Game Developers

What sets Holon Studios apart from many start-up companies? One major difference is that we are lead by a group of passionate, talented, and successful game developers; a few of them coming from the Monterey area. Here are the backstories for a few of them:

Stephan Schwirzke

Stephan Schwirzke

Chief Executive Officer

Founded his first company in 1984, he was one of the first to sell guidebooks for popular games and sector editors allowing players to modify player stats. Stephan then joined Apple Computer in 1987 as a software engineer, where he helped develop MacWrite Pro, MacDraw Pro, and AppleWorks GS. In 1991, as lead architect, he developed Mediapaint with designer Roy Neil. MediaPaint was acquired by Strata Inc. for 2.5 million in 1994. Since then, he has worked on projects such as Taser’s Evidence.com/AXON, serving as lead architect for the client frontend and video evidence collection. After creating slot machine games, Stephan joined Zynga’s Social Casino franchise and worked on “Hit it Rich” slots 2014-2019, as it became the highest converting game in mobile Social Casino gaming.

Kenneth Ibrahim

Kenneth Ibrahim

Chief Technology Officer

Worked for over two decades at the emerging intersection of technology and art spanning a career in film, games, Augmented Reality and robotics. His career includes the role of VFX technical director at numerous studios on some of the highest grossing movie franchises to date including Star Wars, Star Trek, The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean and Shrek as well as software tool developer for games teams at SEGA on breakout hits such as SEGA Rally Championship. He was also the lead developer of a tool enabling 3D artists to animate 6-axis industrial robots for high-profile entertainment clients and venues. He has held technical leadership positions in which he has evaluated, architected and overseen the infrastructure of companies and has worked in the fast-paced environment of tech startups. Ken has a computer engineering degree and began his career in Japan where he worked as a programmer and application engineer. In his free time he has joined archaeological teams around the world performing digital scanning of ancient structures for cultural preservation, developed Snapchat and Instagram AR filters with over half a million views, developed a Japanese word of the day Twitter app with 25K followers and makes electronic music in his home studio.

Jeff Buchanan

Jeffery Buchanan

Producer/Creative Director

Department of Defense, Marine Corps, and Video Game Industry Veteran. Jeff’s DOD contributions included graphic support to the creation of the current AEGIS class ships and systems of the U.S. Navy. Jeff served as an NCO in Security and Combat Operations in the Marine Corps. Jeff has contributed directly in the creation of many award winning and groundbreaking video games and processes such as SEGA, Japan’s Virtua Fighter 3D games which incorporated the first game use of motion capture and Riot Games on the groundbreaking MOBA game, League of Legends.

Roy Neil

Senior Designer

Silicon Valley veteran Software, Mechanical, and Aeronautical Engineer, Industrial Designer, Successful Inventor, Technical/Scientific Advisor with 30 years experience working with top firms/startups. Skilled Artist/Musician. After spending a year at Electronic Arts in 1986, Roy was hired by Apple to work on MacPaint 2.0, and became the 24th member of Claris in 1987. Roy Founded Neil Research Laboratories in 1991 which became a pioneer in 2D/3D digital animation and video, developed software for use with PIXAR RenderMan software ( ribCrusher ) in addition to early digital video ( AniMaker ). After meeting Stephan at Claris, collaborated on an Apple IIGS video game boasting advances in gaming that would soon be adopted industry wide ( SpaceWarriors ). Designed and co-developed Mediapaint with Stephan Schwirzke which was acquired by Strata Inc. for 2.5 million in 1994. Partnering with Stephan, worked to deliver online versions of CLUE and MasterMind for Hasbro, and other various projects for LucasArts, EA, D2C games and BLAM! In 2010 designed Film-O-Clean, the #1 film cleaning machine on the market. Recognized in the industry as always being at the forefront of technology, with a verifiable track record of inventing and developing products that are ahead of their time.

Jennifer Filzen

Jennifer Filzen

Marketing Director

SEO Content Expert, Social Media Marketing Maven, and Head Cheerleader. Jennifer founded Rock Star Marketing in 2009 and is well-respected as the top content marketer serving the auto repair industry across the United States and Canada. She also happens to be a GRAMMY-qualified rock star who was a pioneer in using social media marketing to promote her music and her small business clients. Jennifer and Stephan worked together at Guurgle, a Carmel Valley wine app startup in 2014. When Stephan called Jennifer to share his dream of starting Holon Studios, she immediately offered her marketing support. With a shared interest in bringing more tech careers to the Monterey Peninsula, Jennifer and her husband, Rene Arreola, are lending their skills and enthusiasm to help promote Holon Studios and their suite of products.

Rene Arreola

Senior Artist/Webmaster/Video

Artist, graphic designer, website designer, and lifelong resident of Monterey County. For 25 years, Rene worked in commercial printing, but in 2019, he decided to begin working as a freelance artist and graphic designer. As a child, Rene learned to draw by copying comic books. That is to say, he did a lot of fan art. Later on, while on a brief stint in college, Rene was motivated to begin painting after discovering fantasy art. Because of this, his fantasy art has a touch of comic book superheroes to it. Today, Rene draws and paints fantasy art, focusing on imaginative realism. Painting and mastering the human form is an art goal of his. Rene is also a comic book artist creating his own art and stories for my comic book series The Realm Ethereal. When he’s not drawing or painting, he likes to dance West Coast Swing. Rene and his wife, Jennifer Filzen, dance West Coast Swing mostly socially and sometimes competitively. They also teach monthly group dance lessons and private lessons in West Coast Swing.

John Stracuzzi

Senior Artist

As co-owner of Intergalactic Imports, a comic book collectibles store located at the Del Monte Shopping Center in Monterey, John is no stranger to comic book characters and video games. John’s claim to fame is that he painted the famous Infinity Gauntlet worn by Thanos on the cover of Marvel’s September 28, 2011 comic book issue. As an artist and longtime knowledge of fantasy and comic characters, John’s artistic talents are key to the Holon Studios team.

Matthew Emery

Matthew Emery

Product Manager

Based in San Francisco, Turbine Games Consulting has worked on over 60 mobile games across different genres, including top-grossing titles such as Wordscapes and Dragon City. Turbine’s breadth of experience in what works for different types of games and common-sense approach to game analytics allows TGC to quickly improve revenue for its game clients, by as much as 4x on similar titles.

Daniel Katz

Product Manager

Also based in San Francisco, Daniel works for Turbine Games Consulting. His experience and passion for video game development makes him a terrific asset to the Holon Studios team.

Dan Brown

Software Development/AR Mapping Game App

Dan always lends a helping hand to the game developers at Holon Studios. He brings an enthusiastic energy to the team and applies his talents to the software development and Augmented Reality game apps. 

What inspired Stephan to create Holon Studios is the lack of job opportunities in tech and video gaming in general. He and his team hope to inspire more local interest in growing a new “tech hub” here in Monterey and all of the Central Coast. The talented people listed above are all heavily experienced, hard-working, and talented tech and game developers that make up the potential of what Holon Studios inspires to be for the Monterey community.

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