Charlie Carucci, Video Game Designer, Champlain Alum, Lifelong Spider-Man Fan
CHARLIE CARRUCCI, ’18 // Charlie is an Associate Designer at Insomniac Games in Burbank, CA who worked on Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4. Charlie majored in Game Design and graduated from Champlain in May 2018.
“I think for me, the most rewarding part about working on Marvel’s Spider-Man is getting to contribute to the world of such an iconic and inspiring character. Truthfully, I would have been honored to work on any AAA game, but being a part of Spider-Man‘s development was special.”
“Spider-Man is a character that I’ve loved since I was a child. I remember seeing the original Spider-Man movies with Toby MacGuire in theaters with my dad and loving every second of them. I believe everyone can relate to Spider-Man; whether he’s figuring out how to balance his personal life with “work,” struggling with social and romantic relationships, worrying about making his loved ones proud, or even just trying to pay his rent, people will always be able to see a little bit of themselves in this hero. Getting to add to the fiction of this beloved character and sharing my work with the world is a dream come true.” Charlie worked on Marvel’s Spider-Man not just as a Associate Designer, but also during his internship with Insomniac Games during the summer of 2017.
We had a few questions for Charlie:
Can you tell us any specific things you created/worked on in the Spider-Man game?
As an intern, I worked on all of the Inner Demon enemy bases. I was responsible for building all of the level geometry, figuring out where all the necessary combat assets should be placed in the level, and scripting all of the gameplay sequences. Long story short, I set up these warehouses around the city that the player has to infiltrate to take down waves of super-powered enemies. In addition to the bases, I also helped create a few of the crimes the player will discover as they swing around the city. These crimes help bring the city to life and put the player in a position that makes them really feel like a ‘Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.’
How does being an Associate Designer differ from your intern experience at Insomniac?
When I started as an Associate Designer in June, it didn’t feel much different from being an intern. In fact, it almost felt like I never left. However, as the weeks went by and I became more familiar with the development tools, I was given more responsibility and slowly I began to feel less like an intern and more like a real designer at the studio. Now, I’m in charge of a large portion of the open world content for our “City That Never Sleeps” DLC and having all of that responsibility not only leaves any feelings of still being an intern behind, but it also makes me feel like I’m making a real impact on the game that I can call my own. I’m excited that I’m already taking some big steps forward and can’t wait to see how players react to the content I’m currently creating.
Having worked on Spider-Man for PS4 as a developer, can you just enjoy the game as a player, or do you still view it through a designer/developer lens?
I love this game 100%! I think the whole studio did an amazing job producing an engaging and unique experience with an incredibly powerful story. I play the game almost every day when I get home because I can’t get enough of it. Of course, I look at parts of the game and recognize where changes could have been made, but all in all, I’m a huge fan of Spider-Man PS4.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I think my favorite thing about my job is just knowing that I’m living a life-long dream. Every once in awhile, I think about how 13 year old Charlie would be so unbelievably proud and excited if he knew this is where my career would lead me, especially at such a young age. Ever since I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to make games. The idea of building new worlds, stories, and experiences for people around the world to enjoy was too good to pass up. Now, just four months after graduating from Champlain, people across the globe are playing Spider-Man PS4; which means those people are playing through my bases and my crimes. Seeing how well-received the game has been these past few weeks has put an enormous smile on my face. I hope it only gets better from here.