After working at Blizzard for the last 20 years, with 10 of those spent as Chief Operating Officer, Paul Sams has now been hired as the Chief Executive Officer at Ready at Dawn, developers of The Order: 1886 and the God of War PSP games.
Former CEO, Ru Weerasuriya, will now serve as President and Chief Creative Officer, with the company expanding its operations to include a business hub in Austin, Texas.
Weerasuriya talked about the change:
It is never easy finding someone to take over the reins of a company after this many years, but I cannot think of anyone better suited to guide the team as we look to the future. He is one of the most accomplished, respected and experienced leaders in our industry. With Paul’s arrival, our studio in Irvine will turn its attention solely to creative and game development, while Austin will become the focus of our business endeavors. Paul’s expertise and industry knowledge positions us well to reach our company goals, including securing a strategic partner which will allow us to retain ownership of the transmedia IPs that we create.
Ready at Dawn is one of the best pure game developers in the industry. After 12 years, they remain an independent developer true to their craft of creating gameplay in unique and immersive worlds filled with engaging characters and experiences. Much like when I joined Blizzard, my role is to create an environment in which our talented team can focus on making games without the business constraints and limitations that can hamper the creative process.
In an interview with Games Industry, Sams said it’s a bit too early to talk about details for their future plans, but they’re looking into multi-platform development:
The one thing that is for sure is that we intend to continue to try and build some of the best games in the world. While we expect to continue in our tradition of making big AAA games, we will not rule anything out at this point. Great games come in many shapes and sizes these days and we will look to be involved with games that we believe in and that we love to play ourselves. Said another way, we are platform agnostic at this point – just like most gamers. Further, our technology now supports multi-platform development. Since the release of The Order, we have been very hard at work to advance our engine and technology to a place where we can deliver our games on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and one other unannounced platform that you will soon find out about.
Update: Ready at Dawn clarified the comment about the unannounced platform, with Game Informer writing, “The studio says that it does not have knowledge of an unannounced platform, but rather was speaking about its plans to develop for an existing platform that is new to the studio.”
While The Order IP was created by Ready at Dawn, Sony retains ownership of the property. According to Sams, they want to control every IP of theirs going forward:
We want to build, own and publish our own IPs in the future. We are in the process of trying to figure out how we will be able to achieve that goal. As for The Order, it was absolutely the company’s desire to own it. We love that game and we are proud of it. Unfortunately, we were at a point in the company’s evolution where owning that IP was not possible. We hope to not find ourselves in that position again.
Weerasuriya added, “We knew going in that it was one of the conditions of partnering with Sony, so in that sense, there is no regret. With the amount of work we placed in creating The Order as an IP, our initial desire was definitely to retain ownership. But at the time, we also knew that it would take a partner to place focus and effort into all the ancillary work beyond the game itself.”
Just as they’ve said before, The Order: 1886 was meant as the first story in a larger franchise. “There is a lot more to tell as you can see from the way the game ends,” Weerasuriya says. “We of course have aspirations for the future of the IP and our involvement in its growth.”
Sams echoed that statement by saying, “We would love to be part of building The Order as a franchise. It is an IP that we created, that we deeply love and that we believe in. We cannot say more than that regarding The Order at this time.”