Meet Kyle Lemmon, who graduated in 2007 with a public relations and journalism degree and currently works as the marketing manager at Psyonix, a video game development studio based in San Diego, Calif. We talked with Kyle and asked him to share about his day to day life at the studio and how PUC helped give him the tools he needed to become successful.
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been a gamer ever since the Nintendo days and always wanted to work at a game studio I admired. I live in Vista, Calif., with my college sweetheart, Brooke (we met at PUC), and two fiercely independent daughters, Arden and Ava.
I started writing about TV, film, indie rock music, and video games as a journalist during college, before transitioning to qualitative video game market research at EEDAR (Electronic Entertainment Design and Research). I then finally made a move to Psyonix as the Marketing Manager for the Sports-Action hit, Rocket League, and have been there ever since. You can find us on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam (PC)!
What was your major at PUC?
I was a public relations and journalism major at PUC and graduated in 2007.
Describe your typical workday.
I oversee the Creative Services and general Marketing department alongside our VP of Publishing, Jeremy Dunham. A typical workday can range from talking to current and prospective licensees to working on setting up sales and various promotions on the PlayStation, Xbox One, and Steam storefronts. I also work alongside our PR, Production, Design, and Community teams to announce new game modes, general updates, and downloadable content for Rocket League since we like to put our community first and consistently expand on our game to give them new content to play. If you haven’t heard of Rocket League before you should check it out! It’s essentially rocket-boosted cars playing soccer and there’s a huge competitive esports scene as well. Here’s one of our latest trailers for two awesome Hot Wheels DLC Battle-Cars!
What is the most enjoyable part of your job? The most challenging?
Solid questions! The most enjoyable part of my job is no day or week is the same. I could be working to promote an outer-space-themed update like Starbase ARC one month and switch over to working on new licensed merchandise and toys with our partners the following week. I really love the wide variety of work and people I get to interact with here at Psyonix!
On the challenging side of things, I would say game development does come with some amount of work outside of the usual office hours and building out a small team has certainly been difficult, but highly rewarding at the same time. It’s nice to look around a room and see things changing and we all support each other, too. Our growing community of over 29 million players definitely inspires me to improve and aspire for bigger and better things.
How did your time at PUC help prepare you for your career?
My time at PUC prepared me for tight deadlines, which definitely come up in the video game industry. Sometimes you have to adjust on the fly and find another plan with a team when things change midstream. That was one of the key things I gleaned from college aside from the usual best practices for writing and communication. My Communication professors prepared me for my career by teaching that you should never stop looking at the world around you since there are daily opportunities to learn new things and improve yourself.
What is the most important thing you learned during your time at PUC?
The most important thing I learned from my time in Angwin was to establish a strong work ethic and compassion for people working alongside you. I try to remember every day when I wake up. Many people believed in me so I try to do the same for others the best I can. I’m not always perfect 100 percent of the time, but the goal is to try my best and listen with an open heart and mind. This is something I learned from my dad and mom as well.
Who was your favorite professor while you were at PUC and why?
My favorite professor hands down was Dr. Victoria Mukerji. I will never forget my meetings with her over oatmeal and hot cocoa for the Campus Chronicle when we investigated a cult, reviewed films, and talked about world issues. She gave us a lot of free reign and I have sought out mentors who do the same. She was the most thought-provoking teacher at PUC by far and pushed her students to not just accept what was given to them in textbooks, but to investigate on their own outside of class. Curiosity is a tough thing to engender, but she managed to do just that with every class.
You served as editor of the Campus Chronicle, PUC’s student newspaper. What was your favorite thing about that experience?
I always enjoyed the adrenaline rush of seeing my work in print and announcing something people were excited to read about the next day. I still get chills whenever we announce a new update for Rocket League to this day for very similar reasons. It’s great to collaborate on something bigger than yourself!
What advice would you give to students who aspire to work in the video game industry?
The video game industry has historically been a very insular one that is hard to break into, but working in the marketing departments for other entertainment industries certainly will give you plenty of transferrable skills. Persistence and a clear vision for projects you are working on is also important. In terms of landing that first job, it’s good to be clear and concise with what you want to do at that company and create a reasonable plan to present to them. Passion is truly contagious. Asking someone you look up to for advice is also a great place to start. I consider myself truly honored and lucky to work in the video game industry.