Peter Serafinowicz, the original voice of Darth Maul, also happens to be a huge Dark Souls fan and wishes to voice the characters. His wish was granted; in Dark Souls II he voices Mild-Mannered Pate.
Dean "Rocket" Hall was an ARMA 2 modder hired on by the developer Bohemia Interactive to work on ARMA 3 multiplayer, but on the side was working on an "persistent open-world" project called DayZ — when its hype (and ARMA 2/Operation Arrowhead sales) took off, he became the "celebrity" of the devs and by far the most famous, and is rumored to have been removed from the dev team to work on the mod full-time.
"Smookie" is another modder — most known for his "SMK Animations" mod — who was hired on for ARMA 3 development, and is the inspiration for (if not personally implementing) the revamped animations systems.
Many people may have been introduced to the ARMA series from the YouTube videos put out by Andrew 'Dslyecxi' Gluck, founder of the ARMA group ShackTactical. He is now making several video guides for ARMA 3 as well as creating a Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures guide for the game which is available free online or as a paid PDF or physical book (both of which have extra content the free version lacks).
Valve likes to hire the makers of successful fan-made mods. Both the makers of Team Fortress and Counter-Strike have been hired in this fashion. Also hired was Adam Foster, who single-handedly created the MINERVA: Metastasis single-player map.
Another Valve example. Portal was developed in its earliest guise by a team of game design students as part of their course. Valve liked it so much, they reportedly hired the students to make a full version for the company. You no doubt know the rest... They did this again, hiring another team from the same game design school for implementation of new gameplay elements in Portal 2 (more precisely, the gels)!
Yet another Valve example: Fandom VIP Makani designed her own version of the (then unseen) Administrator from Team Fortress 2. Valve bought the design off her and made it canon, and then hired her to do the Loose Canon comic for the Engineer update.
Left 4 Dead fan and mapmaker Matthew Lourdelet impressed Valve so much with his map pack "Evil Eyes" that they officially hired him to create the "Cold Stream" campaign for Left 4 Dead 2, and added it to their official rotation of online maps.
Valve has actually gotten so famous for this that many fans have begun to speculate if and when they'll hire the creators of the Black Mesa mod.
Hell, Valve doesn't even restrict this to only modders. Once upon a time in the nineties, there was a cyberpunk sci-fi writer who fell in love with Myst and Thief, deciding that he wanted to try his hand at making a video game himself. So in 1997, he joined Valve. Who was he, you ask? Marc Laidlaw, head writer of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, as well as co-writer of the Episodes and Portal.
Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, the fourth lead developer of Defense of the Ancients, (after Eul, Meian and Ragn0r) a very popular Warcraft 3 mod, became a designer for Riot Games' League of Legends. Steve "Pendragon" Mescon, creator of the DotA fansite www.dota-allstars.com, became the Director of Community Relations at Riot Games. As mentioned in the section on Valve, Dota developer IceFrog, who keeps his real name private, was hired to work on Valve's Dota 2, as well as Dota's original creator, Kyle "Eul" Sommer.
id's ranks consist of many developers who started out modding for Wolfenstein 3-D, Doom and Quake such as Tim Willits, lead designer of Doom³ and creative director of the company, who started off his career making custom levels for the original Doom and getting noticed by id.
Before joining Konami and making a name for himself as the character and mechanical designer for the Metal Gear series, Yoji Shinkawa was a big fan of Gradius. When working on mechanical designs for the second Zone of the Enders game, he went on to include Gradius's flagship, the Vic Viper, as a Transforming Mecha, having always imagined the two protruding front sections of the ship as a mech's legs.
Another example would be Lusted, long time Total War modder and author of one of Medieval II's largest mods, who was hired by Creative Assembly to work on their next TW game.
Neverwinter Nights is all about its custom editor. BioWare regularly skims the community for their most famous works and offers them jobs. Some groups formed around mod-making may also develop into studios, such as Ossian Studios.
Dominic Armato was a fan of the first two Monkey Island games, which may have given him his edge over the other guy when they were casting Guybrush Threepwood's voice actor.
Russian cosplayer Anna "Ormeli" Moleva did such a convincing job at recreating Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite that Irrational hired her to do promotional material. They even made modifications to the character so as to match up with Moleva's appearance.
Sam Riegel was a big fan of the Ace Attorney series, even before being cast as Phoenix Wright for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (and reprising the role for the English releases of the Ace Attorney games that followed).
