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Vela Games

Meet Our Team

At Vela, we know building a great game that players love starts with building a great team. Teams are at the heart of everything we do, and we work hard to create an environment that brings out the best in all of us. Just like the games we are creating, we believe that we can all win more together when we share the same values.

Andrew Hynes

Andrew Hynes

Engineering | Gameplay

After earning a master’s degree in game design and development at Dublin Institute of Technology, Andrew was scouted for his first industry job while participating in Global Game Jam. He joined Black Shamrock as a programmer, eventually making his way up to Lead Programmer before joining Vela Games.

At Vela, Andrew loves having a direct hand in defining how the game feels, and is always ready to playtest and iterate on his work. He was attracted to Vela’s goal of uniting people through play, and enjoys the culture of learning at the studio.

Favourite Game: Final Fantasy IX

Andrew Mattingly

Andrew Mattingly

Engineering | Gameplay

After initially pursuing an education in 3D modelling and animation, Andrew switched to engineering and attended Digipen Institute of Technology in Vancouver. His dream job in game development started in Seattle, with Monolith Productions. From there, his expansive career as a Lead Programmer has generated several Game of the Year titles and other award winning products for companies such as Microsoft, Rocksteady, IO Interactive, and more.

Andrew is a highly versatile engineer who loves creating deeply interactive experiences, particularly ensuring that player mechanics are sharp and responsive.

Favourite Game: Full Throttle

Astri Lohne Sjursen

Astri Lohne Sjursen

Art | Concept & Illustration

Astri decided on her career at a young age, when she discovered how to marry her love of art and design with her passion for games. She began by creating concept work for indie game studios, but the large following she built by posting her art online provided her with amazing new opportunities.

Soon she was offering personal commissions, creating video tutorials, mentoring artists, and taking freelance work for companies like Blizzard, SyFy, and Disney. Astri enjoys the freedom she’s afforded at Vela, and the challenge and excitement of discovering the visual style of a new game.

Favourite Game: The Longest Journey Saga

Brian Kaiser

Brian Kaiser

Co-Founder | Creative Design

Brian has been making up stories since he could first hold a pen. He worked in theater, independent film, and local television before earning his degree in game development. In the 17 years since, he has contributed to more than 25 published titles for Sony, Activision, and Electronic Arts. He also wrote a monologue for Sir Patrick Stewart that contained the phrase “dire chinchillas.”

Brian feels most inspired when collaborating with a team that has full creative ownership and accountability, and he can’t wait to introduce players to the amazing new world the team is creating.

Favourite Game: River City Ransom

Bruce Glidewell

Bruce Glidewell

Art Lead | Concept & Illustration

Bruce was fascinated by games and comic books from an early age and spent many childhood hours mimicking the art in his extensive collection of Batman comics. He decided to pursue a career in art, studying both traditional animation and illustration.

His first job in the games industry came in his native California, where he spent 11 years at S2 Games as Lead Concept Artist. This was followed by two years at Telltale Games designing character concepts. Bruce loves working collaboratively with his teammates at Vela, defining the look and feel of an entirely original IP.

Favourite Game: Heroes of Newerth

David O’Carroll

David O’Carroll

Engineering | Gameplay

David studied game development in University of Limerick, having known from an early age he wanted to make games for a living. A love of maths and physics led him naturally into a career in engineering. His first industry job was on a childhood favourite series (Micro Machines) at Codemasters. He spent 6 years in the UK, most recently working at Splash Damage on Gears 5, but returned home to Ireland to join the small but focused team at Vela.

David relishes a technical challenge, and finds it satisfying to go from knowing nothing about a system to having expert-level technical discussions.

Favourite Game: Super Smash Bros

Elodie Thomas

Elodie Thomas

Art | Rigging & Animation

Elodie has always had a passion for drawing, creating stories, and playing games, but her path to the industry wasn’t a straight line. She studied science in college, eventually earning a master’s degree in behavioral ecology, which lead to studying animal behaviour in Japan. Drawn back to art and games, she switched studies to pursue her dream: a career in animation. For Elodie, animating is like acting: she gets inside the character’s mind and conveys those emotions to players through performance.
After working at top entertainment studios such as Brown Bag Films and Ubisoft, Elodie joins Vela Games to bring an entirely new gameplay experience to players around the world.

Favourite Game: Skies of Arcadia

Giovanni Intini

Giovanni Intini

Engineering | Product

Giovanni was led down the path of engineering by his desire to automate everything. He started building games for fun by copying source code from magazines. After some years spent on industrial automation, he founded Mikamai, an agency specialising in high tech web applications, and a board game company called Yemaia.

