Led by Matt Nava, the art director of award-winning games Flower and Journey, Giant Squid's team is composed of some of the most talented developers currently working in the industry.
Sr Game Programmer
Director of Operations
Executive VP + Board Member
Technical Concept Artist
Our Creative Director and Co-Founder, Matt Nava, is the driving creative force behind Giant Squid and its games. Previously the Art Director at thatgamecompany, his artistic vision helped craft the award winning games Flower and Journey for the PS3.
Journey, with over 33 Game of the Year and multiple Best Art Direction Awards, is a testament to Matt's ability to communicate deeply moving narrative through visual and interactive design. Matt wrote and designed the critically acclaimed book, The Art of Journey, in which he provides insight into the development process and showcases his artwork for the game.
With Giant Squid, Matt hopes to create an artistic atmosphere where he can collaborate with talented developers to make games that build on and expand his vision of deeply immersive and meaningful experiences.
TIM AMBROGI SAXON
During his brief time on this earth, Tim has grown from a kid writing game design docs with his brother in the 80's into a seasoned designer/engineer with 12 shipped titles to his name. His greatest passion in his work is bringing creatures, worlds, and stories to life using skills he has developed over a lifetime of dedicated study and practice.
Prior to joining Giant Squid, Tim was a designer/engineer at Final Form Games, where he led development of the cult arcade shooter, Jamestown+. He resides in scenic Pennsylvania, where he spends his free time writing music and having adventures with his family. His other hobbies include photography, writing, algorithmic music generation, game engine development, and audio mixer design.
Chao came from a family of medical professions, so he didn't know what he was supposed to do with that kind of upbringing. As a result, in an act of utter desperation, he decided to plunge into video game instead. Chao has been blowing things up and conjuring pretty sparkly stuff with particles and shaders in video games ever since. Along the way he blundered into the crew that grew Treyarch from a scrappy indie studio into the powerhouse it is today. He also accidentally became the founding partner of The Workshop Entertainment, which later became Skydance Interactive.
After 23 years of magic, blood, and explosions, Chao's journey finally leads him to Giant Squid Studios. He hopes to redeem his life of gore and destruction for a path of peace and flowers under the guidance of Abzu. However, fate has decreed that time is not yet nigh and he shall remain pathless. Until then, Chao is happily swimming and blowing things up with the squiddies at Giant Squid!
As early as he can remember, Derek has always had a deep passion for visually rich and interactive storytelling. From the first time he ever held a handed-down, worn-out comic book in his hands to his ever-growing collection of pop-up masterpieces and automata, he has always seen magic in motion and found soul in story. These feelings naturally shaped and defined his love of games. He joined Giant Squid to create the games he loves to play: immersive, personally meaningful, interactive narratives that are as visually rich as they are inspiring and thought provoking.
Derek is an industry veteran who brings years of low-level experience at virtually every stage of game development with him. From his time as a graphics driver engineer, to writing GPU performance analysis and debugging applications, to his years at Epic Games, developing the Unreal Engine while porting and shipping the code, toolchain, and games on a variety of platforms, he has worked with engineers and artists alike to shape and enhance game development for countless titles. He plans to bring all this to bear at Giant Squid, helping to build amazing games with a wonderfully talented team.
With over a decade of experience programming in the gaming industry, Julia brings her love of elegant solutions to complex problems to Giant Squid. She has never met an algorithm she couldn't optimize, and enjoys working with teams from all disciplines to eek out that little extra for the art, physics or scripting team. After having released her own project Rigonauts, she is thrilled to work with this team to bring more amazing games that she wants to play to light.
She's also an avid gamer from big budget games to niche indie titles, a loving mother, and always willing to engage in debate to better learn.
Matt's love of both technology and games led him effortlessly to the world of game programming from a young age. Looking at games as a means of connecting with the audience in a way no other media can, he's always trying to think of new inventive and enjoyable ways to push the boundaries of game mechanics and experiences.
After over half a decade at Riot Games, Matt has found his way to Giant Squid. He's excited to be working with the team to create technology to enable beautiful, immersive worlds along with fluid, enjoyable gameplay.
