I'm 25 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. My first published XBLIG game came out when I was 18 and it was a moment I'll never forget. 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 a more impactful medium. I believe many video games lack substance, 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 psychology behind bullying and the struggles of pursuing your dreams.
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 350,000 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.
Since late 2015 I've spent most of my time working on a 100% ground up remake of Sententia called The Path of Motus. The game is finally scheduled to release this summer!
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 MediaIf you're a member of the media looking to write a story, you might find the press kit for The Path of Motus useful.
Michael Hicks is an independent game designer and musician. He's been involved with the indie game scene since he was 18, self-publishing a handful of games onto Xbox Live Indie Games. His most recent project is "The Path of Motus" for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a game about bullying where your words have the power to destroy. He also made "Pillar" for PlayStation 4, a game about human psychology. Michael's games have been played by over 350,000 players worldwide and have been featured in publications such as Game Informer, Official Xbox Magazine, Wired, Engadget, Ars Technica and more. He also runs a Youtube channel with the goal of teaching other people to make games, you can find out more at pathofmotus.com.