Lawrence Schwedler spent over 13 years at Nintendo Software Technology as an audio director, composing music for games like Metroid Prime Hunters on the DS, Wave Race: Blue Storm on the GameCube, Pokémon Puzzle League on N64 and even the Chibi Robo series.
While it was apparently “great and happy” most of the time, in a recent interview with the Kiwi Talkz podcast, he acknowledged how his job at Nintendo was also one of the most stressful times of his life – due to pressures, expectations and other factors in play like imposter syndrome.
On the other hand, Schwedler also had moments where he wasn’t really feeling it, and felt as if his younger self wouldn’t have been happy about his state of mind when at the time, he had the “coolest job in the world”. Here’s exactly what he had to say:
“the way I’ve talked about my career at Nintendo it sounds like it was great and happy, it was one of the most stressful times in my life, and it wasn’t all fun, and there was times when I just felt like “what am I doing here”…I’m sure you’ve heard of imposter syndrome, where you feel like, where you’re like “oh my gosh, what am I doing here, I can’t do this, they think I’m something I’m not”…almost all artists have to deal it…on the other end there was like “I don’t like this anymore, I’m just not being challenged, we’re just doing another sequel…” and you slap yourself because you realise if your former self from 20 years ago heard you now, would just say look I’m gonna take you out in the backyard and I’m gonna shoot you, cause you have the coolest job in the world, but it isn’t always the coolest job in the world…I think it’s a more organic process that we have to keep fighting for what we love and do have to keep reinventing yourself and learning new things.”
In a separate interview with Shinesparkers late last year, Lawrence shed some light on at least part of what made his job and time at NST so stressful, and it seems to be because he was working on such a “high-profile” IP with an established fanbase.
“It was stressful to work on such high-profile games with such a huge fan base, knowing that everything we did would be compared to legendary Nintendo games we all loved. Every game developer loses sleep before their game is released, worrying about all the things they didn’t have time to do, sweating over how their work will be received. But it’s also a lot of fun. I got to work with an amazing team of programmers, designers, and artists, many of whom I still know and work with.”
As he mentions though, it’s still “a lot of fun” but it’s understandable why he felt the way he did when he was working with such iconic video game series. Nowadays Schwedler is a program director for the music and sound design program at Digipen in Redmond, Washington.