Chris Fidalgo

Designer & Dreamer
Over 10 years of experience

Hey. Thanks for stopping by.
My name is Chris Fidalgo. I make games.
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Well, that's unfortunate.Like, I get it. We're all very busy. Time is money.How about donating? Want to donate to St. Jude's or Child's Play?

Hey! Look at you, listening to instructions like a real gamer. I pulled an Andrew Ryan on you, but that's why I love game design.I know gamers love achievements, so here's a freebie.

Chris Fidalgo, Professional Game Designer

Hello! I'm Chris Fidalgo, a game designer with over 10 years of experience in F2P mobile games.I have a track record of delivering successful games and features, tackling LiveOps challenges in real time, and mentoring teams of designers.Technical Expertise: Systems Design

Talents

Lead Game Designer
@ RECUR Forever

Designed core product features and gameplay mechanics for multiple brands and IPs.

Engines & Code

Sr. Game Economy Designer @ WB Games Boston

Managed the cross section of Live Operations and the Game Economy for several years.

Tools

Lead Game Designer
@ The Tap Lab

Fulfilled multiple design, production, product mgmt, and QA duties for the company over 4 years.

Brands

Education

• Magna cum laude, Honors Student, Graduated with Distinction
• 2012 Winner of the Troy Moore Ethics Essay Competition for “Tempering of a Defense: Further Critiques against Error Theory in light of Russ Shafer-Landau’s Ethical Nonnaturalism”
• 2012 Presenter at the Georgia State University Undergraduate Research Conference
• 2012 Presenter at the North Georgia Student Philosophy Conference
• Work published in the inaugural edition of GSU's Discovery journal

Published Works

Art, Gaut, and Games:
The Case for Why Some Video Games Are Art
Honors thesis written over a year in collaboration with Dr. Jessica Berry at Georgia State University.

Contact

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About Me

Hi, I'm Chris. I make games for a living.Like most people in the video game industry, I have historically worn many hats:
• Director & Manager
• High Level Design
• Systems Design
• Content & Scenario Design
• Economy Design
• Level Design
• Narrative Design
• Sound Design
• Producer
• Product Management
• Scrum Master
• QA
I'm a holistic thinker and love to solve problems, both in production and outside of it. My main focus is in Systems and Economy design.I'm a member of Amir Satvat's Mentor program. If you'd like to contact me for a 30m mentor call, please feel free to contact me via the methods below for career advice.

Outside of game design, I'm a husband & father of 3 awesome kids. For hobbies, I dance, write jokes, create make-up looks, woodwork, play piano, and form my dreams into reality. My family is involved in the local community & government. We regularly volunteer to help make our provincial world a better place.

Achievements:
Lead Game Designer for global brands: WWE, Sonic, Hello Kitty, Nickelodeon
Director, 200 person company, managing a team of 12 designers
5 Shipped Titles before 30
First winner of the "Hope is Not A Strategy" RECUR award
• Winner of the Troy Moore Ethics Essay Contest, 2011 - 2012
Favorites:
Console/PC: Dark Souls, Red Dead Redemption, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Final Fantasy XIV
Mobile: Threes, Genshin Impact, Brawl Stars, Spell Tower, Imbroglio

Contact

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Mastering the Metaverse: Gamefam & Roblox

As the Director of Game Design, my goal was to model two central behaviors:
1. Collaborative Spirit: We are one team working together to reach our goals
2. Growth Oriented Mindset: We hear feedback, listen for the truth within it, and apply ourselves towards improvement
As an individual contributor, I brought my talents to 3 of the company's most important projects: Military Tycoon, Sonic Speed Simulator: Reborn, and Spongebob Squarepants Simulator. Additionally, I helped designers across the entire portfolio, which included games such as Twilight Daycare, Super NFL Tycoon, TMNT Battle Tycoon!, Ultra Power Tycoon, Barbie DeamHouse Tycoon, and others.

A Shock to the System, SSS: Reborn

My first task at the company was to overhaul Sonic Speed Simulator. The game had a historic launch, but it struggled to maintain growth in LiveOps. Leadership wanted to overhaul the game into Sonic Shock, which later turned into Sonic Speed Simulator: Reborn.

Process

I worked closely with the senior designer, Derek DeMaiolo, to formulate the product goals and focus going into rapid turnaround development cycle. We targeted revamping the progression design, adding new currencies to the core loop, changing the physics system, and the difficult discussion of a progress reset. We also needed to improve performance, which was limiting the game's visibility on Roblox.We used the narrative hook of a universal rebirth to explain the progress reset: players reverted back to the beginning of the game, and leveled pets & trails (similar to traditional gear) were reset to level 1. At the time of the reset, Sonic had several hundred thousand DAU.

Outcome

Despite this, SSS: Reborn grew in key metrics, particularly in session length. When I left the company, it continued to provide significant value in terms of revenue.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants Simulator

My second task at the company was to define and aide the development of Spongebob Squarepants Simulator.

Process

My main focus for Spongebob was to better communicate the product identity & direction with the team's leadership. I coordinated with senior producer Paul Park, engineering manager Cody Nelson (who I worked with on Sonic to great success), and art director Andy Cremeans to develop a confident and stable product roadmap. I tasked the design team with ownership of the game's documentation, UI/UX flows, and pitching novel features to expand on the simulator space.

Outcome

I rotated off of the project to help other endeavors across the studio. When I left, the project had clear goals & directions, an improved spreadsheet backend, and thorough documentation with improved standards.

Helping LiveOps: Sonic and Military Tycoon

My last efforts at the studio involved improving the KPIs for the LiveOps pods' metrics. For this, I focused on two games, Sonic Speed Simulator & Military Tycoon.

