From Video Games to the Jesuits: The Unlikely Journey of Shane Liesegang

A former video game designer finds his calling in religion and combines his passion for storytelling with his newfound faith.

Shane Liesegang had it all – a successful career as a video game designer, a vibrant social life, and the sunny backdrop of Los Angeles. However, beneath the surface, anger simmered within him. Frustrated by the daily traffic jams on the infamous 405 highway, Liesegang realized he needed a change. This moment of self-reflection sparked a spiritual quest that would lead him to leave the world of video games and join the Jesuits, a religious order. Little did he know that his journey would come full circle when he was called upon to write the core texts for a space religion in the blockbuster video game, Starfield.

The Intersection of Video Games and Spirituality

Liesegang’s fascination with video games began in his childhood, where he immersed himself in virtual worlds while also participating in school plays. In college, he studied psychology and computer science, which eventually led him to pursue a career in the video game industry. His unique combination of skills allowed him to create compelling stories and characters within the gaming medium. However, religion was not a significant part of his life during this time.

A Spiritual Awakening on the 405

After experiencing a moment of clarity during a particularly frustrating traffic jam, Liesegang found his way to St. Monica, a Catholic parish in Los Angeles. The vibrant community of young adults provided a welcoming space for Liesegang to explore his faith and find solace from his anger. This newfound spiritual journey coincided with his work in the video game industry, where he often found himself working on liturgical texts and rituals for fictional religions within the games.

A Calling to Join the Jesuits

As Liesegang’s interest in religion grew, he felt a yearning to make a more significant impact on others’ lives. Intrigued by the Jesuits and their commitment to education and social justice, Liesegang decided to join the religious order in 2015. He embarked on a path of study, first in philosophy at Fordham University and then in theology at Boston College. During this time, he also spent two years in Beirut, working with refugees and discerning his future ministry.

Writing Religion in Starfield

Liesegang’s unique background as a video game designer and Jesuit scholastic led to an unexpected opportunity: writing the core texts for a fictional religion in Starfield, a highly anticipated space exploration game. The religion, called the Sanctum Universum, explores the idea of experiencing God in the vastness of the universe. Liesegang drew upon his knowledge of liturgical language and rituals to create a theology that blended philosophy and transcendence. While he had to seek approval from his Jesuit superiors, Liesegang’s work on Starfield allowed him to combine his passion for storytelling with his newfound faith.

The Future of Gaming and Ministry

Liesegang’s experience in the video game industry has shaped his approach to ministry. He sees the world as a system, one that humans have the power to impact and change. While he doesn’t envision creating explicitly Christian video games, he remains open to future projects that align with his values. Liesegang’s work on Starfield has sparked conversations about the intersection of video games and spirituality, highlighting the potential for meaningful storytelling within the gaming medium.

Conclusion:

Shane Liesegang’s journey from video game designer to Jesuit scholastic is a testament to the power of self-reflection and the unexpected paths life can take. His unique background and skills have allowed him to make an impact in both the gaming industry and the world of spirituality. As he continues his studies and explores his future ministry, Liesegang’s story serves as a reminder that our passions and talents can converge in unexpected and meaningful ways. Whether through video games or traditional forms of storytelling, the human desire for spirituality and connection remains constant.


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