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Employee Spotlight: Rick Cody

What’s up?! I’m Rick. I’m a designer at Harmonix and have been here for four years. I’ve worked on Rock Band VR and its DLC, Super Beat Sports, hundreds – maybe thousands – of Rock Band songs, and most recently, AUDICA. My responsibility across all these projects has been simple: create fun, authentic musical gameplay experiences. This is my dream job! And it’s enhanced by the wide array of talent around me.

I can’t think of anything that has influenced my life more than music. When I was 3 years old I would pretend to smash guitars because I wanted to be like Garth Brooks. At 10 years old I wrote my first song and at 13 I told my family I wanted to go to college for music (good luck telling that to a bunch of people with business degrees!). Once I turned 18, I moved to Boston to attend and graduate from Berklee College of Music. After college I taught music at both Berklee and public school and founded a few tech startups – which I used to create music business opportunities. Eventually the experience and connections I built led to the perfect opportunity at Harmonix… And the rest is history!

Growing up, I played a number of Harmonix games with my friends, Karaoke Revolution, Amplitude, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, I might’ve even played AntiGrav once! It was a total coincidence, I had no idea they were Harmonix games. To me, they were all just fun games involving music. In college I figured out who Harmonix was and realized their impact on the industry. When teaching in public school, many of my students only knew classic rock songs because of Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Needless to say, when I was offered the job and went over what my responsibilities would be… it was one of the most surreal moments of my life!

Video games have always been interesting to me. Like any kid growing up in the past 20 years, I liked and played video games. Mastering games was fun, but I was more interested in trying to create Counter Strike levels or Smash Bros. Brawl stages that people would want to play - there’s something about designing games and levels that’re simple, balanced, and replayable that has always been fun. After college, some of my tech startups involved making video games. One made educational video games and another, one I’m still involved with on the side, makes cooperative VR games. So that segue to the game industry happened naturally.

My proudest accomplishments at Harmonix have come from concepting and pitching new music experiences. I hope to inspire people to be musical, creative, and entrepreneurial. I believe pitching new music experiences here has given me that opportunity.

What Rock Band instrument do you play?

Guitar! I started at Harmonix reviewing the music theory/note accuracy of the Freestyle Guitar Solo system. I’ve learned to like every instrument over the years but that’s where I got started so that’s what I’m going with.

Do you have an office nickname, and what’s the origin?

So many… The Rock, just because typos happen, and “O” and “I” are close together. Also, because I’m massively jacked.

Spicy, because someone said it once and it stuck. And then I had a lot fun being sarcastic and fresh with people and living up to the name.

Slop Window, because all our games have a window of time we consider “accurate enough”. I sometimes get to decide that window. We can move on from this name.

What is your favorite Super Beat Sports Slugger uniform, bat, and mini-game?

Baseball uniform and sword bat. Buddy Ball is my favorite mini-game. Local multiplayer games like this one are really fun to play with friends. Lots of trash talk.

What’s on your desk?

Music and sports stuff. Outside of music, sports are my other passion. Let’s go Buff-a-lo!