Mercer also got a triple-whammy of fanboy promotion in Baldur's Gate III, being a fan of the previous games, Dungeons & Dragons in general, and fellow VA Jim Cummings. In III, he is The Other Darrin to Minsc, a role previously held by Cummings, with Mercer considering it an immense honor to voice the fan-favorite Ranger.
In late April 2023, Sega and Ryu ga Gotoku Studio announced the winners of a contest to determine who would appear in the upcoming Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name as cabaret club hostesses. Among the winners was Kson, an American-born streamer and Vtuber partnered with Vshojo, as well as a big fan of the Like a Dragon series who idolizes Kazuma Kiryu and leapt at the chance to be included in the game. The same game also features another famous fan, BiS alumnus First Summer Uika, who wanted to try out for the hostess contest, but instead landed the role of Akame.
During the development of Starsiege,Dynamix held several Alpha Tech Releases—essentially free and public multiplayer-only beta versions of the game. As the fourth title in the Metaltech/EarthSiege series and one of the highest-profile competitors to Mechwarrior in those days, the ATRs had a considerable playerbase. The Shared Universe introduced with this game (and the Distant Sequel companion game Starsiege: Tribes, which actually hit shelves before Starsiege did) also inspired a thriving fan fiction community. As a result, there were a number of player-run "squads" that became so influential that Dynamix actually wrote them into the setting! Some examples:
The New Terra Defense Force (-NTDF-) have the most presence. The squad's own backstory claimed that they're descendants of the player's team from EarthSiege 2, who became stranded in the outer solar system after an expedition. In Starsege the NTDF's referred to as the New Terran Defense Force, and claim to be descended from a TDF ship which crashed on an orbital station near Neptune. The real TDF considers them an eccentric Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, but the Empire hires them to act as a garrison force on Titan. Of all the player squads, the NTDF has the most namedrops in-game and in supplementary material—you even briefly meet one of them, Sgt. Cassell, in the Human campaign.
A rebel-themed squad, Red Armageddon ([RA]), also received quite a few in-game namedrops. The game presents them as a rebel unit hand-picked by Harabec Weathers to delay the advance of the Imperial Knights when Strikeforce "Red Whirlwind" arrives on Mars.
Sable Phoenix Squadron (|SPS|) is the other squad cast as mercenaries hired by Harabec Weathers prior to the arrival of the Imperial Knights, but they receive decidedly less attention in-game compared to the BDU.
The Imperial-themed squad Wolf Pack (^WP^) are depicted in Starsiege a covert operations force of Imperial Knights who arrived on Mars ahead of Strikeforce "Red Whirlwind." They act as Red Armageddon's chief opponents, at least until the Cybrids implement the Core Directive.
Presented as another force of Imperial Knights, the First Cavalry ([1CAV]) are primarily the BDU's opponents in the battle for Rio de Luz. Especially by the end, when they take down the few mercs who refused Caanon's offer to surrender.
Throughout the campaign, the StormKeepers ([SK]) receive mention as the Stormkeeper Order: an enigmatic, quasi-religious order that is only concerned with preparing for the Cybrids' eventual return, something that follows the squad's own backstory rather closely. Much like the BDU, their deeds are only known through the Scannex and War Timeline—but once the Cybrids crash the party, they prosecute the war on multiple fronts. In cyberspace, in (real) space, and on the ground.
The Sons of the Brotherhood ([SoB]) get mentions very late in the Human campaign. The player squad's own backstory presents themselves as a warrior order dating back to Medieval Europe, but in the game they appear to be another group of mercenaries with very few surviving members in the final days of the war with the Cybrids.
The Cybrid Assault Network ([CAN]) are obliquely mentioned in the Compendium as a "forward assault network" (not a term typically used among Cybrids, which is the clue that this was a Shout-Out to CAN) located on Io. According to the Compendium, it was rumored among Cybrids that this assault network had become so enamored with humanity that they began mimicking human activities such as art. Any show of respect or admiration for humans, or (worse) desire to leave them alone or coexist with them, is deemed "bugthought" in Cybrid society. The Compendium notes that the assault network would have been completely exterminated had the rumors been confirmed.
The Unwashed Villagers, a group of Interplay's original Fallout forum goers who dealt with spammers and trolls, were included in a special encounter in Fallout 2 where they battle a notorious troll of the forums.
