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Heidi McDonald

is a game designer and writer at Schell Games in Pittsburgh, PA. Winner of the Women in Gaming Rising Star Award in 2013, McDonald is the co-chair of the Romance and Sexuality in Games Special Interest Group (SIG) for the International Game Developers' Association and has lectured internationally and been academically published with her independent research work on the topic of romance in single-player roleplaying video games. She likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, and is an unrepentant fangirl of BioWare's Dragon Age series.

Chris Avellone


Creative Director of Obsidian Entertainment, Chris started his career at Interplay's Black Isle Studios division. Titles include Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2, the Icewind Dale series, Dark Alliance, Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer, Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, FNV DLC: Dead Money, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road, and South Park. His more recent work includes inXile’s Wasteland 2, FTL: Advanced Edition, Pillars of Eternity, and is currently working on inXile’s Torment: Tides of Numenera.


A 14-year veteran of the gaming business, Jay Watamaniuk managed BioWare's community for nearly eight years before moving into writing for the Mass Effect franchise, including pre-production on Mass Effect: Andromeda. He currently works on BioWare's new and unannounced property, which will be fantastic and he's very sad he can't say anything about it at this time. Previous to BioWare, he lived and worked in Thailand and Japan, performed on local stages as an actor, and ran from wild dogs in Greece. His interests vary from playing video games (recent faves: Last of Us, Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed) to completing two years of NaNoWriMo (and looking forward to a third) to running ultra-marathons and crazy obstacle course events like the Spartan race.


Jay Watamaniuk


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