Corporate Vision February 2017

, Changing the Game Rebellion ® is one of the top independent video game developer-publishers in Europe and has been producing hit games in the console and PCmarkets for over 20 years. Corporate Vision reached out to them to discuss the company’s successful transition from contractor to inde- pendent publisher. Based in Oxford in the UK, Rebellion was founded in 1992 by brothers Jason and Chris Kingsley. Over 24 years Rebellion has made a string of worldwide number one hits including Aliens Vs Predator, Rainbow Six, The Simpsons Game, Star Wars Battlefront Renegade Squadron and more. While Rebellion were originally known for working with big- name licenses for multi-national publishers, the company has successfully transitioned to a self-publishing model where it only develops its own games and IP, most notably the Sniper Elite series of World War 2 games. In late 2016 Rebellion released its first VR game, Battlezone, on PlayStation VR. While Rebellion still makes games that sell on store shelves, digital distribution has allowed the company to reach tens of millions gamers throughout the globe. Rebellion doesn’t just make games either – the company owns and publishes famous British sci-fi comic 2000 AD, a slew of genre book imprints, and Jason and Chris were Executive Producers on the recent Dredd film. “Rebellion’s philosophy is fairly simple – Jason and Chris help set the direction of game development teams, but they empower staff to be creative and run their own projects autonomously. “Our aim is to make great games, films, TV, comics and books to entertain people throughout the world. We work hard to find the best people in the world to create our products, and we’re always looking to see how we can improve everything we do. Almost as soon as we finish something, we start looking at how we can do things better. It’s a never-ending quest for perfection, that as we crest the peak of one hill of achievement we know there’s another, higher hill in front of us to climb. “Developing video games requires a unique blend of technology, creativity and interactivity, and it is essential, during what sometimes can be a multi-year process, to maintain the right balance between all these elements. Our games are made by often large teams of people, and we mix science and art to get an almost magic result, but it requires focus, constant course correction and persistence.” But in recent times, the business of Rebellion has been on more than the production of entertainments. The company has undergone a massive shift to becoming an independent studio, no longer reliant on contract work from outside sources or tied to outsourced tech. “Over the past few years we have made a transition from work-for-hire to being completely independent, so only working on own IP means we’ve reached a crucial milestone already – like reaching Everest basecamp, if you will. “I think Rebellion has thrived because we have tried to avoid using third-party technology wherever possible. It might need more investment in the short term, but it reduces your risk in the long run and allows you to react much more quickly to new opportunities, gets you to the front of the priority queue, and your technology can be made to fit exactly what you want to do. “From here it’s about developing the best multi-platform technology so that in five years’ time we can safely say we’re making the most ambitious games and creative projects of our careers, and making them available to as many people on as many devices as possible.” And now they have gained their independence, they plan to capitalise on it. But, how do they plan to navigate the fresh challenges that their newfound status will no doubt provide? “The video games industry is a massively competitive, worldwide industry. Digital distribution and freely-available game engines have blown open the market to anyone who has the skill, aptitude and perseverance to make and release games. Competition has never been fiercer, the number and of game developers is increasing fast, and there have never been more games released than before. And there’s always new technology coming through all the time – such as VR – that stand to shake up the industry in ways nobody can predict. “The keys to succeeding in this environment are ever-constant vigilance, always pushing creativity and technology as far as we can, and using our own technology base for agile and rapid development. “We aim to explore and talk to others as much as much as we can. There are disruptions and disruptors everywhere. Relationships with other industry leaders to share knowledge are obviously hugely important for us, and we’re lucky in video games that most developers see each other as colleagues, not rivals. However it’s important to look outside your own industry as well – to peek outside your own bubble.” Looking towards the future, Rebellion sees the great – potentially medium altering - opportunity that the release of virtual reality headsets into consumer’s homes could bring. “This technology has the potential to revolutionize not only the video games industry, but a lot of other industries too. It’s an amazing technology that’s still really in its infancy, but you simply have to experience it to understand what it is capable of. We’ve already taken our first steps into VR with the release of Battlezone on PlayStation VR, which is doing incredibly well for us, but we’ve got big plans for VR in the future.” “We aim to explore and talk to others as much as much as we can.