Roshambo, a then-moderator of No Mutants Allowed who was vocal of his criticisms of Fallout Tactics during production, was included in said game as a crazy old man and Brotherhood of Steel paladin who warned the Brotherhood of Steel elders that the storms would bring down the airships, which they did. His appearance in the game might as well be more of a Take That! at his Fan Dumbness though.
Actor Matthew Perry has stated in interviews that he was a very big fan of Fallout 3 and played the game fanatically to the point his hands started aching. This led to him getting a role in Fallout: New Vegas as Benny, a major antagonist.
Nintendo Power writer Steven Grimm gave Animal Crossing: Wild World an amazing 9.5 review and mentioned that he loved the game. Nearly three years later, you can spot his name in the credits of Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Falcoon used to draw fan art for fighting game series like Street Fighter and The King of Fighters. He ended up drawing official art for the latter. Falcoon also became the producer and main artist for the Alternate Continuity of the main KOF series, the Maximum Impact series.
The Kingdom Hearts Japanese-only novelizations have been stated by Tetsuya Nomura to be non-canonical and simply, like the manga, an adaptation authorized by Square. However, the novel writer, Tomoco Kanamaki, became a promoted fangirl when she was brought on to write the scenario for Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (however, in fears of any Running the Asylum happening, Nomura did actually edit and rewrite the whole thing himself after she was through).
Katsuhiro Harada, the chief producer of the Tekken series since Tekken 3, is also a fanboy of The iDOLM@STER. One of the cards in Million Live for Iori Minase, his favorite character, has him photobombing◊ as Iori and Kotoha Tanaka cosplay as Tekken characters Lili and Asuka, respectively.
Naoki Yoshida, the producer for Final Fantasy XIV, is a fan of Final Fantasy, natch. He is also a massive fan of Yasumi Matsuno, such that he made the decision to join Square Enix specifically to work alongside his hero. Unfortunately, Matsuno had already left Square to join Level-5 by the time Yoshida joined. Thankfully, Yoshida would later bring him on as a guest creator for a series of raid quests based on the Ivalice Alliance games that Matsuno created during his time with Square, fulfilling his dream.
City of Heroes has Dr. Aeon, the new developer in charge of the Mission Architect system, who was a longtime player and prolific author on that system.
Before that, the developer Castle was just a normal player that managed to get into the development team and became a popular presence in the forum community. A few years after he joined the staff, the Castle character was created and appeared in one of the comics as well as being permanently added to the game as a trainer in Peregrine Island.
The player Ascendant became popular in the community for appearing at tram stations at random times and doing elaborate sketches in which Ascendant dealt with cell phone calls to people such as his mother, his agent/uncle, and other people that vexed him. After some time, the devs acknowledged the popularity of the sketches with random NPC dialog that suggested people seeking Ascendant were calling the wrong number. In Issue 19 of the comic, Ascendant appeared (along with fellow Promoted Fanboy Castle) in a short scene with Positron.
Successful entrepreneurs sometimes succeed in the very themes they wanted to be in since childhood or work on what they've wanted since joining the workforce. Tycho and Gabe of Penny Arcade are gamers who now host an exposition for gamers and make games with Hothead Games.
Sean "Day" Plott, a once-progamer and strategy analyst for StarCraft and a long-time fan of the game, is now promoting the expansion StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm through "Battle Reports" - replays from the expansion casted along with Rob Simpson, a Blizzard-employed caster.
Ben Croshaw a.k.a. Yahtzee made, considered and ranted about games for years, and begged the industry at large for a job before coming up with Zero Punctuation. One month later he's in The Escapist and at some point he ended up writing for PC Gamer as well. He was even asked to write the story for Duke Nukem Forever (although his story didn't make it into the game we finally got).
Nobuhiro Watsuki, creator of popular anime and manga such as Rurouni Kenshin, Buso Renkin and Gun Blaze West, mentioned early in Rurouni Kenshin that he was hooked on the Samurai Shodown series and bought a Neo Geo CD just to play it. In 2003, SNK hired him to design new characters for Samurai Shodown V.
Many of the new dub voice actors for Persona 3 Reload were fans of the original. Zeno Robinson, the new voice for Junpei Iori, specifically requested a remake of P3 when Atlus held a poll on what fans wanted to see, and jumped at the chance to be in the remake.
