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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Acclaim Reveals Project 'Top Secret' Winner

by Rainier on June 27, 2008 @ 5:53 p.m. PDT

Today Project Top Secret officially reaches the most anticipated milestone yet as Acclaim finally announces the winner of the Directorship, Michael “Doran” Zummo. Mike will be offered the biggest career bump in the industry as he’s offered the directorship of an upcoming game from Acclaim Games, working with David Perry as Executive Producer.

This project has claimed three major game industry milestones. It’s the biggest development team in history (60,000+ people) on a single game development project. It’s also the biggest user-generated game design team. And it’s the biggest career hike ever given as a prize (from outside the industry to Game Director).

Before we announce today’s winner, we want to say that we have had winners all along:

  • Within two weeks of Project “Top Secret’s” launch, David Perry (the project’s Director) hired Michael Liebwein, who designed a new game for Acclaim that’s now in development.
  • Soon after hiring Michael, Perry hired Paul Lipscombe directly from the forums (based on the reputation system the site used). Paul who was #1 at that time, is now directing a new project with David Perry to celebrate Flash Game Development talent.
  • Matt Edwards was hired (again from this community) to be the programmer for The Fan Awards.
  • Michelle Montierth, co-director of the Top Secret Advisory Board, has just been hired as the head of Acclaim’s new localization department.

All of these talented and dedicated individuals came from our Top Secret community.

“I think we’ve proven that this is a great way to find super passionate people, by creating an incredibly difficult task, unleashing it on a massive amount of people who live for games, using the latest internet technologies, and hiring the ones that rose to the top. It’s a win-win and you can be sure we will be doing more of it in the future,” says David Perry.

In fact, Acclaim is already interviewing other members of the community so you can expect more of our Top Secret standouts to be working in the game industry, just as we hoped at the beginning of the project. Moreover, each finalist will receive a personal industry letter of recommendation from David Perry describing their contributions to the project.

And now the winner of the Directorship – Michael “Doran” Zummo.

Mike will be offered the biggest career bump in the industry as he’s offered the directorship of an upcoming game from Acclaim Games, working with David Perry as Executive Producer.

“This was a closer contest than some people might think,” says Assistant Director Rusel DeMaria, “but Mike was always among our top choices. His dedication to the project has never wavered for almost a year and a half of consistent effort – while holding down a full-time job! Mike has a steady, honest and humble demeanor, a great attention to detail and a phenomenal work ethic. He has all the makings of a great game director.”

Congratulations Mike! You have joined a small, but growing group of Top Secret members who are getting a giant leap forward into the industry they love.

“We offered to change one person’s career path forever,” says Perry, “and we ended up doing it for five. I call that a success, and I’m excited to see what they all come up with!”

Mike Zummo (nicknamed Doran in the project), age 34, is a usability expert and avid gamer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has served as co-director of the Top Secret Advisory Board since its inception in November 2007. Mike presides over many meetings with team members from around the world and writes a weekly What’s Going On section and has contributed steadily to the Top Secret design.

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