Carl Schnurr – Senior V.P. of Game Design @ Activision
“Mike Stout is a superlative designer. Not only does he have an amazing design sense that he uses to quickly identify and prioritize design issues, but he has the rare ability to break down a design problem, identify a solution, and communicate it clearly, whether verbally, on paper, or by rolling up his sleeves and just plain showing. Plus, he gets along with pretty much everyone—I haven’t met a designer or producer worth working with that he hasn’t been able to win over with his deft perception, humor, and ability to deliver whatever you need to deliver. Whether mentoring a younger designer through the intricacies of an encounter setup, working alongside a senior designer on complex ability balancing problem, presenting a new feature to a room of skeptical producers, or delivering a spec for a new series of puzzles, Mike fights the good fight for quality. Period.
“Simply put, Mike Stout is the best designer I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I was proud to work with him while he was at Activision, and would whole-heartedly recommend him.”
Meghan Heritage – Writer @ Playdom
“Working with Mike Stout at Bionic Games was one of the best experiences of my career. Not only is Mike one of the easiest and most personable people with whom I have ever worked, his feedback on projects was helpful beyond belief – constructive in the truest sense of the word. When I was uncertain about tone, characters, etc… Mike was great at communicating exactly what he needed in a script. Despite working unimaginable hours, he found time to listen to suggestions and encourage the entire team. It was truly a pleasure working with him, and I look forward to our next project together.”
Lloyd Murphy – C.C.O. @ Digital Angel Corp
“Mike is quite probably the most dedicated and passionate games professional I’ve ever met. He has a great knowledge of games and their mechanics along with a knowledge of other entertainment media which he combines to great effect. He has an inherent sense of how to make something fun and could probably even make a game about spreadsheets into something special if you gave him a couple of days.
“During our time working together I’ve seen him getting his hands dirty in every department which forged and then reforged an ever stronger game. How did he have time to do all of it? How did he have time to write documents? And documents about documents? And lists of documents?
“A super-solid, talented and funny as f**k guy who went way beyond his calling to get things done and make things work. He did more than I’ve ever seen anybody ever do for a project and I’m sure more than I’ll never see anybody ever do again.
“I found Mike to be a perfect guy to work with and loved bouncing ideas around with him. Loved attending the magic wall of index cards with him. Loved laughing with him. Loved crying with him. I loved watching the sun set with him as we supped our mint juleps and let the warm North Hollywood breeze tickle our tiny toes.”
Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda – Game Designer @ Bungee
“Mike is an inspiration as a designer. Creative, intelligent, and passionate about making games, since the first time I helped interview Mike I just wanted to stick around to hear him talk! Rarely do you run into someone as friendly, hilarious, and clever, who can take any given gameplay situation and know exactly the questions to ask, and turn a simple level into a fun and engaging experience.
“Mike needs no praise from me to prove his professional chops, but I want to put in my recommendation all the same. This man loves making games, and by Bob, he’s REALLY REALLY VERY GOOD AT IT. :)
Shaun McCabe, Production Director @ Insomniac Games
“We had a fantastic experience working with Mike on Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. He has a rare talent for translating ‘numbers tweaks’ into better player experience. My only gripe with Mike is that he won’t come work with us full time!”