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Lightspeed LA’s Steve Martin on the Thrill and Challenge of Setting the Bar High

Lightspeed LA is doing things 100% all the time

You may not know the man, but if you’re a gamer, you certainly know Steve Martin’s master handiwork as he has worked on some of the biggest games out there. With over 25 years of experience, starting from the days of the original PlayStation, Martin’s first foray into development was as part of a 4-person team making a game under the Eidos banner.

Martin is carrying his extensive experience, which also includes working on iconic hits such as Red Dead Redemption 1+2, Grand Theft Auto V, and Bully with Rockstar Games, to his latest endeavor – building an all-new triple-A open-world game for Lightspeed LA.

“Really, I don’t think I could find myself making any other kind of game right now because it’s such a thrill making games of that complexity in that magnitude,” quips Martin.

The seasoned veteran, and now General Manager of Lightspeed LA, recognizes his time at Rockstar as an incredibly important part of his education in video games, teaching him the value of attention to detail. “That’s definitely a landmark of the way [Rockstar] approach their titles, that they pay attention to every little detail,” he says.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

All of this is not just about Martin, but also about the team that he has been assembling at the Orange County-based studio. The level of talent is undeniable, and Lightspeed LA has creators that have worked on many critically-acclaimed games in the last decade or so, titles like The Last of Us, Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto, and God of War, to name a few.

“We’re already at nearly 80 staff right now. And you know, we’re going to be more than doubling that in the next couple of years,” shares Martin. “We have a lot of external partners we work with as well, so we’re very quickly growing into quite a sizable development unit.”

With the staggering breadth of talent, aiming low is definitely out of the question for the studio. Apart from aspiring to build a narrative-driven third-person open-world console game for their debut outing, the team is taking the challenge of creating an original IP head-on and setting the bar to the highest level.

“There’s a certain level of fidelity and quality that is really a touchstone for us – a jumping-off point of where we want to go. It is the ones that everyone thinks of – the Naughty Dog games, Rockstar’s games – that level of extreme quality that we love as gamers and we respect and admire as creators.”

With their eyes set on securing more top-tier industry veterans, aggressive growth plans, and a gutsy genre choice for their maiden outing, ambitious and passionate are certainly keywords that can be used to describe the team. For Martin, there’s no other way to approach something like this.

“If you’re not going to set the very highest bar, why do it in the first place,” Martin exclaims. “Creating something so gigantic is naturally daunting, but there’s also something deeply thrilling about that.”

Dreaming Big

Martin exudes a quiet confidence, brought about not only by the trust in his team and their capabilities, but also by being under the Tencent umbrella. Recent industry acquisitions have brought about buzzwords such as “expanded financial capabilities” and “creative freedom,” once thought to be pipe dreams, but now a reality at Lightspeed LA.

Martin gushes about the experience, and it’s been great for him and his team to be given the ability and freedom to actively pursue their goal of creating something fantastic.

At the end of the day, Martin knows that this level of support comes with high expectations. As the search for more talent continues, Martin is offering something that doesn’t come around often – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on a brand-new, world-class franchise from day one.

Lightspeed LA’s passion, ambition, and raw potential are hallmarks of a promising undertaking. Paired with Martin’s constant desire for excellence and drive to tackle projects at the highest level of quality, we have a feeling that the studio is a name we’ll be hearing of for decades to come.

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