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Clint Hocking

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Clint Hocking
Middle aged man looking towards something to the right of the camera
Hocking in 2007
Born (1972-09-18) September 18, 1972 (age 48)
NationalityCanadian
EducationMaster of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of British Columbia
Occupation
  • Game director
  • Game designer
Years active2001–present
Employer
Notable work
Children1
Websiteclicknothing.com

Clint Hocking (born 18 September 1972) is a Canadian video game director and designer. He has primarily worked at the Canadian divisions of Ubisoft, where he developed three titles, and briefly worked at LucasArts, Valve, and Amazon Game Studios.

Hocking started his career at Ubisoft, where he first designed and wrote scripts for 2002's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. He rose to prominence when he moved up to direct 2005's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, which was both a critical and commercial success. He went on direct 2008's Far Cry 2, which was positively received by critics. In 2010, he left Ubisoft Montreal due to him being "too comfortable" at the studio. Between 2010 and 2015, Hocking joined LucasArts, Valve, and Amazon Game Studios in various senior roles. Throughout this period, he did not release any new games and in August 2015 returned to Ubisoft, this time at their Toronto studio. At this studio, he directed Watch Dogs: Legion (2020) which was also positively received by critics. Across his career, Hocking has written monthly columns for the video game magazine Edge, and coined the term ludonarrative dissonance.

Early life[edit]

Hocking was born on 18 September 1972 and is from Montreal, Canada.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Hocking started his career as a writer for website companies whilst completing his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.[3] During this time, he was experimenting with the level editor UnreadlEd, which he used to make a mod and complete a game level.[3] With this experience, he sent his resume in as "a lark" to Ubisoft Montreal and was subsequently hired as a level designer on 2002's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell.[3][4] During development, both the scriptwriter and game designer left the project and Hocking took on both roles, in addition to being a level designer.[3][5] Upon release, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell was well-received by critics, receiving "universal acclaim" according to review aggregator Metacritic.[6]

After the release of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Ubisoft Montreal began development for 2005's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Hocking continued as the scriptwriter as well as the lead level designer.[7] In the alpha stage of development, Hocking initially declined the creative director role due to having two positions already, but he changed his mind a week later.[7][8] During the game's two-year development, Hocking was working 80 hours a week.[8][9] This large workload caused him to have gaps in his recent memory, such as completely forgetting a week he spent socialising with a former colleague due to brain damage.[8][9][10][11] Upon release, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was universally acclaimed by critics and was a commercial success.[12][13] Soon after, development of 2008's Far Cry 2, a first-person shooter featuring an open world environment set in a fictional African country, started with Hocking as the creative director, this time his only role on the project.[5][7][14][15] Upon release, Far Cry 2 was positively received by critics.[16] Hocking and critics noted some of its reception was polarizing, which he attributed to the game breaking many conventions of the shooter and open world genre.[14][17][18] Some gameplay elements, which immersed the player, critics found polarizing.[15][17][18] This included when the player's firearm would jam, a map being a crumpled piece of paper in the player character's hands as opposed to one found within a menu, and malaria which the player character can get throughout the game and needs to treated by medicine from civilians otherwise the player character will die.[15][17][18][19]

Hocking delivering a keynote at Game Design Expo 2009

In May 2010, after almost nine years at Ubisoft Montreal, Hocking left because he felt he had become "too comfortable" at the studio and wanted a new challenge.[4][20]

Three months later, Hocking joined LucasArts, based in San Francisco, as the creative director on an unannounced project.[20][21][22] In June 2012, Hocking left LucasArts without releasing a new game.[23][24][25] He stated he wanted to move "on to something new";[26] It is not known what projects he was working whilst at LucasArts.[25] Two weeks later, Hocking joined Valve in Seattle, Washington in an unspecified role.[22][27][28] In January 2014, Hocking left Valve without releasing a game.[29][30][31]

