Stephen Erin Dinehart
Against the backdrop of a devastated European landscape, the British 2nd Army and German Panzer Elite face the possibility of annihilation from opposing fronts while struggling to claim victory in one of the world’s bloodiest wars. Sure, strategies, weather conditions, vehicles and rugged terrain contribute to the outcome of battles, but the ultimate factor in this war is you.
Stephen E. Dinehart has contributed his extraordinary design and narrative talents to a remarkable list of titles in the video game industry. Yet, even with releases like “Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II,” “Cloud” and “Constantine” under his belt, he considers WWII strategy game “Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts” his biggest accomplishment.
“Hands down, my latest project with THQ’s developer, Relic Entertainment, ‘Opposing Fronts,’ has been my favorite,” said Dinehart. “Working with an extremely talented, 60+ man, AAA videogame development team was an amazing challenge.
“I’ve also always loved strategy games. I remember the first time I played ‘Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis’ on the Sega Master System. It deeply imprinted my inner geek! Being fortunate enough to contribute a compelling story to one of the highest rated strategy games of all-time gives me serious satisfaction.”
And critics agree. “Opposing Fronts” was named PC Gamer Editors’ Choice, GameSpy Best of E3 and Games for Microsoft Editors’ Choice.
As a full-time narrative designer at Relic in Vancouver (Canada), Dinehart acts as a writer and experience designer. He works alongside production staff to ensure the game creates compelling, user-friendly narrative experiences.
“I actually worked with THQ to create my position, and it has been a lot of fun!” exclaimed Dinehart. “I get to use my imagination, work with talented people, and bring joy to others while making my own dreams come true.
“The biggest challenge for me is one of communication. The products I work on are fundamentally abstract, ‘a tactical based 4th gen real-time strategy game.’ Even for me it’s hard to choke down. Being able to share concepts and ideas in a clear and effective manner is truly compelling and helps everyone. Luckily I have my CCS graphic design training to back me up.”
Dinehart’s love of art, design and craft developed as a student at CCS and eventually led to his decision to teach beginning and advanced multimedia courses at the College.
“CCS was an amazing place of growth for me,” reminisced Dinehart. “Between the fine faculty, amazing facilities and extremely talented student body, there was a tremendous wealth of knowledge and learning for me. When I started in the graphic design program, we actually had to cut and paste – in real life! I learned everything from the fine craft of typography, to glassblowing.
“The experience taught me to be openly critical, as a positive creative effort, to better craft works. It gave me a hunger for the creative endeavor, a desire to provide compelling creative solutions, to better the world through design, craft, and the truth of art. At CCS you live and breathe your work 24/7. It’s nuts; I loved it!”
Deciding to continue his education in proximity to his new home in the heart of the gaming industry, Dinehart went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts in interactive media from the University of Southern California.
“Graduate school helped me to further my critical thinking, to reaffirm the fact that I love art and to reposition my career, said Dinehart. “Best of all, it’s helping me to live out my dreams. I hope to heal the world with good stories and to have a piece in a museum, preferably somewhere near a Kandinsky or Guimard. You gotta shoot for the stars, right?”
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