|Occupation|| Game Designer|
Jordan Weisman, one of the key developers of BattleTech, is an American computer game designer who has founded three major game design companies, each in a different game genre and segment of the industry.
Weisman graduated from Francis W. Parker High School, in Chicago, Illinois. According to himself in an online interview, he had troubles in school being dyslexic ("illiterate" in his own words) despite special tutoring; cheating his way through school was easier for him than learning to read. Dungeons and Dragons "completely changed [his] life" when he was 16, as it was an incentive for him actually learn reading well.
Since he liked sailing (growing up near Lake Michigan) and his grades were not particularly good, he felt he did not have many college options and enrolled in the Merchant Marine Academy. There, he was given a half-hour tour of a computer graphic supported bridge simulator for training maritime pilots in ca. 1978 or 1979. Weisman decided at that point that he wanted to build something similar for gaming purposes. He left school to persue his business interests, but failed to procure any funding for the multiplayer simulator project.
In 1980 he founded role playing game publisher FASA (short for the Freedonian Aeronautics & Space Administration, named after Groucho Marx's mythical country in Duck Soup) with partner L. Ross Babcock. After starting out producing supplements for the RPG Traveller, including starship deck plans he had drafted personally, and later a popular Star Trek RPG, FASA produced the highly successful BattleTech series of games.
Eventually, they used money from FASA to start Virtual Worlds, Inc, a company that produced the BattleTech Centers. There, players sat in cockpits using multiple monitors and elaborate controls for networked battles with giant mecha.
In 1995, Weisman founded FASA Interactive to personally take over the development and production of the hit MechWarrior PC games. The franchise is one of the top-selling PC games of all time, with sales of over 9 million units worldwide. In 1999, Microsoft acquired FASA Interactive and moved the 40-person development team to Redmond, Washington. As part of the deal, Weisman became Creative Director for Microsoft's entertainment division.
In 2000, he founded WizKids, which produces the games Mage Knight, Heroclix, MechWarrior: Dark Age, and Pirates of the Spanish Main. The company focuses on miniatures games that are easy to learn for younger players.
In 2003 he founded 4orty 2wo Entertainment, a design company in the new field of the Alternate Reality Game. 4orty 2wo created the two best known AR games to date, The Beast, to promote the Steven Spielberg film A.I., and I Love Bees to promote the Xbox game Halo 2.
Jordan was an Adjunct Professor in the Interactive Media Division at the USC School of Cinema-Television.
Jordan's latest gaming project is the video game company Harebrained Schemes who is in the process developing modern takes on two games he helped create at FASA—Shadowrun and now BattleTech with funding secured via a Kickstarter campaign running from September 28 to November 4 2015.
Weisman's design credits in paper RPG game design include:
- AeroTech 2 Revised Edition (BattleTech) (2004)
- MechWarrior: Dark Age (2002)
- Earthdawn (1993)
- Shadowrun (1989)
- MechWarrior, The Battletech Role Playing Game (1986)
- Star Trek III: Starship Combat Game Box Set (1984)
He also served as production manager and/or graphic designer on a long series of titles.
- described as "thirty-year old" in Discovery Channel Beyond 2000 Battletech Center episode from 1992 and as 53 years old in a November 2013 article by German magazine Der Spiegel (online edition) at this link
- MattChat #314 interview