Meet the Eagle Scout who works on the megahit videogame Destiny

destiny-rise-of-ironThe real heroes at Bungie, the videogame company behind sci-fi blockbusters Halo and Destiny, don’t wear armor.

They’re guys like Matthew Ward, Eagle Scout and the company’s cinematic director, who wore an untucked button-up, jeans and red sneakers when we interviewed him earlier this year.

Eagles’ Call magazine visited Ward at his office in Bellevue, Wash., for a story in our Fall 2016 issue (out now!).

While he couldn’t take us into the secret spaces where designers were hard at work on Bungie’s next videogame, he did take us inside the fascinating world of Matthew Ward — from Scouting to showbusiness to gaming glory.

rise-of-ironPress start

Ward earned Scouting’s highest honor as a member of Troop 212 in Chesapeake, Va. For his Eagle project, he lead a team of volunteers as they constructed a children’s library.

He noticed that the project required him to manage several smaller pieces that combined to form something bigger.

The skills acquired on that project still help him today.

“Funny thing is, a game as big as Destiny has smaller projects inside that all stack together,” he said. “My team takes big, big chunks, and we work together and produce something beautiful out of it.”

Ward’s job is creating cinematic cutscenes. Those are the movielike moments in a videogame when the player puts down his controller to watch part of the story unfold.

Much of his time is spent in a motion-capture studio where he directs Spandex-clad actors as they walk, tumble and climb in front of cameras.

attack-of-the-clonesMovie magic

Ward hasn’t always worked in videogames. He got his start in films, working on what’s called previsualization.

Before a director films a scene heavy with special effects, he or she relies on previsualization to, well, visualize the action.

Guys like Ward use computers to create a 3-D rendering of the director’s vision — far more effective than storyboards used in the pre-digital era.

Ward acquired his skills at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. He eventually got hired for big-budget films like Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the ClonesThe Polar Express and Superman Returns.

matthew-ward-2Eagle to Eagle

Before all that, though, Ward attended the 1989 National Scout Jamboree in Virginia. It was there he heard fellow Eagle Scout Steven Spielberg speak.

Spielberg was at the Jamboree to announce the new Cinematography merit badge (now called the Moviemaking merit badge).

“I still remember Steven Spielberg speaking,” Ward said. “And inspiring us in ways that I didn’t think, later in life, I’d be remembering. Maybe that had something to do with leading me down this path.”

Twenty-seven years after that jamboree, Ward appreciates how Scouting set him on a course for success.

“Scouting probably was the first experience I had in being a leader and being asked to be responsible for more than just myself,” he said.

Read and watch

Read my full interview with Ward in the Fall 2016 issue of Eagles’ Call, the official magazine of the National Eagle Scout Association.

The magazine is available to anyone — not just Eagle Scouts. (Use promo code EGCBLG16 to save 50 percent on your subscription.)

And watch the video below.


Video by Tom Fiorini, editing by Keith Faber. Lead photo by W. Garth Dowling.