Final Outcomes

While on Military Tycoon, we launched several major features, including the Arsenal, World Map overhaul, and many UI/UX quality of life improvements. I spearheaded learning Figma more deeply in order to scale the UI/UX designs of the projects while handling high level presentations and planning for the future.I partnered with designer Demmy Mangusso to add more features and content to Sonic. Several large features, such as Fast Friends, Skin Upgrades, and additional balancing tweaks were designed by Demmy while I provided guidance and assistance.Both efforts proved fruitful. The projects, and Gamefam, had a stellar 2023. I'm very proud of the work accomplished by the teams.

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RECUR Forever

RECUR was an interesting prospect on paper. When I joined the company in 2021, I asked in my interview, "Why should I join?" and RECUR responded by saying, "Because we have an amazing rolodex of talent."To their credit, RECUR was correct. Champions like Chris Heatherly and Stephen Teglas showed themselves to be remarkable leaders with great insight and ties to traditional media companies due to their past histories.However, during my time at RECUR, I felt a shift between the company's direction and my personal, professional goals. Because of that, I stepped away from the company just shy of a year of employment to join Gamefam, which better aligned with my personal desires.However, RECUR Forever is not as...forever. Announced in August of 2023, the NFT platform has been discontinued. Despite no longer working at RECUR, I reached out to several team members to check-in on them--it seemed this was the right decision.

Process

During my time at RECUR, I was the primary architect for our Games-as-a-Service strategy. I worked closely with Michael Woods, an accomplished and amazing Director, to create reusable playbooks for various brands. At the time, we were working on several Paramount IPs in parallel, such as Nickelodeon, Star Trek, & TMNT, while also designing for our licensed collegiate sports NFTs and Hello Kitty NFTs. I oversaw the technical details and reviews of our plans for sound business and gameplay strategy.

Outcome

Despite our best efforts, RECUR has discontinued its platform. I believe that the game design department gave its best effort to create within the requirements. I'm still proud of the work we accomplished, and I grew tremendously as a systems designer and spreadsheet wizard because of it. Some of my RECUR colleagues are close friends. I'm happy I worked there and met them.

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The Fight for the 4X Crown: Game of Thrones: Conquest

Over 4 years, I worked with the amazingly talented team at WB Games Boston on Game of Thrones: Conquest, a highly complex, mobile 4x strategy game. The game has been widely successful for Warner Bros., generating over a billion dollars in revenue.

Process

My work at WB focused on the intersection of Live Ops and Economy management. I started at the company as a mid-level designer who implemented the design details of the game's core Live Ops beats. As our content opportunities grew, I expanded with them by training other designers and collaborating with producers, engineers, and technical designers to deliver higher quality events at a faster pace. Every month, we shipped around 30 events, with about half comprised of original content. Additionally, I oversaw analytical data pertaining to the economy and events alongside senior design leadership and product management to ensure aligned growth strategies.

Outcome

As mentioned, GoT:C has generated over a billion in revenue, and I was present and played a major role in generating $750m of that revenue stream. We beat rising P&L tides for multiple years and eventually stabilized around $200m/year in revenue.During that time, I also grew as a designer and leader. The designer leadership, led by Derek Flippo and Matthew Zimmitti, instilled a great sense of ownership, stewardship, and a servant leader work ethic that the rest of the team embodied. I started at the company as a mid-level, but I left as a senior. I owe a great deal of appreciation to John Cataldo, my mentor at the company, who is one of the best designers I've ever worked alongside.I'm eternally grateful for my time at WB. I would not be the designer I am today without the wonderful staff that helped me grow.

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From Bigfoot to the Big Show: The Tap Lab

The Tap Lab gave me my first opportunity at being a game designer. I originally joined the company on a short-term QA contract, but I quickly established myself as a passionate collaborator who was willing to learn any discipline for us to succeed.

Process

As a game designer, I started making content on Bigfoot Hunter, an augmented reality camera game akin to Pokémon Snap. For that project, I composed levels in JSON files, designed the economy and progression, and worked with our CEO, Dave Bisceglia, to establish the product's business plan.We then leveraged Bigfoot Hunter's game engine to create BMO Snaps, a paid Adventure Time game that used the same mechanics with Adventure Time content and new progression systems. For this project, I continued to work as a QA Lead and game designer, but I also oversaw our production timeline, due to a tight, 6-month contract. Our studio adapted an agile development strategy and delivered the project on time, at quality.By this time, it was 2016, and we wanted to make a game that would be a wink & nod to the contentious presidential election that year. However, we thought we'd use a casual approach, design a new type of game, and the end result was PolitiCats, an idle game based on cats running for office. For this game, I worked on systems, progression, and content, along with having a greater hand in FTUE and analytics.Finally, my last project at The Tap Lab was WWE: Tap Mania, a licensed WWE game that utilized our idle game engine work from PolitiCats. I was incredibly honored and humbled to work as the Lead Game Designer for this role. I acted as the Product Owner and oversaw all parts of development, ranging from the art style, gameplay systems, LiveOps planning, and presenting high level deliverables to executives at WWE and Sega, the game's publisher. I worked alongside Steve Sadin, a talented project manager, and Dave to deliver one of WWE's best performing ad-revenue games at the time.

Outcome

Our success on mobile eventually led to the company's acquisition by WB Games. The Tap Lab sold the rights to its games to Sega, who did operate the games for a period of time before sunsetting them.The Tap Lab provided one of the best learning experiences for game development in my career. As a small studio, I wore many hats within and outside of game design. I consider many of my past colleagues from the Tap Lab great friends. They are some of the most talented people I've worked alongside.

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