Mikael KalmsCTO & co-founder – Studio Management
When I was 10, my parents brought an Atari 520 ST into our home. For "home-office work"... Right… I got hooked on computers right then and there. Programming turned out to be my thing. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, the "demoscene" subculture was thriving. People coded, created graphics, composed music, and made real-time music videos in the form of small executables. It was a fantastic place to meet like-minded people and hone your skills; even today, some of my closest friends are from the demoscene.
I ended up in games straight out of high school. Not so much because of the games themselves, but because of the people and the atmosphere. Back then, there was a lot of overlap between the demoscene and the games industry and so it was natural for me to go there.
I joined DICE in 2001. The large game productions have grown massively in size over the years. The first I was on at DICE involved a team of 20; the last one involved 500+ people just for the core game. It is fun to make those massive games... but it is also a lot of hard work.
After some 15 years of this, me and my partner took a time-out; we went to Rotterdam and lived on a boat for a year. When it was time to move back to Sweden, I got in contact with some old colleagues - lo and behold - it turns out they were thinking about starting a new studio! So, what is different for me with Fall Damage?
Well, it is very rewarding to be part of building something from day one. I can shape culture more easily than at an already-established studio. I can pick good things from my prior experiences and combine that with influences from the indie gamedev world as well as from the broader technology industry.
Most important of all, however, is that I get to return to a place and time where there are no strangers on my team. That makes every single day worthwhile for me - and, I hope, also for my colleagues.