Freelance Narrative Designer & SFF Writer
Morgan Lockhart got her start in the gaming industry in 2006 where she worked as Associate Designer and Editor on the MMO, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. In the years that followed she has worked as a writer and designer on a number of games, including serving as a Narrative Designer on Rift, Everquest 2, and Halo 4 & 5.
Morgan is also a published author, having written a number of Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories for anthologies such as Gaia: Shadow and Breath & Halo: Fractures. She is currently shopping her first novel around and (hopefully) a TV pilot. She lives in Seattle with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. They are also expecting their second child this summer.
What is the first video game that you remember playing?
“My mother is a computer programmer, so as soon as I could reach the keys, I started playing PC games. Probably the earliest of those that I remember clearly was Mixed Up Mother Goose, a Sierra adventure game set in the world of Mother Goose characters. Adventure games were cemented as a favorite genre by that informative experience. We had tons of Sierra and Learning Company (Reader Rabbit) games in my earliest years, and then added consoles.”
What are your favorite games of all time?
“Dragonrealms, a text-based MUD originally released on AOL that later migrated to the web. It was my first foray into online gaming. My mom and I rang up a surprising 1000+ dollar plus phone bill dialing in to play it while in France on a business (her business, I just went along) trip. I still long for any graphic-based MMO to reach the depth and complexity that game was able to achieve, as well as the dynamics of storytelling in their world-events.
The Mass Effect series, probably not a very original answer for a games writer, but my favorite storytelling is character driven, and Bioware is first class in that respect. While I love many of their games, the particular personalities of the ensemble in ME, and the major choices and repercussions, are my favorite of their games.
Recently, What Remains of Edith Finch. The entire time I played, I marveled at how committed they were to building out unique mechanics and art to reflect the story of each member of the family. And particularly as a parent, it broke my heart into a thousand pieces.”
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
“It’s important for my general well-being to stay active, so my non-storytelling related hobbies (gaming, reading, tv/movies, musical theater) mainly relate to movement. Dancing, acrobatics, and yoga primarily, which not only keep me moving but also meditative. Dance is also an outlet for occasional performance, something that was also a big part of my life until I started my career. As a family, we do a fair amount (never enough) hiking.
I’ve reached a point in my life where mentorship is important to me, so I volunteer both as a leader for early parenthood support groups and also mentor budding game writers.”
Do you and your children play video games together?
“Not quite old enough yet, but I’m hoping so. As you can glean from prior answers, gaming was something I shared with my mom—online games were a way we spent time together after I went to college—and I’m hoping I do the same with my children. We’ve got our toddler started on some simple board games and have No Thank You Evil ready for some table-top adventures soon. She’s just getting started on some really simple iPad learning games, and I enjoy doing that with her.”
How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?
“I tend to focus on games that are designed as a shorter experience these days, which is entirely in sync with narrative being my focus, as there are many games in the less than 10 hours-of-play camp that are also pushing narrative forward in interesting ways. Arena style games like Overwatch are also my jam, because I can get a few games in during my limited gaming hours and feel like I achieved something. I think if I weren’t a game dev, it might be harder to justify the time I spend in gaming, but as I am, I justify some of the other things that go on undone to make the time.”
What is your proudest moment as a parent?
“Since my daughter’s still young, there’s probably not been one big defining moment yet, but I feel like we’re generally raising an intellectually curious, adaptable, and empathetic person, and am so glad. I have been particularly relieved, proud, and happy that she’s navigated a lot of recent transitions with relatively few speedbumps – out of the crib, potty training, etc – and I don’t know if we can take any credit for it or presume that it’ll stick around, but being open to change is such an important modern life skill. I hope it does stick. I also very much hope it applies to the next big transition, the arrival of her little sibling, but know enough not to count on it.”
You can find links to all of Morgan’s short stories as well as the games she’s worked on HERE.