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Employee Spotlight: Eric Pope

You guys know Eric Pope. He's on the livestream, the podcast, at events, judging Rock Band Nights at Improv Boston, and ALL OVER Twitter. But do you really know Eric Pope? Read on to learn more about the man behind the chops.

Eric Pope

Title: I’m a Product Manager, currently working on Rock Band 4 and managing our back catalog of content.

Hometown: Whiting, Maine, population 487. About a 15 minute drive to Canada and about a 7 hour drive to Boston.

Time at Harmonix: I’m on my 8th year here.

Known for his work on the following: I worked on the Community Team for the majority of my time here, which involved taking the game out on the road all over the world, and being a recognizable face/voice on videos, livestreams, and podcasts. If we’re being honest I’m probably best known for my stupid mutton chops.

Background: I did my undergrad at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, that wonderful nerd hatchery in Worcester, MA. I tried my hand at Computer Science there and quickly learned I can’t code at all, so switched over to Management Information Systems! Hot tip for students in similar situations: management is much easier than programming. I got a job straight out of school at a small web developer where I did QA, trained clients, and even did some light production work. That led to me getting a super specific certification testing job at a financial software company. It was as thrilling as you’re imagining. Despite spending two years there, I never actually learned how the stock market actually works. All of this culminated in me having enough of a testing background to qualify for a Senior QA Tester position that opened up at Harmonix. The interview process took a long time, starting before the original Rock Band was released and by the time I was hired I was working on Rock Band's European version in the QA department.

Favorite Harmonix game(s): The Beatles: Rock Band hands down. I am a lifelong Beatles devotee so getting to work on a game soaked in every fiber of their essence was amazingly rewarding. It truly was a labor of love for a ton of people at the company, and you felt that energy coming to work every day. I think it shows in the final product too.

Proudest Harmonix accomplishment: Woof this is a toughie. I’m proud to have driven our efforts behind the regular podcast and livestream shows we do. I’m proud to have been a piece of the team that cultivated one of the best, most positive communities in video games. I’m also proud to have contributed a small part to HMXHenry’s masterstroke, the massively stupid PAX Wrestling. For more, visit the equally stupid website

Go-to karaoke jams: For fun: “Hook” by Blues Traveler. For serious belting: anything by Sam Cooke. For overall performance art: “Come Sail Away” by Styx.

Eric Pope

Favorite Rock Band song of all time: COME ON. This is hard. God. Hnnng. In terms of fondest memories from playing with fans, it’s “Painkiller” by Judas Priest. “Radio Radio” by Elvis Costello and “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie are probably my favorite SONGS, period, that happen to be in Rock Band’s library.

Tell us about that time you beat Shaquille O’Neal in a contest.
Boston Phoenix newspaper used to run an annual BEST IN BOSTON feature. It was all reader-voted, and tallied the best things in the city, across restaurants, theaters, bands, etc. When they added Best Twitter Feed in Boston, my followers got together and voted me into the final pool, which pitted me against such heavy hitters as Amanda Palmer and the one and only Shaquille O’Neal. All respect to Shaq, he actually has a really fun account, and at the time did fun performance art type things in the city where he would tweet that he’d be in Harvard Square from 2-4pm, and he would show up and just stand completely still like a statue for two hours. Amazing. Well anyway, I talked a bunch of trash at him, and that resonated with the people on Twitter, and they voted with their hearts. I edged out Shaq for Best Twitter Feed in Boston. I’m still a little bit sore that I never got a plaque from the Phoenix for it.

Favorite celebrity you’ve ever played Rock Band with? Yeah so another weird thing about working on Rock Band during the apex of its mass cultural relevance was ending up at weird events with celebrities playing the game. I played with the stars of the Twilight movies at the MTV Movie Awards before the first movie came out, so I had no idea who they were at the time. I saw sweet Billy Zane pacing up and down the red carpet by himself, sadly looking for people to interview him. I got to be a part of a Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bit with Jason Sudeikis at E3. There are tons of these weird encounters.

But the best of all was Tom Hanks. I’ve been a huge Hanksophile for years, and he somehow got connected with us at E3 2009, when we were showing off The Beatles: Rock Band for the first time. If you’ve seen That Thing You Do!, or any documentary on the 1960s, you know he’s huge into that era of music. So he showed up at our hotel and played every single song in that E3 build on each instrument. Must have been a good 2 hour hang session. He was as nice, sweet, and gracious as you would expect him to be. The rumor, which has now become legend within the studio, is that he delayed a flight to attend an event with President Obama overseas just to play our game.

Eric Pope

Thing you’re most looking forward to about Rock Band 4: I’m most looking forward to going out and playing Rock Band with all of our fans again. I got to meet so many great folks over the years by taking the game on the road, and genuinely am excited to get onstage with them all again and play some songs. Oh and also our brand new [REDACTED]. That is also pretty cool.