It’s been almost six months since the end of the inaugural season of “The Tester”. In April, we introduced you to our first winner, Will “Cyrus” Powers. As we prepare for the second season of “The Tester,” set to premiere on Tuesday, November 2, we thought it would be a good time to catch up with Will about his experience as a QA Tester for PlayStation, how it has affected his gaming habits and impacted his trophy collection. So what’s up with Will these days? Well, here’s what we learned…
Kevin Furuichi, executive producer for PlayStation Network: It has been six months since you started working at Sony. What has the experience been like?
Will Powers, winner of “The Tester”: The experience overall has been a blast. Testing may not be a super glamorous position, but its importance within the industry cannot be overstated. Being able to get my hands on games six months, sometimes even a year, before they are released is still just as exhilarating as it was the first time. But, the most rewarding part of the job? As simple as it sounds, just seeing my name in the credits of a game triggers a feeling of accomplishment that will never get old.
KF: What is working as a QA Tester like? In your opinion, what was the biggest takeaway of your work experience? How has the hard work paid off for you?
WP: Being a QA Tester is a great experience for anyone looking to get into the industry. That’s something that is invaluable about having a firsthand experience seeing how a game comes together from start to finish. Once you have experienced this, you have a greater appreciation for any game as a whole, and the amount of work that goes into it. I’d like to think that all of the hard work I’ve put into this has paid off. I approach situations with the mindset that every contact you make is an important one and I think people in the industry appreciate when people are genuine with them.
KF: Do you still keep in contact with a lot of the cast?
WP: I do keep in contact with a lot of the cast. A cool little trip I had the chance to take was attending E3, where I got the opportunity to hang with “Amped,” “Doc,” and “Nauseous” from the show. But on a regular basis, I often find myself playing co-op or competitive multiplayer with these people, because we’re all always online.
KF: How’s the trophy hunt going? At the end of Season 1, you were sitting at 39 platinum trophies. Any recent trophies that you are especially proud of?
WP: Ha! Funny that you might ask. Recently I surpassed the 3000 trophy point as well as attained my 45th platinum trophy. The Killzone 2 platinum was a particular beast. Between being in the top 1% of all of the online players, to beating the game on Elite difficulty, this is one of the prizes in my collection.
KF: How does being a QA Tester change your gaming habits? What game is currently in your PS3 or PSP?
WP: Great question! It most certainly does change your gaming habits. We joke about it being sort of a “curse” if you let it. I find myself accidentally “breaking” games when I go home. But in the end, I just have to focus on enjoying the games and PLAYING them normally instead of TESTING the games. Currently? I’m running through Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition. Playing co-op with the PlayStation Move on that game is so much fun, I just can’t get enough of it. It truly has breathed new life into that game. As far as the PSPgo(es)… see what I did there? *laughs* I haven’t been able to put Valkyria Chronicles II down. This is actually my favorite franchise, and despite the naysayers about this franchise going portable, I think I’d go out on a limb and say that I like this second installment into the series even more than the original.
KF: Let’s talk about the upcoming new season. Tell us what you think of the cast for Season 2. Have you picked a favorite?
WP: It’s hard for me to objectively look at the cast of Season 2, since there will obviously be comparisons to last year’s cast (and I have a personal bias toward them). However, I’m looking forward to seeing what new things these 12 contestants are going to bring to the table. Because from everything I’ve heard, Season 2 is going to be bigger and better than Season 1 in every aspect. For those reasons, I’m not picking a favorite. However, that’s not to say that there won’t be a betting pool here at work as to who our next co-worker will be!
KF: You got a sneak peek at the Season 2 trailer, what are your expectations for the new season?
WP: They’re in for a lot of surprises this season, for sure! The challenges are harder, the panelists are tougher, and the stakes are higher this season. Let’s just hope all 12 contestants brought their A-games, otherwise they’re going to be sent packing, and quickly!
KF: If there is one thing that you would like to tell the winner of the second season, what would it be?
WP: Make the most of it! The job is a foot in the door into the industry, but it’s up to you what you do with it after that. So, take this great opportunity that you fought tooth and nail to win, and make something of it!
It’s been a pleasure getting to know Will this year. We wish him all the best as he continues to take full advantage of this opportunity at SCEA. As for the Season 2 trailer that he mentioned? We’re releasing it on next Tuesday, October 19 with the Preview Show on Tuesday, October 26 and then the Season Premiere on Tuesday, November 2.