The universal systems of Tom Francis



May 4, 2013

The last time I remember spending any proper time with Tom Francis was in early 2010. We were both in San Francisco to cover the announcement of BioShock 2 - he was there for PC Gamer and I was covering it for Eurogamer - and he is one of two people who I remember vividly from that trip.

The other was the then 2K Marin creative director Jordan Thomas, who I can still picture in a corner of a dark room, addressing me from a leather armchair of inscrutable power, speaking eloquently and patiently about the intellectual rigour of the game he was making - a sequel to a Ken Levine special.

You have to be a certain calibre of developer to get away with following Levine - let alone improving on his work, as many felt BioShock 2 did - and I remember I found Thomas slightly intimidating. Francis wasn't fazed, though. Indeed, the reason I remember him on that trip in particular is the sight of him, stone cold sober in a whiskey bar, chewing Thomas's ear off about how to make games.

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