Every month, an industry leader graduates from MCV / DEVELOP with his unique insight. This month we’re talking to Richie Turner, managing director of Warp Digital Entertainment.
Take us through your 32 years in the games!
I started my career as a small Sheffield developer working on the Atari ST and Amiga titles, then moved to London to work at Domark and Virgin Interactive Entertainment as a Mega Drive and SNES engineer. I spent about nine years at VIE working on various titles before I started Falcone: in the vortex (which unfortunately was canned since VIE went coat). After VIE, I spent several years as a senior engineer at Blue52 and one year at EA, working on Harry Potter franchise before co-founding Curve Studios with Jason Perkins, whom I met at Blue52.
At Curve, we designed and developed PSP versions of Elderberry! Quiz franchise before working on your own IP, Hydroventure (Liquid in the US) with Nintendo.
After the success of Stealth Inc. (née Bastard) franchise, we switched to publishing to help our indie friends get on the consoles. We sold the publishing company in 2016, after which I left the business to create Warp Digital with Curve’s engineering staff to stay close to our development roots.
What was a memorable highlight of your career?
We work with Nintendo on our own Hydroventure the games were a fantastic experience. Working closely with their design and production team has taught us so much about design and technology and putting fun first! It was an extremely proud moment to watch the late great Satoru Iwata play our game!
What do you say is your greatest achievement?
We became independent with Warp again, especially after leaving a company we grew up with. I am incredibly proud of how the Warp team has gone through many disciplines of developing original titles, transferring games to others and now co-developing AAA, and we are still together and enjoying new challenges.
I am still amazed by the level of expertise in the company, illustrated recently by one of our co-development teams, who passed the console certification for the first time on all platforms!
What are your ambitions for the future?
I did the full range of development from original IP addresses through WFH and porting and I would like to bring Warp back to the beginning and get stuck in some of our ideas! He has a huge appetite for games in Warp; we all play together in our free time and have a passion to create something new. Don’t get me wrong, working on other people’s titles is extremely rewarding, but I think it’s time to do something of our own!
What do you see as the biggest challenges for the gaming industry in the coming years?
The effects of the pandemic have forever affected the work environment. I think we all agree that telecommuting is generally positive, but it also poses some huge obstacles. Moving to a remote studio and preserving the company culture is a whole new challenge that we did not expect to come. I think we’ve done a pretty good job at Warp with frequent social events, regular company-wide meetings and gaming sessions, so we’re confident that the industry will adapt in the future.
Do you think the industry is in a good place?
I think it’s in a great place! The negatives of the pandemic also have huge positives! We can now hire from a global talent pool and the barrier to entry has been reduced for those people who have previously watched an expensive move. At Warp we were lucky enough to hire exceptional talent all the way to Finland and Canada! This makes the industry and the world a closer, more intimate place, which is one thing we can all appreciate right now.