The day that Richard Lemarchand chose to swap his illustrious career in game development for one as a professor of interactive media and game design was a dark one for us journalists. Enthusiastic, witty, intelligent and as honest as one could reasonably expect from a senior employee of Naughty Dog, Lemarchand was never less than a pleasure to interview. The students of the University of Southern California are lucky to have him for a teacher.
But while we may not see many more commercially released games from Lemarchand, we can all take comfort from the abandon with which he has thrown himself into the games industry's crowded events schedule. His most recent talk, at Barcelona's Gamelab conference, was a fine example of why: a wide-ranging appraisal of where games are going, both technically and artistically, that managed to balance hard facts, cutting edge theory and actual entertainment value - not always in abundance at the average industry conference.
"Everyday, it seems like science fiction becomes science fact all the time," Lemarchand said as he opened his talk. "In the world of video games this same magic is happening every year, as the things that we game developers, commentators and fans could only dream of 20 years ago come to life on our screens, through our speakers, and in our hands."
What does that look like? Watch the video and see for yourself...