Reportedly, this is how Neversoft took over development of the Guitar Hero series: when Activision bought RedOctane but MTV bought Harmonix (the series' original developers), Activision was apparently wondering what to do with the Guitar Hero license, at which point Neversoft stood up and said "Hey, we're such big fans of Guitar Hero that we played it on breaks while we were working on Tony Hawk! We can totally do it!" Reactions to their treatment of the series has been, well, mixed but it worked out in Activision's favor big time... for a short while.
Much like the Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix example above, a couple of old school Street Fighter players have gone on to bigger things:
Joey Cuellar, a.k.a. Mr. Wizard, runs Shoryuken.com as well as the EVO Championship Series. The latter has gone on to become one of the biggest fighting game tournaments in the world.
Tony Cannon, a.k.a. Ponder, developed the GGPO netcode to allow fans to play emulated fighting games online without lag time. The system was so successful that Capcom has licensed it and even had Ponder as a consultant for some of their games.
David Sirlin was the lead designer for the aforementioned HD Remix.
Probably the biggest success is Seth "S-Kill" Killian who once worked for Capcom as their Community Manager and ran their official blog/forum site, Capcom-Unity. The (SNK) boss of Street Fighter IV, Killian, was named after him as well. He was also the "Special Fighting/Combat Adviser" for Capcom's fighting games from Street Fighter IV to his departure. He would later join Sony Santa Monica in an actual game design position.
In a similar (non-Capcom) vein, arcade stick fanatic Mark Julio, a.k.a. Markman, was hired by controller manufacturer MadCatz to work on their Street Fighter IV-branded controllers. Julio's knowledge of arcade sticks and guidance made the company's FightSticks the premier American-manufactured arcade stick for fighting games.
1UP.com's Neidel Crisan used to simply post his own articles on fighting games on sites like Shoryuken.com and iPlayWinner before being hired to do fighting game reviews for the aforementioned site. His reviews on 1UP.com are now considered to be the only ones worth reading when it comes to fighting games. He was eventually, alongside fellow player Peter "ComboFiend" Rosas, hired by Capcom to act as community managers after Killian's departure.
A man currently living the fighting game fan's dream is Mike "MikeZ" Zaimont. Originally known for his expert play of Iron Tager and doing REAL SOVIET DAMAGE (yes, he is the meme starter), he is now the director and lead programmer of his own game — a Guilty Gear and Marvel vs. Capcom 2-inspired fighting game known as Skullgirls.
Skullgirls features vocal talent from many a Fandom VIP, such as Cristina Valenzuela (previously mentioned in the "Anime and Manga" section of this page) and Kira Buckland, who got her start on fandubs and web animations such as the Metal Gear Awesome series.
ZONE, a well-known Rule 34 flash animator, was hired by Lab Zero after they saw an animation she did of the game's hero Filia that emulated the art style very closely; she was then contracted to work on animation for the DLC characters.
For Beowulf, the 4th DLC character, Lab Zero ended up selecting Kai Kennedy, a fan/player of the game itself. He was not a trained voice actor, but rather, was known by the team for a fan video he had produced over a year prior.
Although IIDX has still never seen an arcade release stateside, one of the most prominent composers who works on the series visited the Tokyo Game Action arcade and bowling alley in Rhode Island (back when it was still in business) on several occasions to put on a concert for the western fans who were lucky enough to be present. It has recently been discovered that this composer sampled some of the background chatter during this event, and inserted some distorted voice samples into a track called ICARUS in a subsequent release. If you know what to listen for you can actually hear several U.S. east coast community members get namedropped in the game itself. Which is, you know, pretty damn cool.
Likewise for Sanxion 7, who produced many songs and fan remixes for Stepmania, before contributing the song "Eternus" to DDR Supernova 2. He has since appeared more on U.S.-developed Pump It Up games (i.e. Pro 2 and Infinity; ironically, said song also appeared there)
The MechWarrior series is being rebooted by Jordan Weiseman, who started the (critically acclaimed) series himself and has bought back the license from Microsoft themselves.
Shizuka Itō followed suit, working really damn hard to get herself a role in Super Robot Wars, doing several roles in the Mecha genre before getting a role as an Original Character in Super Robot Wars Neo. Now if she wants a role in Gundam Generation, she will have to be voicing at least one role in Gundam (Only one voice actor of the original cast didn't have a Gundam related role. Everyone else did at least one major Gundam role in their careers.)
After the Halo IP was given to 343 Industries, the writers of the Halo-related blog Ascendant Justice got hired to work on several articles on Halo Waypoint concerning Halo canon.
