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This Lawyer Is Now a Video Game Designer

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on September 08, 2016 3:57 PM

Despair, misery, ceaselessly changing puzzles, and constantly impending doom. No, it's not your first year as a new associate, or even the next season of 'Game of Thrones.'

It's Vidar, a role playing computer game "where everyone dies." And it sprang from the mind of Dean Razavi, who, until just a few weeks ago, was working as a litigation attorney for Katten Muchin Rosenman. "Razavi always knew he would be a lawyer," according to a recent profile in the video game blog Kotaku. And he was. Up until the day he walked out of the doors and became a video game designer.

"I Just Walked Out the Door"

Razavi spent six years as an associate with Katten, after graduating from UVA Law. It was a job he found challenging, but not inspiring. Meanwhile, while working 50 to 60 hours a week, Razavi also found time to fall in love. Not with video games, but with his future husband.

The pair initially bonded over the game Starcraft 2, according to Kotaku, and when it came time to tie the knot, Razavi wanted a fitting wedding invitation. So, he picked up the game-making software RPG Maker, learned a bit of code, and spent a full year creating a 30-hour role playing game that would become the couple's invitation.

That experience, followed by the death of a close relative, triggered Razavi's switch to gaming. He was done with his time at Katten, which he describes as a "warehouse law firm." In February of 2015, Razavi raised almost $20,000 for Vidar on Kickstarter. By this August, he had quit his job to found Razbury Games. "I just walked out the door," Razavi told Kotaku's Cecilia D'Anastasio.

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies

Vidar is an "RPG puzzler" meaning there are villagers and monsters and magic, along with plenty of mazes to navigate and puzzles to solve -- all wrapped in a very 1980's Nintendo aesthetic. Oh, and every game is new and ever character dies. Here's how the Kickstarter describes it:

Vidar is an RPG Puzzler focused on random storytelling and random puzzles. You play as the Stranger, a character who was lost in a snowstorm and made it into town at a time when no one can leave. Now trapped, the Stranger fights alongside the remaining townsfolk to stop the Beast before it kills every last person. Each night, another citizen is killed - you'll have only 24 days before Vidar is gone.

That randomness allows for more forks and turns than a 1L gunner's civ pro flow chart. "As these neighbors, friends, and loved ones grow and interact, and as they die, and as tasks are completed or abandoned, their stories evolve into a distinct, unique plot."

The game is set for release in early 2017. In the meantime, you can test out a demo here. And if you're thinking of following in Razavi's footsteps, you can buy RPG Maker for under $100.

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