At age 3, Jean-Eric Khalife ’08 spent hours playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on his friend’s Nintendo. Even then, he was preparing for the professional life he now leads.
These days, Khalife is a technical artist for Riot Games, maker of one of the most popular video games in the world, League of Legends. He develops tools that help the company’s artists see their creations in the actual game.
“It’s amazing to be able to work in a field that you’re so passionate about,” he said.
A student of computer science and graphic design while at Chapman University, Khalife drew particular inspiration for his career from a game development class taught by Wood Harter, who has considerable industry experience.
With help from Harter, Khalife landed an internship at Obsidian Entertainment that after graduation turned into a full-time job. His five years with Obsidian helped establish the path for his career.
Even though game development is now a job for Khalife, he still makes sure to connect with the part of him that first picked up a Nintendo more than two decades ago.
“Creating an awesome backstory and making good visuals only help to reinforce that the game is entertaining,” Khalife said. “If you don’t have a game that’s fun to play, then you fail.”