40 -The business model of big games
  • 6:30 – Crowdfunding is blurring the model
  • 10:10- Gambling and Video game launches
  • 10:50 -Call of Duty
  • 12:00- Treyarch Studio Culture, everyone is accountable and trusted
  • 14:10- Job Desc: Project manager, dev manager, producer
  • 15:45- Typical Day: Daily standup, Technical meetings, tech request, play test
  • 17:53- What does it take to develop?
  • 19:00- DLC season, additional releases
  • 20:00- Childhood Gaming- PC game consoles
  • 22:20- Evolving Industry- First person shooter versus top strategy
  • 20:50- Background artist “God of War”
  • 23:31- First person shooters “Wolfenstein”
  • 24:40- School for computer programming background/ web design/ finally game art and design- Art Institute
  • 26:30 Getting into the industry then and now
  • 27:05 Build your own game
  • 28:45 Game industry relies on word of mouth, tight knit community
  • 29:45 Article- Computer games
  • 32:10 Call of Duty 3 and beyond
  • 35:10 What are the different professions in the industry?
  • 36:45 What is lateral mobility like in the industry?
  • 37:45 You have to train yourself and go out of your way
  • 39:10 Juice Stop to Circuit City customer service to Blizzard
  • 40:00 Skip all the bullshit and get into the industry
  • 40:40 To College or not to College
  • 41:50 YouTube University
  • 42:15 Virtual Reality Gaming- How real is too real? (reference to Mike Murdoch)
  • 43:00 GDC Game Developers Conference
  • 45:35 Moore’s Law (2nd reference in show)
  • 45:45 How real is too real? (reference to Josh Fell)
  • 46:45 “We have already hit certain limits”
  • 47:40 Pac man to now, it doesn’t exist it is another world
  • 48:45 Video game, movie, both an escape
  • 50:00 Xbox Kinect integrations and lasers
  • 52:00 Simulation is necessary


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