In April of the same year, joined Amazon Game Studios, also based in Seattle.[32][33] Hocking worked as a senior game designer an unspecified project for Amazon's Fire devices.[34][35] In August 2015, he left Amazon Game Studios.[34][35][36] Hocking said he enjoyed working with new people but wanted to work on something that people will get to play, having realized that he has not shipped a game in seven years.[34][36] Hocking also expressed difficulties in obtaining a green card and being on his third visa whilst in the United States, which was another reason he wanted to return to Canada.[34] A few days later, he returned to Ubisoft, this time at their Toronto studio, saying it felt like a reunion.[34][36] He was excited to return to Ubisoft, and he stated: "I know most of the people who were involved in founding the studio personally, and almost all of them are still here".[37] Hocking's first project at the studio was as creative director for Watch Dogs: Legion, a game that was announced at E3 2019.[38] Hocking noted that most of the developers who worked on Watch Dogs (2014) and Watch Dogs 2 (2016) were part of his team when he directed Far Cry 2.[39] Legion was released in October 2020 and received positive reviews from critics.[40][41]

Across his career, Hocking has written monthly columns for the video game magazine, Edge.[24][31] Additionally, he was a part of an Advisory Committee with industry veterans Raph Koster, Ray Muzyka, Ryan Lesser, and Brian Reynolds to pick Special Award winners at Game Developers Choice Awards 2008.[42]

Ludonarrative dissonance[edit]

In a 2007 blog post, Hocking coined the term ludonarrative dissonance as a term for the conflict between a video game's narrative told through the story and the video game's narrative told through the gameplay.[43][44][45] Ludonarrative, a compound of ludology and narrative, refers to the intersection in a video game of ludic elements (gameplay) and narrative elements. In the post, he critiqued BioShock (2007), feeling that while the narrative wants the protagonist to be selfless, the actual mechanics of BioShock rely on selfishness and the pursuit of power.[44][45]

Personal life[edit]

Hocking is Canadian and has a wife and one son.[8][27][34] He identifies as a socialist.[46]

Works[edit]

Video games[edit]

Year Game title Role(s) Ref(s).
2002 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Game designer, scriptwriter, level designer [5][47]
2005 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Creative director, scriptwriter, lead level designer [7]
2008 Far Cry 2 Creative director, writer [48][49]
2020 Watch Dogs: Legion Creative director [50]