Frank O'Connor, head of 343 Industries, is a specific example - he started off as a Halo fan, was hired by Bungie to be their content manager, and is now practically in charge of the Halo canon, having among other things been the general director for Halo Legends.
Some of the people who are working with Sumo Digital on LittleBigPlanet 3 are some of the most amazing creators from the community like Steve_Big_Guns.
Nate Bihldorff quickly climbed the ranks from studying creative writing in college, to being a playtester for Nintendo, to writing for Nintendo Power, to working on localizing games for Nintendo, and today he is the head honcho of Nintendo of America's acclaimed localization department.
After The Guild 2 Venice stand alone pack was made, several German members of the Guild 2 Modding Forum (Jowood was a German Company) who worked on the major mods of the Guild 2 on The Guild 2 Renaissance which became an official addon approved by Jowood.
Gearbox Software founder Randy Pitchford and creative director Brian Martel were huge fans of the Alien films, and the latter even says a meeting with Ridley Scott where both geeked out about the franchise helped them land the opportunity to work on Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Jon Shafer grew up playing Sid Meier's Civilization, became a well-known modder for the later installments, was hired by Firaxis to work on an expansion pack for Civ IV, and is now the lead designer of Civ V. At age 25.
The Gas Powered Games forum staff were selected from their community, as opposed to being hired to manage the forums as they originally were. One member, who was really only there because he loved the off-topic board was promoted to a moderator for that very board.
Gas Powered Games have hired a modder known in the community widely for his highly improved Supreme Commander skirmish AI. He was also one of a pair of modders who created the first uploaded mod, at least as far as is known on the official forums. The other modder he was working with? See the next example.
The Transcendence community's websites are run in pretty much the same manner, where the developer promotes members of the community to help out as staff on the sites, ranging from moderators to administrators.
The Supreme Commander modder became one of the administrators of the forums for his work on an unofficial expansion and has helped develop the backstory, balance, and planned content for various factions in the canon universe based off of his own Fanon work. This same person nearly had his ship graphics created for his unofficial expansion licensed for use in an in-development commercial game, though the talks fell through when it was discovered there was an incompatibility between the game's engine and the format his models had been made in, as they were designed simply to be rendered into sprites that Transcendence could use. He then went on to begin development on his own game, while still actively fulfilling his duties in the Transcendence community.
Arenanet often use the names of Guild Wars wiki contributors for newly-introduced non-player characters.
Christian "The Taxman" Whitehead, a well-known member of Sonic Retro, created a physics engine that was faithful to the Genesis games, and once even created a tech demo of Sonic the Hedgehog CD on the iPhone that proved it was possible to do an iPhone port that was faithful to the original. This got noticed by Sega, who hired him to remake the game for everything except Nintendo consoles with said engine. He then went on to remake Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in the style of the Sonic CD remake. Then, he, alongside Sonic Team and fellow fanboys Headcannon* Developers of Sonic the Hedgehog Megamix and PagodaWest games* which contains former members of the Sonic 2 HD project, developed Sonic Mania, an entirely original game.
Stephan "Lordus" Dittrich created a homebrew Sega Genesis emulator for the Nintendo DS. However, after years of no new releases of said emulator or contact with Lordus on the Internet, the Sonic Classic Collection was announced for the DS, a port of the first 3 Sonic games to the platform. It is believed that Dittrich's emulator was used as the base of the collection, with him being credited as the lead developer.
IGN's Jessica Chobot has been a huge fan of the series from the beginning and she was cast in Mass Effect 3 as Diana Allers, a reporter embedded with the Normandy.
This was also the case for Freddie Prinze, Jr. as James Vega for Mass Effect 3. This led to him becoming a Promoted Fanboy again as he is also a Dragon Age fan and got cast as The Iron Bull for Inquisition.
Randall "Frigidman" Shaw, who produced several network maps for Marathon 2, as well as later contributing to the total conversion EVIL, was hired to do the Vidmaster's Challenge levels for Infinity, along with some of its multiplayer maps. Ditto for Randy "Ydnar" Reddig, who created the M1 map Pfhactory and others before joining Double Aught and turning that into "Aye Mak Sicur", the final stage.
Craig Mullins came to Bungie's attention through Marathonfan art he posted online. His digital paintings subsequently featured in Marathon 2 and many other games.
