Game Front 1-on-1: Natural Selection 2′s Hugh Jeremy
Game Front 1-on-1 is a continuing series featuring interviews with and personality profiles on a variety of people in the vast and diverse community of gaming, including creative fans, passionate players, amateur developers and everyone in between.
Note: This episode of Game Front 1-on-1 is the first of two parts about fans who have risen, and fallen, from their dream jobs in gaming. Read Part 2, about former BioWare Austin Web Content Writer James B. Jones, here.
Less than a year ago, Hugh Jeremy could be found in an office tower in Sydney, Australia, wearing a suit to work every day and crunching numbers.
But few might have suspected that he was living a double life.
By day, Jeremy was an accountant. He’d worked for Australian professional services firm KPMG in the sort of 9-to-5 one might expect. But at night, Jeremy was a dedicated member of another community: that of the multiplayer first-person shooter/real-time strategy hybrid Natural Selection 2, a stand-alone follow-up to the popular Half-Life mod Natural Selection.
“So Natural Selection 2 was put out as a beta about — well, it was a long time ago,” Jeremy said during an interview with Game Front. “The point was, it was out, but a lot of people weren’t seeing it. And I saw before that, there were a lot of people like Husky StarCraft doing awesome stuff (with YouTube videos). They were putting the StarCraft 2 beta out there and it was getting everywhere, and it was going really well for them. So I thought, ‘Why not put Natural Selection 2 up there.’ So I just put it up on YouTube — put Natural Selection 2 up on YouTube.”
It wasn’t just a few videos, though. Jeremy became a dedicated Natural Selection 2 caster, posting videos every night for about a year, he said. By the end, he said he’d posted more than 460 videos of the game on YouTube, and most of them are still out there.
As time wore on, Jeremy’s videos developed from just gameplay rundowns to broadcasts of competitive matches as the community surrounding Natural Selection 2 grew and became more robust. He’s not sure what exactly drew him to the game, but creating videos became an intense passion project.
“It was basically every night after work, that that’s what would happen. Yeah, I had no life.”
I first met Jeremy at E3 2012 at the booth of Natural Selection 2 developer Unknown Worlds. It was off the beaten path, in the more private cubicle area hidden somewhat between the two exhibition floors at the Los Angeles Convention Center. There, Jeremy walked me through how the game worked, and his passion and excitement were contagious. We didn’t even really get a chance to play Natural Selection 2 as it’s meant to be played — there were only the pair of us in the game, so it was more tech demo than full-on experience — but even talking about the game was fascinating.
As it turns out, Jeremy had been a full-time accountant until March 2012, when he was hired to do community management for Natural Selection 2. To hear him tell the story, Jeremy went from making YouTube videos for free to making them full-time as part of his public relations and community outreach duties with the company.
In reality, things were a little more protracted, but the transition was no less abrupt or unexpected for Jeremy.