I'm 23 years old and have been making art since I was a kid. Even though I lived in the country next to a farm, I knew I wanted to pursue something creative. At age 5 I made short films with my cousins and would "screen" them for my family and neighbors. In my early teen years I shifted from movies to music, playing shows in St. Louis and releasing several albums online. In my late teens I stumbled into making video games as a career, which is appropriate since I get to use all the disciplines I've learned (game design, music, programming, marketing/PR, video production) on a daily basis.
I became heavily involved with the Xbox Live Indie Games scene in 2011. I released a handful of short games there that attracted a larger audience to my work, and helped me grow as a game developer. In fact, I couldn't wait until I turned 18 so I could legally release a game I'd finished the year before. Towards the end of the Xbox 360's life I coordinated the Indie Games Uprising III, to help promote over looked games on XBLIG. The promotion was featured on the front page of Xbox Live in 2013.
In 2012, I became interested in trying to push video games forward as an artistic medium. Many games released today are about "nothing things", they're meant solely as entertainment to help pass time, often players will spend many hours playing a game that is doing nothing to enrich their real life outside of the game. I made "Sententia" around this time, an experimental game about the struggles of pursuing your dreams and the persistence required to get there.
In 2014, I signed on with Sony as an official PlayStation developer and released a game called "Pillar" in 2015 for PlayStation 4. The game was played by over 315,000 players worldwide and was praised for its innovation, unique soundtrack, artwork and design. It was featured in Game Informer (third largest magazine in the US) as an example of innovation in video games, and was showcased at conferences such as the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, and PAX Prime in Seattle.
Outside of creating a lot of music and games, I've also written articles published in Game Developer Magazine, Indie Game Magazine and various community websites. On occasion I give talks at high schools, universities and game conferences; one talk was even scheduled next to legendary game designer Chris Crawford!
Game Informer: An Early Look At Tommorow's Indie Innovations [Holiday 2014 issue]
Official Xbox Magazine: Indie Games' Growing Pains [Holiday 2012 issue]
Official Xbox Magazine UK: Xbox Live Indie Uprising: Sententia is an art game with a heart
Info For PressIf you're a member of the media looking to write a story, you might find the press kit for Pillar useful.
Michael Hicks is an independent game designer, musician, programmer and writer. He made his debut into the indie game scene in 2011, self-publishing a handful of games onto Xbox Live Indie Games. He made his major console debut in 2015 with "Pillar", a collection of minigames each with unique personalities and challenges for PlayStation 4. Pillar has been played by over 315,000 players worldwide and was praised as an example of innovation in games. Michael has been featured and interviewed by publications such as Game Informer, Official Xbox Magazine, Wired, Engadget, Ars Technica, and more. Outside of creating a lot of music and games, Michael coordinated the third Xbox Live Indie Games Uprising (which was promoted on the front page of Xbox Live in 2013) and has written articles in publications such as Game Developer Magazine.