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Vol. 2, Issue 3
November 22, 1999
Kicking Back with a Bear

An interview by Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon

In the fall of '98, Barrett Alexander quietly packed up his belongings and slipped out the doors of id Software. It wouldn't be the last time the ex-military turned-biz guy set foot in the big black office building in Mesquite Texas, home of id, but it would be the last time as an id employee. What is he up to now, and why does he still work in the same building? Read on, dear gamer.

Your departure from id Software was so quiet, I missed it. Why did you leave and what have you been up to since?

Well, to be completely honest, I was fired. I'm sure as hell man enough to admit the truth, and I'm definitely not going to tell the public anything but. We all make mistakes and I was terribly unhappy and was unable to pursue new opportunities as much as I would have liked. I suspect they saw the dramatic drop in my attitude and thus my work and decided to let me go at that point. I'm really glad they did. Aggressive people need to grow their responsibilities, learn, advance, and are driven to achieve. When those opportunities are unavailable, it's time for a change. My time had come.

I essentially have been up to waiting for my dream job to come available, and here I am.

A little background: you were a marine once, a long time ago, and you've also done a stint in computerized home security (or so I've been told). What skills, that you've learned through these experiences (or others), helps you most with your role as CEO?

This is a great question. I'm very proud of having been a Marine, and attribute a lot of my strength to such. Without a doubt, I would have to say that my ability to not get 'rattled' under pressure is the key to many business dealings. When things get hot, or someone is putting pressure on you, it is great to be able to say in your mind "I've been yelled at by the very best, and you're not it!" - I am not intimidated by anyone in business.

I also have a sense of knowing that there is nothing, other than myself, that can inhibit me from accomplishing any goal I set for myself.

Does it feel a little strange dealing with id Software from the opposite view now? Do you feel that you have an inside track when you talk to them?

I really have had very few, if any, dealings with id since being at Rogue.

I feel a little weird being down the hall from them, but as far as having any advantage when talking to them, not really. I definitely know why they do what they do, and I certainly know what to expect and how I think they would react to certain situations. But, they're still id Software, and that means they'll pretty much lead the way in most situations, regardless of whether or not someone has 'the inside track'.

You and [head of Rogue Entertainment] Jim Molinets have been friends for a long time now. How did he approach you about working for Rogue? (And why the heck did he take so long in offering you a job?)

You are correct, Jim and I, over the past few years, have become great friends. Actually, we had discussed this opportunity many times. Back then, however, Rogue was a very small tight group, unable to accommodate new faces. I think the experience I gained from the time we first spoke about it, to the point at which I started with Rogue was absolutely invaluable (which by the way was part time from my house in December of '98). I worked in numerous business situations at id and especially after leaving id, that contributed to my overall experience level and also granted me the opportunity to see if business was truly the direction I wanted to take in my career. I must admit that being Rogue's 'Biz Guy', is unequivocally, where I want to be, doing what I want to do. So it really was all a matter of timing.

What's the best least-known thing about Jim Molinets?

Ha, aside from being the most entertaining person to be around that I know, I would definitely have to say that even though Jim is on the 'Artistic' side of the business, he actually has a great deal more common sense than most people I know. This definitely contributes to a keen understanding of a vast number of topics, from game design to business and beyond. His sense of reasoning (I know you asked for the 'thing' not 'things' but this seems to tie in) is astounding. He is able to understand and foresee potential problems in all sorts of situations. He is terribly sharp. You said 'least' known, and after typing all that I thought to myself, "ya know, everyone might know that about Jim already". If they didn't, they do now.

What are your duties at Rogue? Mainly biz? Did you help during negotiations for the Alice project?

Well, during Rogue's current growth phase, my duties are greatly varied. I handle everything that is not directly related to game development. My primary role here is to conduct all of the company business, including the day to day operations, as well as looking ahead for new opportunities. My responsibilities also include a lot the things similar to what I did at id, like dealing with outside entities, including PR and items of that nature. I definitely had a role in the Alice negotiations, especially the contract nitty gritty. However, I was (actually, we all were) amazed at how straight forward EA was and how easy it is to deal with them. So far they have been outstanding to work with and we only see this fledgling relationship strengthening.

How does the environment at Rogue differ from the environment at id?

I'm not going to make comparisons. However, the exceptional qualities I see in Rogue are:

1. The TEAM environment. It's amazing, everyone has input, and your opinion is treated as if there is an ounce of validity prior to it being 'shot down'! No, really, even me, Mr. Biz guy, gets to sit in on design meetings. Everyone is treated equally, period, and there is no replacement for that when running a business.

2. Belief in the individuals that create the team. Rogue stands behind all of their employees. In my case, giving me the freedom to go out, make a decision, and then have them stand behind it. Not every decision is going to be perfect, I'm human (hey, like I said, I like to be honest). However, they trust that I have enough sense (and understanding of direction for the company) that if I make a poor decision, it won't impact the business so badly that it matters. It's great to work for people who believe and trust in you.

Will Rogue be looking to fill in some ranks for the Alice project?

Absolutely. We expect to be up to 15 or 16 people in the next few months. In particular we need, well, pretty much all facets of game design; Programmers, 3D Artists (especially good game character animators), and Level Designers. You can visit our web site at:


We haven't currently posted all the positions we need filled, but over the next couple of weeks you should see details on more openings. If there are experienced developers (I emphasize 'experienced') out there that are ready to make a move, we truly are looking for all positions, so, drop me an email.

Rogue Entertainment is a low-key company that drifts along in the background yet consistently produces great work. What do you attribute Rogue's continuing success to?

Hard work and focus! Even though this is an extraordinarily unique industry where there is a lot of fun to be had, it's still a business and should be treated as such. Rogue has always kept their proverbial 'nose to the grindstone', taken care of business first, and played second. This is what intrigues me the most about Rogue. They have built a solid foundation for the company, which will allow Rogue to flourish where others would fail. Essentially, many of the normal mistakes, pitfalls and learning curves have already been experienced. In particular, related to the Alice project, we are definitely ready for prime time again. Rogue knows how the gaming industry works and what it takes to get an incredible game done, and done on time.

How will Rogue be tackling the task of communication with the Redwood City team? Will EA be sending someone out to Rogue to help? Who's your point person at EA?

Essentially we're in direct contact with American McGee at all times. His role as the title's Director allows EA and Rogue to work together to craft a new benchmark in gaming. He visits periodically, to keep track of the progress and to get input from the team here, while we continue along working with Jim, our internal producer, to make Alice up to our combined standards of quality. EA and American have entrusted a lot of faith in us.

What freedoms will you have in the design/development of Alice, or is it pretty much locked up? What stage is the design currently at?

American and EA have been amazingly open minded from the beginning. They have asked for input from day one and are always ready to listen to new ideas, even as we progress through the development cycle. As far as the current stage of development goes, it's EA's place to talk about that :)

How will making a 3rd-person game change the way Rogue usually develops?

Well, I think the best answer to this question would be, "looks like it's time for an interview with Jim Molinets, Rogue's resident producer type" :)

What's the strangest thing that's happened to you in the last week?

Ha, someone from a gaming site asked me to do an interview ;)

Thanks, Barrett!

- Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon is some guy who just walked into the loonygames office and started calling himself Features Editor. The position wasn't filled so we kept him.


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