Bethesda Softworks Inside the Vault Q&A: Eric Beaumont

Fallout: New Vegas senior designer Eric Beaumont is next in line to be quizzed about his daily responsibilities and career history in a new "Inside the Vault" Q&A feature on the Bethesda Blog.
How did you get involved in the game industry?

At the end of high school, and through college, I worked as a restaurant manager at Disneyland. Great job, great perks, but aside from becoming an Imagineer (which I applied for once), there wasn't much else for me to do with an English degree at the Magic Kingdom. I quit there without any real savings or other job offers. I bounced around temp jobs and had a few interviews for (real) writing jobs, but eventually I realized that I needed some steady work to pay the bills. Right about the time that Virgin Interactive was about to close its doors (glad to see them coming back, by the way), I was randomly looking through the paper for a job and ran into an ad for (video game testers wanted.) At the time I didn't even know that such a job existed! It didn't pay well, or seem to be a much better career choice than fast-food did, but having spent most of the 80's playing Dungeons & Dragons and throwing quarters into arcade machines, it seemed like the perfect job to me.

I went to the interview in slacks and a white dress shirt. they must have thought I was crazy. I kept saying that I wanted the job and they kept trying to talk me out of it. Eventually they believed me and gave me the job. So for about six months, I tested what were to be the last games that Virgin Interactive Entertainment ever published (at least until now). Just before the end, Westwood Studios bought up the remaining assets and people to open Westwood Pacific Studios (in Irvine) and they needed some designers. I went into that interview (dressed more like a game developer this time) with screenshots of a terribly-designed StarCraft level and a half-completed Quake II level. Thankfully the interview went better than my samples looked (although they were full-color on glossy paper!) and I was offered a job as a junior designer.. I went straight to work as one of the four designers on an action-role-playing game called Nox. We had less then twelve months to finish it and we were pretty much starting from scratch. To this day that was the longest and hardest crunch I've had to work, with almost a solid nine months of 60 to 100 hour weeks, but it's also some of the fondest memories I have of my time in the industry. Since then I've gone on to bigger and better things, as they say, with the best being this opportunity to work on my favourite franchise, Fallout.