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Kendra Corpier wants to make Maryville a video game development hub

If Kendra Corpier has her way, one of the next video game development hubs will be in Maryville, and she’s doing her part to make it happen.

We were introduced to the former resident of Youngstown, OH during the “Raising + Rising” event held as part of “Innov865 Week” and were intrigued by a person setting-up a game development shop in my hometown. Her company is named Eimear Studios LLC, and it is developing a game named Enfield’s Apocalypse for the Xbox.

The thesis of the new game is teamwork and the fact that an individual cannot save the world alone. It features two characters – Ayden and Sandi, and Corpier says the game is fairly unique in the fact that one individual can control both characters simultaneously. As those who are video game aficionados know, this would normally require two players.

“It’s going to be difficult without being difficult,” Corpier says of Enfield’s Apocalypse. “You can move through the game quickly.”

As we learned during our interview with the Ohio native, Corpier has been involved in the game development world for a number of years. She says it was a child’s dream and a teenager’s stubbornness that led to her current career choice. As far as the relocation from Ohio to the Volunteer State, that was about her significant other and where he lived.

“My parents liked us to be involved in tech,” she explained. “I had a computer since I was seven years old, and they later bought me an Atari device.”

During her high school years in the late 1990s, Corpier notes that game development was not a career choice, but she has managed to link her love for gaming and art, the latter honed while earning a B.A. in Game Art and Design at the Art Institute of Phoenix.

“That’s where I learned to make video game art,” Corpier says.

She returned to Youngstown, an economically-challenged community, in 2013. The local leaders were trying to promote economic growth through technology, but there was not much to promote.

“I helped launch Youngstown Game Developers,” Corpier said, something she did while also holding a variety of multimedia, graphic design and instructor positions in the region. She also worked with Youngstown State University, helping the institution create a game development program.

Corpier also worked with community-based groups in Akron, Cleveland and Columbus. “We created a community of game developers that grew a lot in Northeast Ohio,” she adds.

As far as her game development experience, Corpier says she developed her first game for a flip phone more than a decade ago. Since then, she’s been involved in quality assurance for a dozen games for THQ Inc. and also as a certifier for another company. Enfield’s Apocalypse will be the first console game she has developed with her new Tennessee-based LLC.

As a non-player of video games, I asked about the development process.

“It starts with an idea and how to make that work within the constraints of the technology,” Corpier explained. She developed the idea for Enfield’s Apocalypse in May and formed the Tennessee LLC in June. At this time, she is devoting as many as eight hours a day to finalizing the video game document and a demo version for approval by Xbox. Her goal is to have that completed by the end of 2020.

Thus far, she’s self-funded the project, but needs to raise about $300,000 for expenses in 2021. And, if all goes as planned, Enfield’s Apocalypse could be available in Spring 2023.

While video game development is done in many respects by a virtual team, Corpier sees an economic opportunity for the local region. She has looked at Tennessee and identified only two shops – one each in Knoxville and Nashville. With her passion and tenacity, maybe Maryville will join that list.

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