Here’s a chat I had with Hendrik Lesser, CEO and founder of remote control productions (RCP). For those of you not familiar with RCP, it’s an international videogame production house that holds offices in Germany, Finland, and Romania. Prior to starting RCP, Hendrik Lesser was known for his time at Rockstar Games. At DICE Europe 2017, he’ll be talking about the various public subsidies available to game creators. It was a fascinating talk that covered a brief history of European videogame culture, the challenges of creating games in a diverse continent, and the various types of support governments offer game makers. Here are some excerpts from my conversation with Hendrik Lesser.
On what prompted European governments to view games differently:
I think it started as far back as Grand Theft Auto 3. I would argue that it was primarily two countries that spearheaded this — France and the UK. France because they also had a different relation to modern art, especially in the space of comic books. They were more open to games because it reminded them of comics. In the UK, games like GTA3 pushed the boundaries of what was regarded as culture. Then there were the Nordic countries, which understood the business opportunities for young people in the future.
On the advantages and challenges of making games in a diverse continent:
The cultural variety is great. We always think about the unique and distinct styles each country has in regards to game making. I mentioned the French. They have a very strong focus on art. This makes a lot of sense based on the heritage. The UK never really had a problem with “Let’s have entertainment for everybody! Even if it’s a little more mature.” It took them awhile to implement the age ratings properly, but they were much more open in all kinds of layers of society to accept that.
With all these different conferences we have in Europe — with the different languages different styles — you get to see how these countries approach games in a different manner. For example, Finland is very strong at international distribution and monetization, but you could argue that they lack a certain sense of how to create great narrative in a game. It’s different in every country, even within their own region. You see different skillsets and you see different strengths. Some of them are based on culture and some of them are just coincidence.
It was fun and educational talking with Hendrik Lesser. I learned a lot in the short amount of time I chatted with him and am looking forward to his talk at DICE Europe 2017. Hopefully you find the full interview illuminating. You can check it out by hitting the link below.