Nicole Willick transitioned from television production to video game production more than 10 years ago. As a senior producer with Activision Publishing, Inc., Nicole manages all aspects of game production, from multimillion dollar budgets to developer tracking and management. to interacting with all internal departments to get the game out the door on time, on budget and hitting all quality targets. When she’s not hard at work at the Santa Monica-based company, game producer Nicole Willick is at home spending quality time with her 8-year-old daughter.
How did you end up at Activision as a video game producer? How long have you been there?
I was in television production for 4 years prior to Activision. I wasn’t happy at my current workplace, so someone I knew at Activision clued me into an open Associate Producer position. My multitasking skills transferred well as I dove into the video game world. I have now been at Activision for 10 years.
Have you always worked on kid-friendly titles? Why?
My first video game projects were on the Tony Hawk series (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1-3). After working on a Disney licensed title, I then segued onto the DreamWorks properties and most recently Fox’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. There was no “choice” involved in my project selection; I work where I am needed most. I am open to any genre and don’t wish to limit myself to any one type of game.
How old are your children?
I have one daughter who will be starting 3rd grade in the fall. She is almost 8 years old.
What is most important to you when producing a children’s video game?
The fun factor! Can a kid pick up and play the game quickly without reading instructions? Is the game or the mini-games within the game fun for the parents to play with their child? The overall experience should be engaging and rewarding for the whole family.
You are definitely a busy, full time working mom. What kinds of things do you tell yourself to get over the mommy guilt?
The bottom line is that I love my job. I make video games for a living. It keeps me young and there is definitely a cool factor with my daughter and her friends. As with any job, there are sometimes long hours, but I always make it a point to be home every evening to have dinner with my family and tuck my daughter in at bedtime.