Where are they now? - David Jones

No, you're not seeing things; David Jones is working on another Crackdown game

For today's "Where are they now?" post let's talk about David Jones. No, I'm not talking about the department store that's a competitor to Myer, I'm talking about the Scottish game developer who was behind two of the biggest franchises in gaming: Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto.

Born in 1966, Jones would eventually study software engineering in Dundee, Scotland during the 1980s and towards the end of his uni days, started up his own game development company called DMA Design. Jones's first commercial game was a side scrolling shoot 'em up on the Amiga called Menace< which apparently sold 15,000 copies - not a bad result in the early days of PC gaming. He followed this up with another side scrolling shoot 'em up in 1989 called Blood Money.

It wasn't until 1991 that one of my favourite puzzle platformer games of all time was released called Lemmings. Apparently, the idea for Lemmings came about while the DMA Design team were working on animations for the sequel to Blood Money. They eventually realised that there was a potential game to be made having these "lemmings" walking around a precarious landscape. The rest, as they say, is history. Lemmings sold 55,000 copies on the Amiga on its first day of sales alone. Over the next couple of decades, Lemmings would sell over 15 million copies.

Jones helped to program the 1992 sequel to the game but from then on started to take on more managerial and designer roles with respect to games. He is credited as being the "Capo Di Tutte Cappa" for the first game in DMA Design's most famous (and controversial) franchise, 1997's Grand Theft Auto and was also a Creative Director/Executive Producer on the 1999 sequel.

DMA Design was eventually acquired by Rockstar Games in 1999 and renamed to Rockstar North in 2002. In 2000, Jones left to form a new game development company called Realtime Worlds. Their first game was an Xbox 360 exclusive called Crackdown which was released in 2007. The game was a critical success thanks to its open-world approach and Jones served as Director on its development. He was also the Director for the development of 2010 MMORPG All Points Bulletin or APB. APB wasn't as well received as previous titles Jones worked on and it's around this time he left to pursue other interests.
In 2011, he co-founded a game development studio in San Francisco called nWay. Here he helped develop an action role-playing Facebook game called Chronoblade with ex-Diablo II designer Stieg Hedlund which was released in 2013. The game has quite a following with over 381,000 Likes on Facebook.

Jones also co-founded a company called Cloudgine which, what must seem like deja vu, is again working on a game called Crackdown for the latest Xbox (Xbox One of course).

While it'd be nice if Jones could return to develop another Lemmings game or, at the very least, a PC game, it doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. However, considering his track record with the first Crackdown, there's a good chance this latest one coming to the Xbox One is going to be a winner, and if it's a winner, maybe he'll have enough money to risk it on a PC title? Whatever happens, thanks for the memorable games Mr Jones and good luck with the next Crackdown!

[ MobyGames: David Jones ]
[ Wikipedia: David Jones (video game developer) ]
[ Wikipedia: Lemmings (video game) ]
[ Chronoblade Official Website ]
[ Cloudgine Projects Webpage ]