Published on July 24th, 2020 | by Landon Buford0
Game Creator Jason Alejandre Talks Music and its Influence on Video Games
Game creator Jason Alejandre is the President and Creative Director for Game Mechanic Studios (GMS). He and GMS have worked with such top-grossing game franchises as “Call of Duty,” “Medal of Honor,” and “Mortal Kombat.” With over 20 years in the industry, Jason has established himself as one of the go-to talents. He’s worked with such directors as Quentin Tarantino and Gore Verbinski, and his projects have shared the stage with Mark Zuckerberg and been featured by Apple at one of Steve Jobs’ final keynotes.
Jason completed his first title in 1992 for the Sega Genesis. At the age of 15, he was already working with Park Place Productions, the original developers of the John Madden football franchise. He’s since worked with such development houses as Screaming Pink, NovaLogic, Universal, and Electronic Arts on titles like “Delta Force: Black Hawk Down,” “Scarface,” and “Medal of Honor.”
More recently Jason’s studio worked on “The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners,” as well as the remastered “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2,” set for a 2020 release. We caught up with Jason to discuss his musical influences, what it was like working with such legendary game franchises, and how games can launch the career of artists.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
My music influences were Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Guns N’ Roses, and Tupac.
Working your way up in the gaming industry, what was the best piece of advice you received?
The owner of Park Place Productions told me, “If you want to succeed, you do what the company needs no matter how small you might think the task is.”
Are there certain artists or genres you listen to while you work?
I really love music and I don’t want to take my attention away from the job or the artist’s message, so I don’t listen to music with lyrics while I work. My days are usually hectic, so I listen to a spa or more relaxing music when I work. I can stay much more focused that way.
Do you find music inspires your work on video games?
100%. Certain artists have inspired my work. For example, I was listening to Luke Combs’ song “Beautiful Crazy” and it inspired me to create a new mechanic for the current game I am working on. I heard the song and immediately wrote it up. Life inspires art, and the idea of someone being beautiful and crazy is so real and true [laughs]. In fact, the entire project I am working on right now is inspired by my love for music. I can’t wait to share it with the world.
You were involved in the remaster of “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2,” set for a September 2020 release. What was it like to work on such a legendary game?
When Activision gave me the call to help out on it, we were super excited. I felt like everyone on the team was aware that it was a legendary project so everything had to be done right. We owed it to the fans and everyone who grew up playing this genre-defining skating game. The lead developer, Vicarious Visions, is super talented, so we were honored to work alongside them.
You’ve worked on some of the top-grossing game franchises: “Call of Duty,” “Medal of Honor,” and “Mortal Kombat.” Why do you think these games are so popular?
To be honest, I feel a big part of it has to do with the teams behind these games. “Call of Duty” and “Medal of Honor” were originally single-player experiences, but the explosion into blockbuster franchises has a lot to do with the social and multiplayer aspect of games now.
It’s interesting that a video game can launch an artist’s career. You’re responsible for 50 Cent getting into video games before he made it big as an artist in his own right. Can you tell us a bit about that story?
Well, I was responsible for identifying and recommending that we should do a game with 50 Cent after Eminem turned us down [laughs]. I told my friends that ended up doing that game that they owe me big time for that one. At that time, I knew anything with Eminem would be gold and he [50 Cent] was the next guy up, so my hope was that we could be a part of that wave. It worked out. 50’s first album is easily one of the top 3 rap album of all time.
You must spend a lot of time working on your computer. If you were to take a Sunday drive, where would you go and what would you listen to along the way?
I would go down Las Virgenes Rd to Malibu towards Ventura and I’d listen to Halsey, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Juice Wrld (rip), Jack Harlow, Ty Dolla Sign, and The Weeknd.Tweet