Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV/DEVELOP with their unique insight. This month, we talk to Hendrik Lesser, CEO of Remote Control Productions
You have been working with games for more than 23 years now. How did you become an active player in the games industry?
I started playing when I was four years old (40 years ago), and never stopped. I organized pirating clubs, not for the money but to get more games. That’s when the idea of working with and on games began to grow. As a teenager and early adult, I tried to make a game, I worked in a games store, I wrote reviews, and became an advocate for games at school and university.
After the abrupt end of my academic journey, I got my first proper job as an intern for Take 2, and then a few months later as a product manager. This was around the time we released Grand Theft Auto 3 and Max Payne and crazy enough I worked on both for language and violence QA. These were basically my first game credits. Let’s say I got lucky after two decades of inhaling games culture.
16 years ago you founded rcp – Why was it needed?
Especially in Germany, there were some cool developers out there, but many of them did not see this as a business or knew how to survive. There was a lack of lenses to see that you also need to do BizDev, professionalize leadership and get to grips with finance and other things you might consider boring or corporate.
This is where rcp chips in. Often as a developer you want to focus on the game now and not think about liquidity, regulations or what to do for your next game.
Thus, we help you to be able to do that but still confront you with important decisions in a guided manner while we take care of the other quests for you. On top of that, we can share our knowledge to guide strategic decisions, to help you build your team and structure the business so you can really thrive as a company. All while you stay the captains of your own ships.
Besides we create an ecosystem around the studios with a gamification and marketing agency and playing an active role to shape the ecosystem through lobbying – European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) and other initiatives incl. other trade bodies, a culture club, educational initiatives etc.
What are the main changes you experienced in the gaming industry since your beginnings?
Back in the early days I felt I knew all the relevant developers and games, but this hasn’t been possible for quite a while now. And don’t get me wrong – this is awesome because there has never been more diversity in studios, games and communities. And there will be even more in the future, which is something I embrace. The present & future hold way more opportunities.
What is the vision of rcp and the remote control family for the few next years?
To conquer the world, in a good way. We want to continue this bottom-up approach to the world to enable game developers everywhere to be as independent as possible while fighting the good fight together: to make better games and live a fulfilling and sustainable life in a cultural industry.
We want to grow this patchwork family constantly and we are always looking for fresh, driven studios to join and use the synergies of this collective
Who couldn’t you do your job without?
Most obviously the whole team. We have such a cool and diverse crew of people. We invite people to work with us and I am glad that the actual gang is riding along. Couldn’t be more proud of them and it feels great to be able to lead and guide them, and they more and more me.