Federico Prado, Senior Programmer

Federico joined the industry as a Junior Programmer, at the ripe old age of 30. He’s still grateful to his first CEO for giving him that chance. That was 11 years ago, and he’s been at MPG since May 2019.

Federico hails from Argentina and lives in Madrid with his family. He’s passionate about all games from sports to card games, and reckons he’s played every game he’s ever got his hands on!

What attracted you to working in games?

I wanted to work in video games all my life, I’ve been playing games since I got my first computer in the 80s. It was an Argentinian version of the ZX Spectrum, the CZ Spectrum. Along with that computer, and 2 cassettes with small games, my father gifted us (me and my brother) with a book that could paint stuff on the screen if you just copied all the text lines that were in the book. That was my first programming experience.

Since I got into that world, I’ve been playing all my life. Sports, board games, video games, card games. I have probably played every game that I got my hands in.
I’ve been a Magic The Gathering certified judge for many years.

Modifying existing games and creating new ones was always a hobby for me. So, transforming the hobby into my dream job was just a matter of studying the related topics and going for it.

How did you get into the industry?

After studying Computer Engineering in my home city (Tucumán – Argentina), I moved to Spain and started working in banks to earn money to pay for my Masters in Video Games Creation, which I did at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.

After that, a long search, and many different interviews, the first studio that believed in me and gave me an opportunity was Bitoon Games in Madrid. They were creating a now shut down massive multiplayer online PC Game called Basketdudes. So I had to move from Barcelona to Madrid to get into the industry for the first time.

How is it different now from when you joined?

I joined the industry 12 years ago just after the big economic crisis of 2008. Back in the day getting into the industry was very hard because there were so many people looking for the same position here in Spain, like in most parts of the world.

I had left my career in banking to follow my dream in the worst moment of world economics. And having to restart your career in a new industry as a 30 years old Junior Programmer wasn’t an easy task.

In these 12 years I have seen the industry grow bigger and more diverse. And a lot of small and indie companies were starting to appear. And that means more opportunity to the young and entrance level candidates. Also, 12 years ago there was the first spark of the ESports movement. And now they are a big part of the industry. That means much more work for everyone.

What's your proudest achievement?

Professionally, I think that given my background, getting to work in the industry was a big achievement for my career, and becoming part of some of the best programming teams in the world is also a big one. I mean, I never even dreamt of getting to work on a AAA game. Just doing games, any game, was my objective.

What led you to join MPG?

I was working outside the industry for a few months in an AI related job while looking for a remote position when I received the MPG call. At first I didn’t quite get the potential of working here but when we started talking about projects and some of the games that I could help build, it sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. It was remote, they were AAA games, it sounded perfect, just what I was looking for.

What game do you wish you'd worked on and why?

I never worked on a RPG, and it’s the genre I play the most. So, probably Neverwinter Nights would be my answer here. I did so many mods in their Aurora editor, and learnt a lot of scripting for it, I can say that it almost felt like “working” on it.

Do you have any heroes in the industry, or someone who’s influenced your career to date?

I don’t have heroes really, seeing the big ones was always a motivation to someday become like them (John Romero, Shigeru Miyamoto, Scott Greig). But my real inspiration was inside my family, my siblings always pushed me to my limits. Without their help and support I would have never reached where I am today.

And I also have to name Fernando Piquer, he was the CEO at Bitoon Games and the person that really believed in me when I was a 30 years old Junior Programmer. His was a big gamble and I will always be grateful to him for that opportunity.

What changes would you like to see in the industry?

The industry is already changing. Changes are good. I would love to see more women taking Lead Design positions. We need more of that point of view. More diverse people making decisions on design and narrative will lead to more diverse games, and that benefits all of us, gamers and developers. The next big game could be really different to everything we have available now, and that is great news.

What are you looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to seeing all people vaccinated and for everyone to start having a normal life. I want to see more Grandparents in the park with their grandsons and granddaughters. I want to go to EuroDisney with my daughter and do all the trips and plans I had to suspend due to the Corona virus outbreak. I just want for all of us to get back to our normal life.

How has the pandemic changed the way you work?

The pandemic only exacerbated the way I was already working. My particular personal life needs me to stay at home, work remotely and connect with the people using technology.

The pandemic gave more visibility to it, led people to improve and develop better ways to communicate and made it easier for me to explain to everyone around me how I worked and what technology I used to do that work.

Words like Zoom, Slack or Meet are now in everyone’s vocabulary, no matter what industry you work in.

San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina
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