Who Is Kellee Santiago?

Kellee Santiago Headshot MediumAs President and Co-Founder of thatgamecompany from 2006-2012, Kellee Santiago developed one of the most prominent brands in independent and innovative game development, pushing the communicative possibilities of video games as a medium. She recently took a position as Head of Developer Relations for OUYA, and is a partner in Indie Fund, which aims to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get, and stay, financially independent.

Kellee graduated from the MFA Interactive Media program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts where she teamed up with fellow student Jenova Chen on the student-created game, “Cloud.” The game went on to become critically acclaimed, and landed the two a three game deal with Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. to develop downloadable games for the PlayStation Network. The three titles, “flOw”, “Flower,” and most recently, “Journey,” were each record-breaking commercial successes and award-winning titles (AIAS Game of the Year, BAFTA awards, GDC Game of the Year).

Kellee speaks around the world at video game, business, and entertainment conferences on innovation in games, games as art, entrepreneurship, and better methods for video game development. In 2010 she became a TED Fellow, and was recognized as one of The Ten Most Influential Women in Games of the Decade. Kellee was also recently nominated for the Microsoft Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award.

Abridged CV

2013: Developer’s Best Friend: OUYA

2011: Chair of Awards Jury: IndieCade

Organized the Finalist Jury for the 2011 IndieCade festival. http://indiecade.com/

2010 – Present: Partner: Indie Fund

Indie Fund aims to support the growth of games as a medium by helping indie developers get financially independent and stay financially independent. http://indie-fund.com

2006 – 2012: President and Co-Founder: thatgamecompany

Established and built a game development company with partner Jenova Chen. http://www.thatgamecompany.com

2005: Producer: Cloud

Collaborated on design, organized the team, maintained the budget and schedule. The project was presented at the Slamdance Festival and Independent Games Festival 2006, and has had over 600k downloads as of June. http://www.thatcloudgame.com

2003-2006: Director of Motion Capture: House of Moves

Maintained quality of motion capture data during shoot. Organized and communicated between editors, clients, and talent on the set. Worked on video games(LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth, Guitar Hero), commercials(Target), tv(Disney), and film(Spiderman 2 and 3, Poseidon). http://www.moves.com

Fall 2005: Production Intern: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Reviewed game documents, critiqued, and tested Production Quality Assurance; ensured brand quality for Friends: The One With All the Trivia, and Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire. Organized and maintained asset spreadsheets for various projects.

2004-2005: Game Designer: E.L.E.C.T

Designed game mechanics to teach US Army Officers cultural sensitivity and negotiation, in collaboration with ICT. Designed the algorithms and assigned variables to create NPCs, as well as developed real-world scenarios and narrative with Subject Matter Experts. USC Project Page

2004: projectCAR

projectCAR explored the media possibilities of LA’s most ubiquitous mobile tool – the car. It was an experiment in communicating through commuting, using a 1983 Volvo station wagon and a “Commuter Art Rig.” The Rig, depending on the scenario, can consist of an LED screen, FM transmitter, stickers, signs, mobile phone, laptop, and a GPS tracker. USC Project Page

2004: Asst. Producer & Stage Manager: Im Gonna Kill the President! A Federal Offense

PS122, NYC. Organized the execution of this political and somewhat guerilla play during the NYC 2004 Republican National Convention. Maintained the quality of PR, arranged interviews, and was responsible for the execution of the show each night. Village Voice write-up

2003: Site Manager: The Angel Project

Lincoln Center, NYC. Maintained the quality of the production at a building in Times Square that acted as part of an enormous living installation that spread across NYC; organized the communication between different sites during rehearsal.