Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart took some time out of his day to answer a variety of questions on Bethesda's official blog about his history in the video game industry, the founding of Obsidian, his favorite game of all time, and more.
How did you originally get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?
The road started for me when I was in high school. I became friends with a lot of people that were in the same D&D gaming club. I'm talking pen and paper, not video games. One of these friends was working at Egghead Software after school and got into a D&D game with someone who worked at Interplay. Interplay was starting to expand and they needed a customer service guy, so my friend took that job. That summer I needed a job and he recommended me for a playtest position. My interview was the VP of Operations looking up saying (So, you're Feargus?) to which I answers (Yep.) And that was it. I was hired.
Unfortunately, that was so long ago and it just doesn't work that way anymore. You need to have skills that will make you stand out.
However, I can give you a few important tips to getting into the industry. The first is to use correct grammar in all of the materials you send to the company to which you are applying. A spell checker is also very useful. You would be surprised how often we get resumes and cover letters that would have received a failing grade in school.
The second is to be persistent. Don't let up and always ask if it would be okay for you to check back in after a couple of months. By asking you don't come off as a stalker.
Also, if you are local to the company you are applying to, ask the hiring manager, one of the senior development people, or even the CEO out to lunch. It might not get you the job but it might get you some information and perspective on the industry that you didn't have before.