(I wrote this post a week after Radar's announcement, but it never made it on the site because we were trying to set up comments and other features. And finally we decided to drop all of that and just bring the blog back to my original home.)
After our well covered announcement, there were numerous good questions posted in both gamer and developer-oriented discussion forums. I’ve borrowed several of these questions to post and answer here:
o How is Radar related to 3D Realms?
Quite simply, it’s not related. Both 3DR and Radar are entirely separate companies, with separate management. Well, except me. I’m a co-owner and manager at 3DR, but for all intents and purposes, Radar is my full-time job now.
o Where is Radar located?
We’re headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, but that's just where the CEO resides and two of his executive henchmen. The reality is that Radar is a distributed company. This means that we are located wherever we want to live—there’s no requirement to relocate. Currently we have several people in Canada, several people in California, several people in Arizona, and two people in Texas--11 people total, and growing.
There are two key advantages for us as a distributed company: The first is that we can hire better people, because often the best candidate loves where they live and doesn’t want to move. And second, since we remotely coordinate as a company, that transitions well into remotely coordinating with our development partners. We can reuse the tools and lessons learned from working internally and use those tested approaches with our distributed partners. In effect, Radar’s Creative Directors become an extension of the development team, and are always available to spend time on-site, so that they are fully involved with the process and can support the developer in any way required by the studio.
o Are we a think-tank that creates concepts, and then hires studios to make the game?
Not at all. In many cases talented development studios have a strong concept, but they cannot get publisher buy-in because the concept is too innovative, and therefore seen as too risky. We’re also interested in working with studios who may have strong development skills but are lacking their own strong IP to develop, because we have a catalog of Radar- and Depth-conceived IP ‘cores’ that can be chosen from. But even in these cases, we’re not handing down a completed design—we just have a core, which needs to be fleshed out with the team as part of a co-design process.
The bottom-line is that we want to work with studios to co-create and co-design concepts, so that everyone has buy-in and creative ownership.
o How are you different from agents?
Agents add no creative or production value to a project, nor do they provide funding or management resources to help monetize an IP in a cross-media fashion. In short, we are nothing like an agent.
Now that I’ve answered a few of the questions I’ve seen, here’s what a few game developers are saying about Radar after our announcement:
First, a well-known industry designer wrote: “My favorite thing about the concept of RADAR is that it splits out two major aspects of the business that the publishers currently hold, project incubation and retail distribution. In trying to do both, most publishers end up with a never-ending series of…assistant producers and execs (with sales/business backgrounds) trying to shape games. Further, the pubs have to be so large in order to do both that it just invites all the worst aspects of large organizations (in terms of speed, communications, efficiency, etc). I’m hopeful this will create specialization (splitting game/IP shaping and moving mass quantities of “product”) that ends up being healthy for games.”
And a successful studio owner based in the UK wrote: “It’s the perfect time for something like this, particularly with the people involved. Many publishers are seriously struggling to break new IP, and many devs are spending too much of a percentage of their time on, err, developing, rather than bringing their passion to the brand with input into the marketing and PR plan, which is hampering the possibilities of breaking through.”
Finally, two closing comments from two developers, reflecting the general attitude we’ve seen:
“I’m definitely excited to see where this goes. Breaking apart the monolithic funding + IP incubation + distribution lock that the publishers have seems like it would be a long term win-win for everyone.”
“The whole thing sounds brilliant to me but only because of the credibility you guys bring. In this case you already have an extremely strong IP track record.”