Game developer has triple-A ambition

By Vaughan Elder

Game developer Rashad Redic at Steamer basin, next to the RocketWerkz office. Photo / Otago Daily Times / Gregor Richardson
Game developer Rashad Redic at Steamer basin, next to the RocketWerkz office. Photo / Otago Daily Times / Gregor Richardson

A United States game developer will use his experience working on some of the world's biggest games to help an ambitious Dunedin studio make global blockbusters of its own.

Rashad Redic, originally of Oakland, arrived in Dunedin last month to take up a position as creative director at rapidly growing games studio RocketWerkz, which was launched by Dean Hall after the runaway success of his zombie survival game DayZ.

"I got off the plane, dumped my bags at the hotel and came right to work,'' Mr Redic said.

He shared Mr Hall's vision of helping build a studio which follows in the footsteps of some the world's biggest games studios and hopes what he has learned from 15 years in the industry will help.

Among the games he had worked on were critically acclaimed role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which has sold more than 20million copies, and the post-apocalyptic hit Fallout 3, both of which were made by Bethesda.

He was already impressed by what he had seen at the new studio, saying the way its games were created was much more "organic'' than at other studios he had worked at, which tended to get bogged down by bureaucracy.

He was also impressed it had already released a game, called Out of Ammo, which is a lighthearted tower defence game that has garnered positive reviews since it was released for the cutting edge HTC Vive virtual reality headset last month.

"I like that the studio is as young as it is and we have already released games, because that's why we do it.''

He could have easily stayed working at Bethesda, but his ambition caused him to leave and eventually led him to Dunedin.

"I could have stayed there and I could have coasted for the rest of my career, but I like to do things that keep me a little bit uncomfortable, because when you are uncomfortable in your job it means you are learning something new.''

After years working at big studios he was ready to stake his claim in the gaming world and help build a studio from the ground up.

"I met Dean in London and he would always talk about coming home to create a games industry here. I liked the spirit of what Dean wanted to do.''

Being a creative director had also been a goal for a long time.

"I always made a point of changing my role every two years, so I could understand the entire process of making a game from every perspective.''

This included working on character art, environment art, visual effects and animation.

He would use what he had learnt in these roles to help mentor staff at the studio, many of whom were new graduates.

A final selling point for moving to Dunedin was the syringe-filled doughnuts at Octagon cafe Nova - something he said would not be a surprise to people who knew him and his love of doughnuts.

It was still "early days'' when it came to RocketWerkz working on a "triple-A'' game - the industry term for games with the highest development budgets and levels of promotion.

But his experience helping create the massive virtual worlds in which The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 3 are set would help RocketWerkz make games that were ambitious in their scale, without requiring the amount of resources used to make similar-sized games.

He believed people would be "surprised'' at just how ambitious its games would be.

- Otago Daily Times

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