Hat Films, a trio of British fans that make videos, edit them to great effect, and rose to popularity with their videos of Minecraft had gotten the attention of Mojang, the developers of Minecraft. Hat Films are now usually asked by Mojang to produce trailers for the next major update for Minecraft.
DrZhark, creator of the Mo' Creatures mod, helped Mojang add horses to the game for patch 1.6.
The late Erik West, known as Immok the Slayer online, was an Elder Scrolls fan with extensive knowledge of Oblivion. Bethesda had invited him for a tour of their studio during the making of Skyrim. Sadly, Erik died of cancer prior to the release of Skyrim. There are people who would adventure with Erik the Slayer, and ensure to make him "essential" as well. Interestingly enough, his character fits this as well; Erik was just a farmer's son who loved adventuring but didn't have the means to do so. You have the option to help him become an adventurer, and then hire him to be your companion.
Malukah was a fan of the series whose cover of "The Dragonborn Comes" from Skyrim went viral. She was commissioned to compose the tunes and perform several songs for The Elder Scrolls Online.
Old Man Murray started out as a personal game-review site run entirely by two game fanboys, Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw. Today, both work for Valve, with Chet working heavily on the Left 4 Dead series, and Erik writing for the Portal series. They've worked with other companies in the past as well, Erik in particular having written for Psychonauts and helping write for its sequel while still working part-time at Valve.
Everyone who donated at least 1 USD to Nyu Media's The Tale of ALLTYNEX Kickstarter for the series had their name displayed on the Roll of Honor on the official website. In addition, everyone who donated at least $15 had their names in the international release of ALLTYNEX Second. Finally, anyone who donated at least $1,000 would've been eligable to appear in the ending sequence of ALLTYNEX Second under the War Record section of the ending sequence, but no one donated that much.
Gavin Dunne, the mind behind Miracle of Sound, has been making gaming music for several years, but one of his songs Cries of The Dead World made it into the game it was made for as the ending credits. He had also been previously asked by Bioware and Ubisoft to make songs for Mass Effect 3 and Watch_Dogs, though both were promotional material only.
Maximilian Dood is an avid fighting game fanatic who covers popular video games on his channel and frequently gets exclusive stuff by talking to the developers, promoting their games. Iron Galaxy Studios actually hired Max as a writer and story consultant for the Season 2 of Killer Instinct (2013).
Modder IdolNinja, famed as creator of the popular "Gentlemen of the Row" mod for the PC version of Saints Row 2, got hired by Volition. Even better, after the game's source code was rediscovered in 2019, he got to head the effort to use it to work on a new patch to fix the PC version's various issues officially, including integrating several GotR features.
An in-universe example from Saints Row IV: Matt Miller's loyalty mission has you help him live out his Nyte BlaydeSelf-Insert Fic in the simulation. During the mission, the Boss — who previously dismissed Nyte Blayde as "just a shitty vampire show" — slowly gets more and more invested in the lore, and at the end has been converted into a full-blown fanboy/girl on par with Matt. The Boss then uses their authority as US President (and last surviving world leader) to give Matt all rights to the Nyte Blayde franchise on the condition that he never stop making content.
Iron Galaxy Studios is currently staffed by Adam "Keits" Heart and Alex Jebailey, two fighting game community notables (Keits being the host of the Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament event and Jebailiy the host of Community Effort Orlando tournament) who went on to work on the 2013 Killer Instinct game (Keits as a combat designer and Jebailey as a community manager). Keits has a particularly interesting story as he came to Iron Galaxy by way of his joke-game-turned-serious Divekick, which Iron Galaxy helped develop and publish and then hired him on fully as the combat engineer for Killer Instinct once Divekick had launched.
The Warning is a rock band comprised of three young sisters from Mexico, who started playing together after Rock Band sparked their interest. Prior to the release of Rock Band 4, they were invited to a tour of the Harmonix studios in Boston, where they found out their song 'Free Falling' would be part of the game's setlist.
Witch Hunt, a fan translation project of Umineko: When They Cry, not only got a letter from Ryukushi 07, the writer of the series, thanking them for their efforts but the group was added into Episode 4 of the game they were translating.
Gas Guzzlers has a voice option labelled 'Duke'. Said option is voiced by Clint, of Lazy Game Reviews fame, who played the game and lamented the lack of a Duke Nukem voice. The developers saw his video and asked him if he'd like to provide his Duke Nukem impression for the game, and he agreed, with said voice option being added in the 1.2 patch.
