Interview with Marla Goecker From United States

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Marla Goecker

Marla Goecker continues to juggle life as an accountant and game developer at night and credits her children to pushing her into the gaming industry.

Interview With The 2022 NYX Game Awards Winner –
Marla Goecker

1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself and your background.

Accountant/Controller during the day. Game Developer at night. My first Bachelor's Degree was in Finance from Creighton University. In 2017, I decided to get my degree in Game Design. I know, a 100 degree turn. Upon completion of my Game Design Bachelor's Degree, I decided to obtain my Entertainment Business Master's Degree. This brought the accounting/business background full circle with the game development degree. In May 2019, IceVayne Games was formed.

2What led you to become a Game Developer / Marketer?

I was bored with accounting, wanted something completely polar opposite. I love playing video games with my kids and decided I'd give it a shot. Little did I know, that it is something that I enjoy immensely. Immersive games can be a great source of therapy and stress relief. My kids to this day still help QA IVG's games.

3What is your role in the company, and what traits should a game developer / marketing professional possess to be successful in their role?

I am the CEO/Founder. The biggest trait is to not just stay in your lane so to say. Understand the full cycle of the games development. Too many developers get stuck with just level design or coding and won't step outside that box. Understand all aspects makes you more versatile and a better fit. Especially for small Indie Studios like IceVayne Games.

4Tell us more about your studio / company.

IceVayne Games was founded in May 2019. We focus on psychological horror. Yes we do put in some stereotypical jump scares but our focus is more on the mind bending aspect of the game. We want our players to be challenged and left questioning what they just witnessed or played. We tend to stylize our games towards the Resident Evil / Silent Hill games with that type of psychological horror.

5What is your own definition of a great game?

A great game is one that you can't put down, the visuals are spot on, the gameplay flows correctly and it completely immerses you into it.

6Describe the genres of the game(s) your studio / company specializes in, as well as its main characteristics.

Psychological horror.

7Tell us more about your ideation process.

We take our ideas from multiple sources. Steam Next Fest is always a great way to sample psychological horror games that are in development. We play as many as we can. We also watch a ton of movies. Our games become a hybrid of games we've played and the movies we have watched. We start writing down ideas on a shared board and from there the game is flushed out and a quick prototype is developed in UE5.

8Congratulations! As the winner of the NYX Game Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

It is a surreal honor. This is realization that what we are doing is right and that players like what we are developing.

9How has winning an international award help promote your company and game?

We have had several studios reach out and congratulate us. It has helped to bring IceVayne Games into the game industry as a recognized studio.

10What are the challenges of developing / marketing your winning entry(ies)?

Developing is easy. Marketing is hard. We have a hard time reaching a broader audience with our marketing.

11How has the country, you are based in, helped during your ideation process?

We are located in the United States. We utilize the layout of abandoned buildings / malls / countryside to create the aesthetics of our game.

12What are the current trends in the game industry that you are most excited about?

The fact that Indie Studios are becoming more of a force to reckon with is exciting. It used to be Triple A or nothing. That landscape is changing and it's great as a small indie studio to see this happening.

13What are the top THREE (3) favorite things about the gaming industry?

The players

Fellow studios - it's really a small world

The variety of games that are always being released. There is literally something for everyone

14What resources would you recommend to someone who is searching to improve their game designs and development ideas / skills?

Watch a lot of YouTube tutorials and get in engine. We prefer UE5, but knowing any engine and how to navigate the engine is key. Also, network. One thing I've found out is that people in the industry love to help each other. Don't be afraid to ask, you never know you may find a mentor.

15Where do you see the evolution of the gaming industry in the next 5-10 years?

The industry is going to continue to grow at a steady pace. I do see the quality of the games being released increasing dramatically as well.

16Who inspired you in your life, and why?

My kids. They are my rock and support. They supported me when I decided to try my had in the game industry. To this day they are still glad that they pushed and supported me in my journey.

17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Keep at it. It's not going to happen overnight and it may never happen, but if you are doing what you love, you have succeeded!

Winning Entries

Dinner with Strangers | 2022


Dinner With Strangers is a fixed camera style "escape room" game where you have to find a way out of the House of Modesty. You wake…
(Read more at NYX Game Awards)

Marla Goecker

Marla Goecker continues to juggle life as an accountant and game developer at night and credits her children in pushing her into the gaming industry.

Read more about this interview with Oleg Goncharenko from Ukraine, the Gold Winner of the 2022 NYX Game Awards.