That shift occurred when the same friend John hiked with during his major fall came calling about an open spot at development studio Spark Unlimited. This was a career path John hadn’t really considered, yet still fulfilled that same desire born during his acting days to build something up from nothing, refine it, realize it, and move on to something else.
It was a risk, but John persuaded his then girlfriend, now wife that it was smart to leave a secure, full-time path as an electrical engineer — which he began to pursue after spurning acting — to jump into games. He quickly found his way into important meetings to better understand the production process and learn the many facets of game design first-hand, and his tireless work ethic propelled him from production assistant to associate producer midway through the project. However, about a month before Spark Unlimited’s Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z shipped, everyone was laid off.
Fortunately, the person who interviewed and hired him at Spark Unlimited was John Garcia-Shelton, who went on to found Tangentlemen with Cory Davis, Rich Smith, and Toby Gard. He was offered a job before too long and this time, the smaller team allowed for more creative and artistic freedom.