Worms W.M.D. has voices provided for the game by various YouTubers that have played the game, including Hat Films and Achievement Hunter.
DDR Jake was a popular YouTuber and streamer of Europa Universalis 4. His mastery of the game was so notorious (including completing a world conquest as a single province country off the coast of Japan, considered the hardest feat in the game) that he was hired by the developer Paradox Interactive because of it.
Spidermod was a popular mod for the original Isaac that effectively acted as a pumped-up trainer for the game. The developer was hired to work on Rebirth, and an item in Afterbirth was called "Spider Mod" and showed the health bars for enemies, which was a feature of the original mod.
The Booster Packs in Afterbirth+ take a number of mods, from the Steam Workshop or otherwise, and officially adds them in to the game. The developers of the popular fan-expansion Antibirth were also hired for working on the fourth and fifth of those booster packs, with one of the Antibirth itemsnote Schoolbag, enabling the player character to hold more than one activated item at a time even being ported over. Eventually, the third and final DLC bundle, Repentance, outright made Antibirthcanon.
Sometimes fans manage to promote themselves: A couple fans of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap founded studio Lizardcube to build their Fan Remake of the game, and successfully negotiated a licensing deal with Sega and Westone to make it an official remake, published in 2017.
Mike "RIUM+" Ando created a functioning replica of the Myst linking book. When the original game was remade in 2014, because the original book was too worn-out, Cyan used this prop as the basis for the new book model, crediting Ando. He points out that this means it's no longer just a fan replica, but the actual real Myst book.
WarioWare Gold: Dialing the code "BAAI" in one of the phones in the Toy room will lead to a message where an unspecified developer talks about how he used to play the original WarioWare as a child and is very happy to have worked on the game.
Cool-Kyou Shinsha, known for works such as Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, is a fan of Monster Girl Quest to the point of drawing a doujin for it. He eventually became one of the artists for the sequel Monster Girl Quest: Paradox.
The Robot Masters from Mega Man 2-8 (except 8’s Tengu Man and Astro Man) were all made by Japanese Mega Man fans in boss character contests. (Knight Man and Wind Man from Mega Man 6 came from international fans.) Special mention goes to Yusuke Murata who designed Dust Man for Mega Man 4 and Crystal Man for Mega Man 5. Certain bosses from Battle Network and Star Force were also fan submissions.
Jacob McManamy, the author of the official tie-in comic book bundled in the Intruder Edition of DUSK, was noticed while the game was still being devloped, by the game's developers after posting a two-pages fan comic about the game on his Twitter account.
Skrillex has been a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, mentioning this fact several times on Instagram and interviews. He was eventually allowed to collaborate with Utada Hikaru (who usually makes a theme song for each numbered installment) to create a theme song for Kingdom Hearts III, "Face My Fears" that plays in the game's opening.
Both sequels to Escape Velocity started out as total conversion projectsnote that's why Override is named like it is — it was a placeholder name indicating how it was originally meant to be installed, eg. override the first game's data files (total conversion had not at that point become the established term) that never got changed for the previous game in the series that got picked up by Ambrosia to be made, with the help of the modders, into an actual sequel.
Mie Sonozaki is a self-reported fan of the series' ancestor Madou Monogatari, specifically EPISODE II: CARBUNCLE, the beta version of 1-2-3. She would eventually become the voice actress of the protagonist for both series, Arle Nadja.
Yasunori Mitsuda, around the time he composed the soundtrack for Chrono Trigger, discovered the Irish choir group Anúna via one of their vinyls, and immediately fell in love with their work. He dreamed to collaborate with them some day, and this dream finally became a reality when they provided the background vocals for the tracks he made for the Kingdoms of Indol and Tantal in Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
The standalone expansion Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem was developed by Timelock Studio, a team made up of veterans from the Russian Serious Sam modding scene. Most developers from Timelock were officially hired by Croteam shortly after release.
Once Brazilian dubber Fernanda Bullara discovered she was auditioning for Rise of the Tomb Raider, she became adamant in getting the role, later revealing she was such a fan of the series that she used "Lara Croft" as her handle when playing Counter-Strike.
Michael Jackson was known for being a Sega fanboy, to the point that he'd often drop by their offices whenever he happened to be in the area. His appearance as "Space Michael" in Space Channel 5 came about from him seeing an early build of the game and asking if he could be in it.