Joel is an animator who has a deep interest in characters and the rich stories they can tell. There's just something magical about bringing characters to life with feelings and emotions that resonate and connect with the player. With several years experience working as an animator or 3D generalist, Joel has a solid background in several aspects of 3D pipelines. At Giant Squid, he hopes to always continue growing as an artist, and to bring the same unforgettable experiences he loves in video games to others.
Aside from animating and games, Joel enjoys both playing and composing music. Although his main instrument is the guitar, he can play more instruments than you can count on one hand. Also, dragons and dinosaurs are totally rad.
A self-taught programmer with a decade of game development experience, Cosmo has been modding, designing, and programming games for as long as he's had access to computers. He has experience with all sorts of stuff; from high-fidelity animation programming, data-driven systems, and AI programming on big budget games to procedural generation, shader programming, and music composition on indie titles of his own.
At Giant Squid he hopes to do all of that stuff some more. And definitely learn some new stuff along the way. The important thing, really, is using all of the stuff at his disposal in inventive ways to create games that people can't get enough of. For the record, he's also an avid gamer and tabletop RPG nerd.
ERICA ISHIJIMA HSU
Erica enjoys managing all aspects of the Giant Squid business. Whether it's making sure that the studio and projects are running smoothly, or that the team is happy, she'll do whatever it takes to maintain productivity of game development from behind the scenes. Creating value out of any obstacle is her passion.
While at Sony Computer Entertainment America, she coordinated for the talent acquisition teams at PlayStation HQ, Santa Monica Studio, San Diego Studio, and Bend Studio. She supported the teams of God of War: Ascension, MLB: The Show, Uncharted, and a few unannounced titles for PS4.
At Giant Squid, Erica strives to contribute to a culture where artistic vision and brilliant minds are celebrated. When she's not working, you'll find her dancing her way through life.
A digital artist with extensive experience in asset creation, world building, optimization, and pipeline creation, Jak has been a technical artist in the game development space for over 8 years. He loves thinking about the best way to create a world that tells a story, elicits a mood, and drops jaws. He has worked on a broad range of projects such as Call of Duty:WWII, a VR mental wellness product, TMNT Training Lair for the Kinect, and even a Pepsi Soccer game on a vending machine. Jak is eager to bring that breadth of experience to Giant Squid in creating worlds that capture the imagination.
When he's not at work you can find him cooking, building furniture, and doting on his dog Jasper.
As Director of Product Development at Sony’s Santa Monica Studio for the past 5 years, Tina had the pleasure of releasing some of the industry’s most groundbreaking and beautiful games such as Journey, The Unfinished Swan, Sound Shapes, Flower and more. In March 2013, Tina founded her own company called The Arsenal Agency to help select independent developers with representation and business support, and is currently working with Giant Squid as an Executive VP and Board Member.
While at Sony, Tina managed a department of 15 producers and designers and over a dozen independent development studios. Responsibilities included managing staff and developer relations, product planning, business strategy, budgets, reviewing concepts, negotiating deal terms, collaborating with marketing, and contributing to studio planning. The goal was to enable developers to create unique and fun experiences in hopes of broadening the market and changing the perception of video games as art. Tina's department gained the reputation of supporting some of the best quality and most unique indie titles in the industry, winning hundreds of awards. Journey, one of our proudest and most successful releases, is probably within the top 3 highest award winning games in history. Titles released included The Unfinished Swan, Journey, PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, Sound Shapes, Escape Plan, Carnival Island, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, God of War: Origins, Datura, Twisted Metal, Flower, Fat Princess, the PixelJunk series, Everyday Shooter and Linger in Shadows.
Prior to Sony, Tina worked as VP of Development for independent developer 7 Studios and was primarily responsible for managing strategic relationships with business partners to secure funding and support for multiple projects. In order to broaden the studio’s capabilities and reputation, Tina worked to create and develop original concepts, and managed pitch materials, proposals and legal agreements. The studio grew from 50-130 people, with satellite offices opened in Taiwan and Utah. Shortly after Tina left, 7 Studios was acquired by Activision.
Before joining 7 Studios, Tina worked as VP of Program Development and Editorial at G4 Television. She was a founding member of the network and helped it grow from 9 to over 350 employees in under 4 years, broadcasting into 55 million homes – one of the fastest growing networks in television history. Tina's role was to manage relationships with the games industry to provide content and interviews for the network's 24/7 programming lineup, and work with producers to develop show concepts and editorial coverage.