Films and television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2011 Gamers Heart Japan Himself Documentary [51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sources for birthday as 18 September:
    • Hocking, Clint [@ClickNothing] (18 September 2009). "Birthday drinks at Baldwin Barmacie with a bunch if Ubisoft drunks. Yaaayyy!" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 October 2020 – via Twitter.
    • Hocking, Clint [@ClickNothing] (18 September 2013). "Thanks for releasing your book on my birthday, Tom. Can't think of a better gift" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 October 2020 – via Twitter.
    • Hocking, Clint [@ClickNothing] (19 September 2009). "Thanks to all the folks who stumbled through the Baldwin for my birthday last night. It was a blast" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 October 2020 – via Twitter.
    Sources for birth year as 1972:
  2. ^ Thomsen, Michael (25 June 2008). "Hot Seat: Far Cry 2's Clint Hocking". IGN. News Corporation. Archived from the original on 11 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
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  19. ^ Ransom-Wiley, James (22 February 2008). "GDC08: Far Cry 2 gives you malaria, deal with it". Engadget. Oath Inc. Archived from the original on 24 April 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  20. ^ a b Alexander, Leigh (9 August 2010). "Clint Hocking Joins LucasArts". Gamasutra. United Business Media. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  21. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (9 August 2010). "Far Cry 2 dev joins new LucasArts project". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  22. ^ a b Parker, Laura (13 July 2012). "Clint Hocking moves to Valve". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  23. ^ Dyer, Mitch (29 June 2012). "Splinter Cell Creator Clint Hocking Leaves LucasArts". IGN. News Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  24. ^ a b Narcisse, Evan (29 June 2012). "The Mind Behind Far Cry 2 Leaves LucasArts Without Shipping a Single Game". Kotaku. Univision Communications. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Clint Hocking leaves LucasArts". MCV/Develop. Biz Media. 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
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  27. ^ a b Purchese, Robert (12 July 2012). "Valve hires Far Cry 2, Splinter Cell VIP Clint Hocking". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  28. ^ Handrahan, Matthew (12 July 2012). "Clint Hocking joins Valve". GamesIndustry.biz. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  29. ^ Savage, Phil (6 January 2014). "Far Cry 2 creative director Clint Hocking leaves Valve". PC Gamer. Future Publishing. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  30. ^ Smith, Adam (7 January 2014). "Clint Hocking Leaves Valve, Newell Discusses Sequels". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  31. ^ a b O'Brien, Lucy (6 January 2014). "Clint Hocking Leaves Valve". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  32. ^ Schreier, Jason (2 April 2014). "Amazon Hires Portal's Kim Swift, Far Cry 2's Clint Hocking". Kotaku. Univision Communications. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  33. ^ Webster, Andrew (2 April 2014). "Amazon hires 'Portal' designer to bolster gaming on Fire TV". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 24 July 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  34. ^ a b c d e f Grubb, Jeff (27 August 2015). "Far Cry 2 director Clint Hocking left Amazon to rejoin Ubisoft". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  35. ^ a b Makuch, Eddie (28 August 2015). "Amazon's Gaming Division Loses Three Key Figures". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  36. ^ a b c Orland, Kyle (27 August 2015). "Key Splinter Cell, Far Cry 2 designer returns to Ubisoft after five years". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  37. ^ Weber, Rachel (27 August 2015). "Clint Hocking returns to Ubisoft". GamesIndustry.biz. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 18 June 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  38. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (14 June 2019). "Of course Watch Dogs: Legion made it onto the BBC". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  39. ^ Francis, Bryant (27 June 2019). "Why Clint Hocking wanted every NPC in Watch Dogs: Legion to be playable". Gamasutra. UBM Technology Group. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  40. ^ Stapleton, Dan (28 October 2020). "Watch Dogs: Legion Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  41. ^ "Watch Dogs: Legion (Xbox One)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. 29 October 2020. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020. "Watch Dogs: Legion (PC)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. 29 October 2020. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020. "Watch Dogs: Legion (PlayStation 4)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. 29 October 2020. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  42. ^ "Game Developers Choice Awards To Bestow 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award On Computer Strategy Game Legend Sid Meier". Game Developers Choice Awards. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  43. ^ "The week's highs and lows in PC gaming". PC Gamer. Future Publishing. 29 May 2015. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  44. ^ a b Stuart, Keith (18 May 2012). "Max Payne 3 and the problem of narrative dissonance". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 31 August 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  45. ^ a b Hocking, Clint (7 October 2007). "Ludonarrative Dissonance in Bioshock". Click Nothing. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  46. ^ Hocking, Clint [@ClickNothing] (22 August 2019). "I'm over 40, a socialist, not a boomer, raised during the Cold War, and pretty certain boomers - as a generality - are freaked the fuck out by me too. Can you push the line back to 'under 50'?" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 October 2020 – via Twitter.
  47. ^ "Dark Futures: Clint Hocking". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Gamer Network. 14 December 2014. Archived from the original on 29 September 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  48. ^ Ubisoft Montreal (21 October 2008). Far Cry 2 (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360). Ubisoft. Level/area: Credits.
  49. ^ Reynolds, Matthew (6 January 2014). "Far Cry 2 creative director Clint Hocking leaves Valve". Digital Spy. Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  50. ^ Purslow, Matt (10 June 2019). "Watch Dogs Legion's Director on Brexit, Politics, and Ubisoft - E3 2019". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  51. ^ "Gamers Heart Japan". Uploaded by GameSpot which is published by CBS Interactive. 3 April 2011. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2020 – via YouTube.CS1 maint: others (link)