Talking to the founding fathers of Radar Group

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posted 4/29/2008 by Nathan Murray
other articles by Nathan Murray
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With a tag line like “Welcome to RADAR. Original thinking at work.” on their website you might think that Radar Group was full of it. Fortunately Radar Group wants you to think they’re full of it, full of ideas that is. Their a new kind of video game company that will attempt to revolutionize the way video games are made and the way their made into different media like television shows or movies.

“We’re something our industry desperately needs,” says Scott Miller, Radar’s Chief Creative Officer. “Radar is teaming up with many of the industry’s top independent studios to help them create original IP in which they own a substantial ownership stake. Why is this important? Because in today’s industry it’s nearly impossible, unless you’re Epic or Valve, to create original games and not give away full IP ownership to the publisher. Radar believes that creators should share ownership, and all of the long-term benefits that come from that.” (First Official Press Release, March 2008)

With a few interviews and only one press release there aren’t very many details about the inner workings of Radar Group. To wet my curious appetite and to give readers a special look into the company I asked a few questions and got back responses from three of the most creative guys working for Radar; Scott Miller Chief Creative Officer, Raphael van Lierop Executive Creative Director, and Will Kerslake Creative Director.

What Inspired you to join/found Radar group?

Scott Miller, Chief Creative Officer - There is a giant opportunity within our industry to help indie studios create original IP in which they, co-own, which for indie studios in the Holy Grail that's nearly impossible to reach. Radar will help many studios achieve creative and financial independence, so that our industry is more populated with Valve's, Epic's and Remedy's.

Raphael van Lierop, Executive Creative Director - We founded Radar on the premise that original game IP developed by strong independent studios is at the heart of the game industry’s creative engine. Our goal is to ensure that talented developers can gain the opportunity to create successful games and new brands at the same time, and reap significant rewards for their efforts. This is a very different reality to what most independent studios currently face, where they often end up stuck in a cycle of work-for-hire projects based on ‘safe’ licensed properties, mostly coming from outside the game industry itself.

For me personally, I am passionate about creating excellent games and working with the most talented people in the industry. I’m also always trying to learn more and improve my skills, and Radar gives me the opportunity not only to play a role in guiding the creation of multiple new game properties, but also to work with several talented partners on both the developer and publisher sides. I’m definitely learning a lot, and quickly.

Will Kerslake, Creative Director - From a creative aspect, working for a company focused on original IP has a massive amount of appeal. There is a lot of pressure out there to make safer licensed titles, which is unfortunate as all the really big games in our industry, outside of sports titles, have all been original IPs.

I was also drawn to the company structure. By working collaboratively with other developers we can keep the core team small. Radar can maintain the flexibility of a smaller company to respond to changes in the industry, while then working with our development partners to create both the high quality and scale of content that gamers now expect.

The shared ownership of the IP with the developer is another big part. Having co-founded a small studio earlier in my career it’s incredibly difficult to spend years working on a title only to give it all away to the publisher at the end of the day. Knowing that they share in the IP when it’s completed gives our developer partners a massive incentive to put together the best game possible.
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