For his next challenge, Gio joined Riot Games as Head of Product Management, where he honed his problem solving skills. Working at Vela Games marks a return to Giovanni’s programming roots, and while he’s not quite done with product management, he’s happy to be more hands on with the game.

Favourite Game: DC Comics Deck-Building Game

Ivan Garde

Ivan Garde

Design | Systems

There are many paths to game design, and Ivan’s path led through art, animation, and programming. From the art outsourcing company he co-founded in his native Brazil, Ivan’s career path also made stops in Sweden, Germany, and Denmark before arriving in Ireland.

An experienced and well-traveled designer, Ivan loves the way that art and engineering come together in game development. He is inspired by the near limitless possibilities that design offers to deliver something special to players. Ivan’s passion for multiplayer games led him to join Vela to help the team achieve its unique vision.

Favourite Game: X-COM: Terror from the Deep

Ivo Teel

Ivo Teel

Engineering Lead | Infrastructure

After discovering the online community surrounding his first game obsession, The Secret of Monkey Island, Ivo learned everything he could about the internet, IRC, and web technologies, ultimately leading to a degree in computer science. Ivo’s career started as employee number four at Spil Games, and thirteen years later when the company was over 600 people, he was their CTO.

In 2016, he joined Riot Games and led their international tech teams for almost four years. Now, Ivo has brought his leadership expertise to Vela Games, while also being excited to dive back into the code and be in the thick of development.

Favourite Game: Ultima VII (Serpent Isle)

Lisa Newon George

Lisa Newon George

Co-Founder | Player Insights

Lisa is a lifelong gamer who has spent more than 15 years studying games, and the communities and cultures that shape these modes of play. After earning a PhD in Anthropology from UCLA, she moved from Los Angeles to Dublin to join the Insights team at Riot Games, where she partnered with teams across the company to help them better understand and ultimately unlock better experiences for players in Europe.

Lisa is excited to help co-create not only a new game, but a new, vibrant community of passionate gamers through interaction and epic shared experiences.

Favourite Game: League of Legends

Mark Franz

Mark Franz

Production | Great Teams

Mark discovered he was a natural planner and organiser during his career in the games industry. Starting out in QA on the Ultima series at Origin Systems, he moved up to Design Manager on Ultima Online, and then onto roles in project and development management at EA and Perpetual Entertainment.

He joined Riot Games where he worked for 11 years, launching League of Legends as the game’s Development Director and later becoming Head of Dev Management. Mark loves working with teams to brainstorm innovative ideas, and then figuring out how to bring those ideas to life.

Favourite Game: Diablo III

Sasha Ristic

Sasha Ristic

Art | 3D Sculpting

Sasha started working with 2D art, mostly creating illustrations and concepts, before transitioning to 3D when he discovered ZBrush. In his home of Belgrade, Serbia, he gained many years of experience at Doktor Fried Studios, and then Mad Head Games and Auslander Studios. Like many of the team at Vela, Sasha is a lifelong fan of video games, but his intense passion stands out.

To Sasha, working on games isn’t a job—he’s living his childhood dream. Sasha was attracted to Vela by the chance to create something from a blank canvas, and felt it was an adventure he couldn’t miss.

Favourite Game: Assassin’s Creed

Travis George

Travis George

Co-Founder | CEO

Travis has loved games for as long as he can remember. He started making games in 2002, working as a designer on AAA action games at Activision, before switching focus to development on PC MMORPGs. In early 2008, Travis joined Riot Games. He led Gameplay Production on League of Legends prior to launch in late 2009, then was Product Lead for three years during the game’s biggest growth phase. 

After over a decade and a half in the industry, a move from California to Ireland, and more recently an MBA, Travis co-founded Vela to help lead the creation of a new genre-defining game experience.

Favourite Game: World of Warcraft

Obi

Obi

Bluetick/Beagle | Morale Officer

As a young pup, Obi knew his destiny was to inspire humans to live their best lives. While other puppies bounded about, Obi moved very slowly and took time to smell absolutely everything that crossed his path. At the tender age of 7 (in dog years) Obi lodged a small foxtail plant up his nose and had to be sedated to have it removed. This hardship inspired him to teach others to overcome adversity.

At Vela Games, Obi currently inspires the team by napping from the minute he walks in the door until the minute he leaves. Also, because he’s a dog, every day is the best day of his life. Way to lead by example, Obi. Good boy.

Favourite Game: Fetch (traditional)

Looking to join our team?

We are a small team with big ambitions looking for talented creators to join us in Dublin, which is a great place to live and work.