"What if Don Draper were a game developer?" System Shock designer Austin Grossman on his next novel

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System Shock

Austin Grossman - a designer on the original System Shock, a writer on Deus Ex, and author of the very funny supervillain novel Soon I Will Be Invincible - is writing a novel about a game developer, set in 1998.

He told iO9: "In a way, the template is the first season of Mad Men – what if Don Draper were a game developer? The main character is a mysterious guy and something about his mysterious past makes him good at his job. Don Draper would be an awesome videogame designer, so what if we moved him into 1998 in a videogame company?"

It'll switch between the developer's real life making games and the worlds of the games themselves. "A lot of it will be set in the game worlds." Austin says. "I don't know if I could get myself to write a heroic fantasy novel, so this is the closest I'll get. I'm sneaking my way in the back door by having people playing heroic fantasy in the novel. There will also be a Cold War spy world and a scifi world. They'll move in and out of the game worlds."

Austin was working in the games industry himself around that time. So if he says a man who spends most of his work hours drinking scotch, having affairs and finding new ways to say "What?" would make a great game developer, I'll bow to his superior knowledge.

The other book he's working isn't game-related: "I'm retelling familiar scenes from Nixon's life and filling in the parts we don't know with Lovecraftian horror." A sentence which caused our production editor Tony to tragically explode with excitement.