June 1, 1961 |
San Francisco, California, USA
|Occupation||Video game developer (Turbine)|
Jeffrey Steefel is an actor and producer of video games and a former actor. He attended University of California, Davis where he earned a degree in drama. Since 2004, he has served as executive producer of The Lord of the Rings Online at Turbine, Inc.
As a young adult in the 1980s, Jeffrey Steefel left his native California for New York City to pursue an acting career. He performed and sang off-Broadway, most notably at the Lamb's Theatre in the role of Jesus in the 1989 revival of Godspell, having shared the stage with young actors Trini Alvarado and Harold Perrineau, Jr. The production, directed by Don Scardino, caught the attention of The New York Times writer Sonia Taitz, who wrote a 2-page article about the director and the cast. In the article, cast members describe how Steefel was selected for the lead role by the director after the ensemble spent a week playing theater games. New York Times critic Stephen Holden gave the play and Steefel's performance a somewhat lukewarm review.
Prior to Godspell, Steefel had helped found the Project III Ensemble Theater where he served as production manager for the 1986 production of Flood by Günter Grass, and appeared onstage in Molière's The Imaginary Invalid and the world premiere of Bliss by Mikhail Bulgakov. After several years in New York, he headed back to the West Coast and became an ensemble member of the Colony Theater Company in Burbank, California. While at the Colony, he performed in the plays Rags and Working. According to his 1995 biography at The Colony Theatre Company website, he also had appeared in soap operas on television.
Computer games career
Jeffrey Steefel's early experience in game development include his time as Vice President of Production at 7th Level, an interactive entertainment company. There he helped develop and maintain the company's strategic partnerships with such companies as IBM and Disney, and oversaw the creation of many games, including Tamagotchi, Monty Python's Meaning of Life, Ace Ventura Pet Detective (for which his wife provided the voices of characters "Oosik" and "Vanilla Sundae"), Fun on Imagination Island, and Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games.
Steefel then moved to Sony Online Entertainment as the Vice President of Programming & Production, where he headed their digital studios in Los Angeles and New York and supervised a large production staff. He oversaw the launches of franchises such as JEOPARDY! Online, Wheel of Fortune Online, and Trivial Pursuit Online, among others. At Sony, Steefel also developed strategic relationships with Columbia Tri-Star Television, MTV, RealNetworks, VH1, ESPN, Hasbro, and LucasArts.
After leaving Sony, Steefel moved to There, Inc. and served as Vice President of Programming and Member Services. While at There, Steefel helped create an online virtual 3D environment tailored for mainstream consumers. Jeffrey headed customer service, community development, programming teams, and managed Member Services and content programming for a large-scale public Beta community, and oversaw its transition to a multi-player pay service.
In early 2004, Jeffrey joined Turbine, Inc. as Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Online, stating in an interview that he had long been a fan of the Tolkien classic and made the move to Turbine specifically to work on this project. Turbine's The Lord of The Rings Online launched in 2007 and proved to be wildly popular among gamers and fans of Tolkien's book, as Steefel and his team strove to keep the environment of the game as faithful to the author's original writings as possible.
On January 12, 2017 Jeffrey joined Wizards of the Coast to lead the newly created Digital Games Studio.
Games created by Jeffrey Steefel
- Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time (1994), 7th Level
- Battle Beast (1995), 7th Level, BMG Interactive
- Ace Ventura (1996), Bomico Entertainment Software
- Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1997), Panasonic Interactive Media
- Raymond E. Feist's Return to Krondor (1998), Sierra On-Line
- Sports JEOPARDY! Online (1999), Sony Online Entertainment
- Trivial Pursuit Online (2000), Sony Online Entertainment
- There (2003), There, Inc.
- Asheron's Call 2: Legions (2005), Turbine, Inc.
- The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (2007), Midway Games
- The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria (2008), Turbine, Inc.
- The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood (2009), Turbine, Inc.
- Jeffrey's public listing at LinkedIn log in to view Education
- The MMO Gamer interview, Part Two, page 2 by Steven Crews
- Godspell Speaks to a New Generation: The vaudevillian version of the Gospel that charmed 70's audiences is back with the same message updated for a different era. by Sonia Taitz (1988, June 12). "New York Times" (1857-Current file), pp H5 and H25. Retrieved August 11, 2008, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 114889378)
- Children Awaiting the Pied Piper. Review of Godspell. By Stephen Holden (1988, June 13). "New York Times" (1857-Current file), p. C16. Retrieved August 11, 2008, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 115100387).
- Colony Theatre Company website 1995 actor bio
- Rags page at the Colony Theatre Company website
- Working page at the Colony Theatre Company website
- Developer Bio at MobyGames.com
- Eurogamer.net interview by Rob Fahey
- The MMO Gamer Interview, Part One by Steven Crews
- The MMO Gamer Interview, Part Two by Steven Crews
- MMORPG interview by Jon Wood
- Play.tm interview by Luke Guttridge
- "Making Moves". MAGIC: THE GATHERING. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
- Birth announcement at Variety magazine online September 2, 1997
- Milton Times Online October 12, 2006