Brad McQuaid's interest in game development started in junior high school, while taking an Introduction to Computers course. There he was introduced not only to computer gaming (on the venerable Apple 2e) but also to Ultima II
, which resulted in a life altering experience. Always an admirer of High Fantasy, an avid fan of Tolkien, Le Guin, Zelazny, and Moorcock, as well as paper & pencil games, including Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Ultima II made him realize that fantasy worlds could actually be brought to life. No longer was one restricted to reading the linear storylines of fictional protagonists; rather, one could actually become a part of one of these worlds, assuming the role of the hero himself. That realization gave Brad a vision& he chose his career path early on, and throughout junior high and high school, while other students were struggling with their own long term plans, Brad was busily working away on computers, teaching himself the principles of programming and design.
Brad's first serious work began when he co-founded MicroGenesis
in 1989 with his partner and friend, Steve Clover
. While holding down day jobs as business and database programmers, they worked long into the night on a single player computer role-playing game called WarWizard
. It was during work on this project that Steve and Brad met Milo Cooper
, who did the art for the game. WarWizard
was released as shareware in 1993, first on the Commodore Amiga and then later on the IBM PC, and its modest success inspired Brad and Steve to forge ahead and attempt to enter the games industry full time.
In late 1995, MicroGenesis
released the WarWizard 2 demo, which caught the eye of then Director of Development of Sony Interactive Studios
(SISA), John Smedley
. John gave Brad a call one fateful Saturday explaining that while he wasn't interested in single player RPGs, he was impressed with the demo and wanted to assemble a group of PC developers to begin work on an online RPG. For Brad & Steve, this was simply too incredible an opportunity to pass up. Not only was it a fantastic chance to join a successful and known development studio, but they'd also been heavily involved in the text based MUD scene for several years (most notably, the popular "Sojourn/Toril" MUD). So in March of 1996, Brad left his daytime career as an MIS Director and Programmer to join SISA full time, and he and Steve became the two founding team members on the project that would eventually become EverQuest
Brad's role in the project began as Lead Programmer. He and Steve also co-authored the EverQuest Design Document, defining the game's mechanics, class & race system, initial world layout, etc. Shortly thereafter, Brad was promoted to Producer, in charge of the development team, and the hiring process began. His philosophy of combining both experienced game industry talent with young and eager recruits grew the initial team of two to eventually over 25 members, including Bill Trost
and Kevin Burns
(the artists on the WarWizard 2 demo), Milo Cooper
(who'd been with SISA since shortly after his work on the original WarWizard), and many others. Brad continued on as Producer and also shared the lead designer role with Steve Clover
and Bill Trost
(who led the design of the game world's setting and history).
In late 1998, 989 Studios (formally SISA), with "Playstation 2" on the horizon, made the decision to focus only on console titles. John Smedley
was given the opportunity to take his online group and spin it off into its own company. He then approached Brad, asking him to be his partner in the new company, and Verant Interactive
was formed in January of 1999. Brad became Verant's Vice President and was placed in charge of the company's development projects, including EverQuest
, and the science fiction MMORPG that would later become Star Wars: Galaxies
was then released in March, 1999, quickly becoming a huge success beyond even the dreams of its most optimistic proponents.
After EverQuest's release, work began in earnest on the game's first expansion. Brad co-produced The Ruins of Kunark with
Andy Sites (former Assistant Producer on EverQuest), and then, as Verant grew, assumed the role of Executive Producer on EverQuest and Verant's other titles, promoting Jeff Butler
(former Verant Customer Service Manager) to EverQuest Live/Expansions Producer and Andy Sites
to Producer on EverQuest 2. Brad remained very involved in the various projects, was both Creative Director and Executive Producer on EverQuest 2, and Verant continued to grow, as did EverQuest's success.
After a short time, Verant's primary publisher, Sony Online Entertainment
(SOE), introduced the idea of acquiring the company, interested in adding subscription based revenue games to its existing repertoire of web based ad revenue games. During this time Brad was also instrumental in forming Verant's Austin Studio which would be led by his friend and former counterpart, Ultima Online producer Rich Vogel
. Rich had assembled an all-star team of developers who then assumed responsibility for the emerging Star Wars: Galaxies project. Upon acquisition, Sony Online Entertainment and Verant became one, and Brad's title changed to Vice President of Premium Games.
Between the years 2000 and 2001, Brad continued his involvement with SOE as both head of the Premium Games department and Executive Producer of EverQuest, EverQuest Online Adventures, EverQuest 2, and Planetside. In 2001, however, after being further promoted to the company's Chief Creative Officer, Brad began to seriously miss hands-on game development. Despite the challenges, fame, and fortune associated with climbing the corporate ladder, he slowly but surely realized that for him true happiness came from focusing on fewer games and in the environment of a smaller company (by this time SOE dwarfed Verant's original size). And so with both SOE and Brad's recognition of the situation, SOE permitted Brad to exit his contract and leave the company amicably. As extremely difficult as it was, both professionally and emotionally, Brad resigned from SOE in October, 2001 after five years of service. He was determined to do some soul searching, most probably to return to online game development, albeit in a different capacity.
In January of 2002, Brad McQuaid and Jeff Butler formed Sigil Games Online, Inc., a new company dedicated to the development of next generation of massively multiplayer games. Brad and Jeff immediately began talks with various larger games publishers, eventually striking a development deal with Microsoft. Assuming the role of President & CEO, but also determined to keep his company small and focused, Brad is involved with both day to day operations as well as co-Producing the company's new massively multiplayer RPG Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Sigil has also assembled its own all-star team of MMOG developers, including former members of the original EverQuest team, EQ: The Ruins of Kunark, EQ: The Scars of Velious, EQ: The Shadows of Luclin, EQ: The Planes of Power, EverQuest 2, EverQuest Online Adventures, Earth & Beyond, and Ultima X: Odyssey.
When the assets of Sigil Games were acquired by Sony Online Entertainment
in May 2007, Brad McQuaid became a consultant to SOE as a Creative Advisor for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
On a more personal level, Brad's interests and hobbies include driving sports cars (on the street and track), riding dirt bikes, listening to progressive heavy metal, reading fantasy and science fiction novels, collecting comic books, playing current MMOGs, Magic: the Gathering, RTS and car racing video games, and spending time with his friends and family.
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