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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Bill Roper Discusses His Hard Won Wisdom
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamasutra has published a new interview with Bill Roper. In the interview the veteran game developer discusses the events which led to his departure from Blizzard Entertainment, the demise of Flagship Studios, his current work at Cryptic Studios, and the lessons he's learned from success and failure in the industry.

When you look at your decision, the point that you left at Blizzard to start your own thing with other guys, is there a certain point for any developer in their career where you work high enough at an organization like Blizzard, and you sort of need to go off on your own? Is that what you'd say to anybody? You know, "You spend 10 to 15 years, you get confident, and then you have to start your own thing." Is that kind of how the industry works, or were there really specific circumstances?
BR: There were for us. We actually didn't think we were going to be leaving. Really, what happened was that there was... That was during a time when it was very unclear as to whether Vivendi was going to keep their games units.
You know, Jean-Marie Messier was the CEO of Vivendi in France, he was kind of being challenged. He had bought a lot of media companies and all these different things. And so they were trying to sell all those assets.
It got to the point where there was really no detailed communication coming out, we didn't know what was happening. It was amazingly distracting. We weren't getting good development work or anything out of our guys. Everyone was really nervous. At that point in time, there was nothing that could guarantee anybody being there.
...David Brevik, Eric and Max Schaefer, and myself basically kept pushing for, you know, "We really need to be involved in what you guys are talking about, if you're meeting with potential publishers or talking about spinning the company as an IP or something. You need to have the executives involved in that."
To try to force that issue, to get them to talk with us, the four of us put in our resignation, with basically the trigger for us not to be resigning was to email us or phone call us, so like talk to us.
A day and a half later, we heard back from that chain. Mike called me and said, "I'm supposed to come up Monday and get you guys cleared out." So, it wasn't like we really wanted to leave.
Read the full article at the page linked below.

Gamasutra: The Hard-Won Wisdom Of Bill Roper

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