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Thursday, August 18, 2005
Bill Roper at GCDC: Key Note and Interview
8:57 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Bill Roper, CEO of Flagship Studios, recently spoke at the Games Convention Developer Conference in Leipzig Germany. In his keynote address he championed the PC as a gaming platform and talked of the need for better integration of the myriad gaming devices available to consumers.

"I'm going to get on my PC soapbox for a few minutes," he told attendees. "PC games are on the verge of a major market shift, as PC developers and publishers start to move from selling CDs of single-player games to retail outlets, to selling online games to those with broadband connections. We're already seeing primitive multi-platform games on the PC... Players want to get online and play."
In addition to his keynote speech, the GCDC website has posted an interview with Roper in which he reiterated his feelings about the PC as a gaming platform. He also spoke about Flagship Studios upcoming game Hellgate: London and his time at Blizzard.
GCDC: The story seems to play an important role in Flagships first title ‘Hellgate: London’. How do you approach story-telling in order to make the player really immerse into the game? What makes a story work in a game context?
Bill Roper: Story-telling is always difficult in games because the key difference in our medium and those of books or television or film is that we are interactive. If you give players too much story without letting them be a part of it, the allure of gaming gets lost. A delicate balance has to be struck when mixing story and game play. As an industry, we have some fantastic tales to tell, but it still has to be done in the context of the fact that a game is being played, and it is the evolution of that experience that should be the driving force behind how the story is expressed.

GCDC: How does work at Flagship Studios differ from work at Blizzard?
Bill Roper: Perhaps the biggest difference is in size and focus. Blizzard has grown into a massive, worldwide company, with close to 1,000 employees spread across numerous countrie. This is obviously a testament to the success of their games over the past decade. But one of the things that falls by the wayside when any company explodes in size is the ability to maintain a single, pure focus on a title. Also,  you can honestly only have company cohesion when you are smaller. At Flagship, even though we have a well-seasoned core team and some of the best people in the industry, it is “us against the man”. We’re a tight-knit group that has something to prove, and that builds a very specific culture. While our resources are no where near as vast as when we were at Blizzard, we can be more mobile in our decision and implementation process because the entire company numbers around 30 people. I think the similarities to Blizzard – quality, ease of play, connection to community – are vital as well.

To read more about Roper's keynote speech at the GCDC head over to For the entire interview click the link below.

GamesIndustry: Bill Roper Keynote
GCDC Interview
Flagship Studios

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