Prior to G4, Tina worked at Sony Computer Entertainment America for 6 years as part of the launch team for PlayStation and PlayStation 2. PlayStation became the best selling console of all time shipping over 100 million units, and was only surpassed by PlayStation 2 which sold over 150 million units. As Sr. Account Manager, Tina's responsibilities included managing relationships between Sony and third-party publishers and developers, and overseeing product development from game design to final packaged goods. Tina provided overall support, reviewed thousands of game concepts, negotiated hardware exclusives, contributed to strategic planning, and managed co-marketing efforts.
Prior to SCEA, Tina worked in Marketing at Sony Imagesoft, Interplay Entertainment and Sammy Corporation, designing packaging and related promotional materials, managing product plans and trade show exhibits.Tina also acted as localization producer on several products for multiple platforms.
Cindy is a concept artist and illustrator with a traditional art background. Growing up with a love of narrative focused games she enjoys telling stories within her designs. She enjoys comics, dinosaurs, and scientific illustrations. She is also an avid collector of skulls, and her collection is growing at an alarming rate
After 5+ years as a freelance artist in a plethora of projects Cindy joined Giant Squid and is excited to work with a talented team in creating beautiful and rich worlds.
Elliott is a game designer, computer scientist, and mathematician. He loves making all kinds of computational art: Art that arises as the output of some computer process. He works on projects such as visualizations, fractal art, glitch art, and most importantly, games. As a game designer, Elliott loves making and playing games based around exploration and procedural generation.
Elliott can't wait to apply his programming expertise at Giant Squid and to grow as a designer by working alongside such a talented team.
Kiyome has spent many years exploring the vast field of technical art and fell in love with the diverse work that field encompasses. Along the way she found a passion for visual effects because they allow her to effectively communicate gameplay to the player while also helping to breath life into the world.
Outside of making games, she enjoys building large bases and sprawling underground networks in survival crafting games or exploring the unique worlds of indie titles. She is thorough in both playing and making games and is happy to bring that passion to Giant Squid.
Patrick Quah is a maker and game developer that loves creating objects and experiences that bring people together and encourage playfulness and immersion. He believes that interactive experiences have a unique and profound power to completely transport and engage their audiences like no other medium, and can often be found running live-action or tabletop roleplaying games for his friends.
He enjoys collecting maps, swords and stories--not necessarily in that order.
As producer at Giant Squid, Patrick strives to keep his finger on the pulse of all aspects of development and ensure that the studio's multidisciplinary talent works together to create the best product possible.
Josh comes from a diverse background in computer science, graphics, and music that he loves to use to approach problems in creative ways. He was originally drawn to technical art because of its focus on solving problems for others, and strives to create positive user-experiences through his work. Outside of games, Josh is always looking for new skills to learn and has both played and taught concert and marching percussion, as well as jazz piano, and also likes to cook in his spare time.
Josh's love for games comes from their ability to affect the player and allow them to be a part of the story. At Giant Squid, he is excited to work with a fantastic team to improve the pipeline while creating rigs and tools that are complex, yet easy to use, and making games that create meaningful experiences for the player.
Drew is a programmer and designer whose experience ranges from gameplay programming on PS4 shoot-em-up Jamestown+ to graphics programming and interaction design on experimental web art installations. He handles a variety of tasks at Giant Squid and specializes in prototyping interactions, fine-tuning gameplay, and building unusual dynamic systems.
He comes to Giant Squid from Princeton University, where he researched simulation-based methods for evaluating game playability, studied formations of meaning in player-agnostic video games, and re-imagined the capabilities of interactive digital systems. He is endlessly inspired by the variety of unique games that exist today and is proud to be contributing to that variety with such a talented team.
Bryce is an artist who has been doing art ever since he was able to hold a crayon. His love for video games and art fueled him to pursue his dream and move to the west coast and become a game developer. He is versatile when it comes to art styles and has a keen eye for detail, compositions, and color theory.
As an environment artist at Giant Squid, he hopes to help create worlds that are beautiful and well remembered.