<< Back to Normal View
2, Issue 3
November 22, 1999
Back with a Bear
interview by Russell "RadPipe"
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.
departure from id Software was so quiet, I missed it. Why did
you leave and what have you been up to since?
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.
have been up to waiting for my dream job to come available, and
here I am.
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?
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.
have a sense of knowing that there is nothing, other than myself,
that can inhibit me from accomplishing any goal I set for myself.
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
have had very few, if any, dealings with id since being at Rogue.
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'.
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
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.
the best least-known thing about Jim Molinets?
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.
are your duties at Rogue? Mainly biz? Did you help during negotiations
for the Alice project?
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.
does the environment at Rogue differ from the environment at id?
going to make comparisons. However, the exceptional qualities
I see in Rogue are:
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.
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
Rogue be looking to fill in some ranks for the Alice project?
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:
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
freedoms will you have in the design/development of Alice, or
is it pretty much locked up? What stage is the design currently
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 :)
will making a 3rd-person game change the way Rogue usually develops?
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" :)
the strangest thing that's happened to you in the last week?
from a gaming site asked me to do an interview ;)
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.
<<Back to Normal View
- the best damn gaming magazine online
Credits: Print CGI is
© 2000 Square Eight. Used with permission.
Article is © 2000 its original author. All other content is © 2000
loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. You got that??