the secret life of a strategy guide writer / 08

Last time: I remembered the great days when visiting Rare involved retinal scans and Great British fry-ups. This time, I pack slightly too few pieces of clothing for a trip up to the Edmonton tundra, to visit the largest mall in the Galaxy. Oh, and Bioware’s Ice palace.

Part 8: Bio-hazards

You take a plane to Seattle. You take another plane to Vancouver, politely smile and waver your constitutional rights away at customs, then stagger to a prop-plane for a spot of tundra-skimming. Then it’s off to the white snow and frigid temperatures of Edmonton, Alberta Canada. Flying there was an interesting experience, as the landscape was pure white. Alas, there’s nothing that you’d call “hills” for hundreds of miles, so skiing was out of the question. I half-expected to spot Steve Buscemi’s mangled foot sticking out of a wood chipper while Peter Stormare gets shot in the leg by a pregnant Frances McDormand out on Moose Lake. But that was the hundreds of miles of white you peered at until your eyes go funny until you reach an approximation of civilization; Endmonton itself.

The place is nice enough, and features the world’s biggest Mall, if you want to take your mind off the -35 degree weather they were having when I sprinted from the taxi to the hotel that Bioware’s offices share, and immediately lost all sensation down the left side of my face. After warming up in the faux-British pub, I wandered through an interior atrium, and into Bioware’s lair. There’s a good deal of turquoise and wood if I remember correctly, and offices stretching around long corridors, interspersed with zones where groups of people work furiously on games; in my case, they were finishing up Jade Empire. The Bioware crew are what you call “dedicated.” Sleeping bags were spotted. One of the team had gout. You don’t get gout by putting in the bare minimum of hours, you know. There’s a great communal room where the latest video games are played, and the coldest pizzas are reheated and eaten. Except when buckets of Chinese are delivered.

I’ve never met a nicer bunch of folks before, and I’ve never had all the moisture in my face sucked out from the time I left my taxi to reaching my hotel. It was a trip full of firsts.

Next time, I step cautiously away from Cliff Bleszinski’s Transformer toy… action figure collection.

Just finished: Touring the Wasteland.

Currently: Touring the Wasteland and noting down interesting locations.

About to: Continue my tour of the Wasteland.



1 Response to “the secret life of a strategy guide writer / 08”

  1. July 28, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Soooooooo… any news from the Wasteland?…

    Just kidding 😉

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