Ten Ton Hammer has learned that Bill Roper, Executive Producer of
style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online,
has been promoted by Cryptic to Chief Creative Officer. After some
sniffing around, and some hefty bribes, we finally tracked Bill Roper
down in his secret underground lair to get the inside scoop.
Ton Hammer: Congratulations on your promotion to Chief Creative
Officer! Can you tell our readers what this move means in terms of your
Roper: Thanks! Basically,
I’m working with each team’s executive producer and
leads providing high-level concept and design assistance. I’m
also going to be a bridge between the teams and other executives to
assure that the individual game visions are being represented. The area
I am probably most excited about is coordinating concepts and
technologies between the teams while being involved in the top-level
Ton Hammer: How are you enjoying the job so far?
Roper: Moving from the
day-to-day duties on style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online
to a broader role is a great new place for me and the teams have been
excited at having me as a resource. I think it’s a great
meshing of strengths in that the teams are the stake-holders and vision
keepers. I’m not coming in with iron-fisted edicts that must
now be followed. I’m able to be a sounding board and a
creative energy they can tap. Whether it’s being a part of
writing up white-papers on new systems, or being
involved on play-tests, I’m glad to be someone who can help
in any way required.
Ton Hammer: Can you give us a brief biography of how you got involved
with gaming, and eventually Cryptic, and how you got to the position
you’re at now?
Roper: I started at Blizzard
Entertainment in 1994 on style="font-style: italic;">Warcraft:
Orcs and Humans.
I’ve done everything from total grunt work to world design
over the last 15.75 years. I’ve produced, designed, written
and performed voice-over, created manuals, done music and sound, and
even run community boards! While at Blizzard I worked on the style="font-style: italic;">Warcraft,
franchises and also managed the project oversight Strike Teams.
In 2003 I left Blizzard to start my own company (Flagship Studios) with
a group of guys from Blizzard North. With Flagship we created and
London while also launching a
second company (Ping0) to provide all of the back-end infrastructure
for an online game. We closed the studio in 2008 and in November of
that year I started at Cryptic Studios as Design Director and Executive
Producer on style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online.
Ton Hammer: So what is Jack Emmert up to now then?
Roper: Jack is the Chief
Operations Officer here at Cryptic and is still deeply involved in the
design of the games. He also is a conduit between Cryptic and Atari,
representing the interests and needs of our developers and our players.
I get to work closely with Jack on high-level design review for all the
teams, and together we’re incredibly focused on upping the
quality of our games and addressing the concerns and desires of our
Ton Hammer: Are your goals for Cryptic Studios similar to what they
were before the promotion or are there some cool new ideas that
you’re anxious to get started on?
evolving as a company, and I hope that’s good news to our
players. We haven’t been perfect – we own that and
also own the call to action to change that. We have new development
processes in place, new design principles we’re adhering to,
and an increased dedication to our communities and on putting out the
best products. Both Jack and I take a lot of heat personally for when
things aren’t up to snuff, and I know that we’re
both driven to make Cryptic a respected studio in terms of game quality
and community interaction. This is an amazing group of guys and gals,
and the amount and level of work that can be done is fantastic.
We’re making real changes with how things are done around
here to maximize their efforts. The Revelation expansion for style="font-style: italic;">Champions,
as well as the STF missions we’re putting out in style="font-style: italic;">STO,
is steps in that direction and this is only the beginning of what
you’ll see in the future.
Ton Hammer: What does this all mean for style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Champions
Online style="font-weight: bold;">, since you were
up that project?
Roper: Shannon Posniewski is
now the Executive Producer on style="font-style: italic;">Champions
and he brings a lot of experience to the table. Shannon has been with
Cryptic as a programmer since the “City of” days,
was the lead programmer for the last 6-9 months of getting style="font-style: italic;">Champions
out the door, and is our Director of Game Programming. I’ve
had the distinct privilege of working closely with him since I started
at Cryptic and know he’s going to be building off of the
great foundation we’ve built.
Ton Hammer: We’re very much looking forward to seeing more
from Cryptic in the years to come. Is there anything else
you’d like to share with readers at this time?
Roper: Oh, a lot –
but I’d get killed if I did! We have some stellar things
coming down the line for both style="font-style: italic;">Champions
Trek Online, as well as more
in the wings. Probably the biggest thing I’d like to share is
that we’re making changes with how we do things and what
we’re doing in our games and its based on what our community
is telling us they want. I’m very excited about what the
future holds and I hope that everyone comes out and plays our games and
sees what we’re doing.
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