Wizards of the Coast hires online game vet Leah Hoyer to steer new Wizards Youngsters Studio

Leah Hoyer, VP of Artistic on the new Wizards Youngsters Studio

Leah Hoyer‘s new gig main a kid-focused initiative at Wizards of the Coast has been a “dream come true.”

“In many ways, this feels like the position my entire career has been leading up to,” she stated. “It feels like a chance to inspire a lifetime love of games in a new generation of players. Getting to help shape the way we do that is a real dream come true.”

Hoyer is a recreation and leisure trade vet who was lately named VP of Artistic for the brand new Wizards Youngsters Studio. Her resume consists of stints at Disney, Microsoft, ArenaNet, Telltale Video games, Bungie, and most lately at Seattle cellular improvement studio Degree Headed Video games as CEO and founder.

Renton, Wash.-based Wizards of the Coast develops two of the preferred video games in geek tradition. Dungeons and Dragons has dominated the role-playing recreation market since 1974 and Magic: The Gathering has comparable fame within the collectible card recreation style.

Whereas each will be loved by children, they aren’t the goal demographic. That’s why Wizards of the Coast lately launched a brand new studio aimed to design new tasks focused immediately at children.

Hoyer and Wizards of the Coast veteran Elaine Chase are the one two workforce members on the studio. Hoyer stated her place shall be “lots of ideation” for the primary yr.

“We need to find that special idea that we think will have the impact we hope for,” she stated. “We have some starting points, but we are really early in this process.”

Artistic storytelling has been the main target of Hoyer’s profession. She spent eight years at Disney overseeing the creation and manufacturing of youngsters’ tv programming together with well-liked exhibits Kim Potential and Phineas and Ferb. An expertise engaged on an interactive attraction on the Epcot Middle sparked her curiosity in video games.

“That project made something click for me,” she stated. “I noticed that, whereas I beloved being a part of telling tales to children, the concept I may craft a narrative with a participant was superb.”

Hoyer made the change to the online game trade in 2012 the place she jumped right into a publishing position at Microsoft that allowed her to see a number of elements of video games come collectively. In that place, she labored on all kinds of tasks with among the trade’s greatest studios corresponding to Insomniac Games and Remedy Entertainment.

Screenshot from Batman: The Enemy Inside. (Telltale Video games)

Since then, she’s labored at Seattle space studios Bungie and ArenaNet. Hoyer additionally spent two years because the VP of Artistic for Telltale Games, an expertise she considers one of many highlights of her profession, particularly engaged on Batman: The Enemy Inside.

“The passion at [Telltale] was incredible,” she stated. “The games, while not always easy to make, were crafted so well. That game studio believed in the power of storytelling at its core, and the characters and story moments really shone because of it.”

Hoyer hopes she may also help to attain the identical sort of ardour at Wizards Youngsters Studio and construct a various tradition from day one. It’s a aim that’s not a shock as Hoyer has been a champion for growing variety within the online game trade. She’s inspired by the progress that’s been made in that space, however stated there’s nonetheless a methods to go.

“I’ve often been the only woman in leadership team meetings at studios,” she stated. “That is less common these days, though, which is a good sign.”

Hoyer stated Wizards Youngsters Studio will construct its workforce slowly and punctiliously, solely planning to have a small workforce at first. “The team is the number one priority. Having great teammates around you is the only way to get it all done,” she stated.

Whereas the Wizards Youngsters Studio is in its very early phases, Wizards of the Coast continues to develop upon its core properties. Greater than 20 Dungeons and Dragons merchandise had been launched in 2020, together with standalone adventures, expansions, and even a comic book guide crossover with Stranger Issues. In the meantime, Magic: The Gathering noticed the discharge of three bodily expansions this yr in addition to continuous updates to MTG Arena, the web model of the sport.

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