- Original Implementor for 2 Infocom Text Adventures.
- Over 50 published Titles. 74 Industry Awards
- 2 Adventure Game of the Year Awards
- #1 Worldwide best-selling PC game (Unreal 2)
- #1 Worldwide best-selling Console game (Spider-Man3 on PS2 & Wii)
- #2 Facebook game (Frontierville)
- #2 Facebook game (Empires & Allies)
- #1 Worldwide mobile game (Candy Crush Saga)
- Co-founder Legend Entertainment
- Zynga’s Chief Creative Officer for North American Studios
- Twice Chairman of IGDA (International Game Developers Association)
- Co-founder Game Designer’s Workshop
- Best-selling author of Game Design: The Art & Business of Creating Games
- Multiple Advisory Boards
- Author of The Ritual, a fantasy novel
- Designer of Thaumistry: In Charm’s Way, a modern text adventure
- IGDA Lifetime Achievement Award. 2010 “Person of the Year.”
- Wikipedia Entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Bates
Bob has filled many roles in both publishing and development, and he has hands-on experience in virtually every aspect of the product pipeline.
From 1986 to 1989, Bob was the President of Challenge, Inc., an independent developer for Infocom. He was solely responsible for all business decisions related to the company.
From 1989 through 2002, Bob was the joint-CEO of Legend Entertainment, an independent developer and publisher which was acquired in 1998 by GT Interactive. His duties included Finance, HR, Legal, Business Development, Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Product Development, including direct supervision of games in production.
Bob was also a member of GT’s Product Acquisition Committee, evaluating and green-lighting games across their entire product line.
From July of 2002 to January of 2004, Bob was Legend’s sole Studio Head, with direct responsibility for the overall operations of this division of Atari.
From December 2010 to December 2012, Bob was the Chief Creative Officer for External Studios at Zynga, and from January 2013 to January 2014 he was Zynga’s only Design Fellow. In those roles he participated in the Greenlight Review meetings for the majority of Zynga’s games.
Bob has been active in all phases of product development, including game design, writing, producing, programming, project management, art direction, QA supervision, localization, mocap direction, and voice direction. He has worked on games that have appeared on the PC, Apple II, Commodore 64, Amiga, Playstation, PS2, Xbox, PSP, Xbox360, PS3, and the Wii, as well as on iOS and Android mobile devices.
Bob has extensive experience both in creating original properties and in working with licensed franchises. He has not only worked with authors to adapt their existing worlds, but on one occasion he also co-created a new property with a prominent author, developing a series of NY Times bestselling books simultaneously with a game based upon them.
Directing both internal and external development teams worldwide, Bob has worked with a wide range of companies, from some of the smallest to some of the largest in the industry.
Bob has also worked in a wide range of genres, including Adventure, Action-adventure, Casual (mobile), FPS, RPG, MMORPG, RTS, TBS, 3D platformers, Social and Free-To-Play games.
As a consultant, Bob worked with companies in many countries, specializing in world-building, game design, level design, storytelling, character development, and general studio business development.
He also developed one of the first-ever “serious” games (for the US Department of Justice: Quandaries1997), and one of his later serious games, Project Raven, is used by U.S. agencies to teach critical thinking to senior intelligence analysts.
At Zynga, Bob was “in the trenches” on the development of three major titles: FrontierVille, Empires & Allies, and Mafia Wars 2. In his roles as CCO and Design Fellow, he also sat on Zynga’s green-light committee and played an advisory role in the development of several of the company’s major titles.
Bob worked closely with the sales teams of Legend’s publishing partners, logging hundreds of thousands of miles on the road, making channel sales calls and participating in sales promotional events, both in the US and in Europe. He directly authorized MDF and SPIFF programs until he hired and supervised a Director of Sales who took on these duties.
Marketing & PR
From 1989 to 1998, Legend was responsible for its own Marketing and Public Relations. Bob supervised the Director of Marketing and the PR Manager, working with them to maintain good relationships with the industry press, and to develop and place advertising. Subsequently, Bob worked with external PR organizations and with Atari’s internal Marketing & PR groups in the US and in Europe to promote Legend’s products.
A charter member of the International Game Developer’s Association (IGDA), Bob has twice been elected to serve as the Chairman of the organization and served on its board for five years.
In 2001, Bob wrote Game Design: The Art and Business of Creating Games. Published by Premier Press (then Prima). The book has been a best-seller since its release. Now in an expanded second edition, it is being used as a textbook for game-development classes at colleges and universities across the United States and in Europe.
In September of 2003, Premier released Bob’s Game Developers Market Guide, which includes corporate and academic listings for the entire game industry, as well as a collection of development-related articles that Bob commissioned and edited especially for the book.
Bob is a frequent speaker at industry events, and has been a guest lecturer at MIT, George Washington University, Columbia University, and Carnegie Mellon. He has conducted seminars at GDC for over twenty years, and his sessions are consistently among the highest-attended and best-rated sessions of the conference. He has conducted workshops on design and production in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Bob is a co-founder and organizer of the Game Designers Workshop, an annual conference of storytelling game designers. The GDW is an invitation-only weekend event which is capped at thirty attendees each year and which attracts many of the top designers in the industry. The format is similar to that of a writer’s workshop, where participants discuss both practical problems and theory. In two intensive days of roundtable meetings, each designer has the opportunity to focus the discussion on his or her particular area of interest, reaping the benefit of the group’s collective experience.
Bob served on the Advisory Board of GDC Europe for six years, and as a current member of the Advisory Board of the Game Design Degree Program at George Mason University, he helps to set the curriculum for the undergraduate studies program. Bob is also a technical advisor to Project Horseshoe, a game design think tank based in Austin Texas.
Bob is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the IGDA, and was selected as the IGDA’s 2010 Person of the Year.