We talked with Behaviour Interactive's new Senior Producer about Warhammer 40K.
News rolled in over the weekend that Nathan Richardsson was taking up the reigns of Senior Producer at Behaviour Interactive for Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade. Interested in all-things-Warhammer and a self-professed lover of spandex as well as technoviking, Nathan brings with him over a decade of experience in the industry.
Earlier this week we chatted with Nathan about his knowledge, interests and how things are looking over in Eternal Crusade.
Nathan Richardsson has been on the gaming scene for quite a while; he spent many years with CCP as the Executive Producer for projects such as EVE Online, DUST 514 and World of Darkness. Following CCP, he also was the Executive Producer at Trion of Defiance's fixed-date launch and Senior Producer at Ubisoft, working on an undisclosed project, along with consulting jobs in-between.
Nathan discussed moving to work at Behaviour Interactive, first and foremost because he's "a huge 40K fan" and that Warhammer is a "big passion of mine." Seeing the job opening, he felt that the job would be a good fit with his previous experience in working on shooters, as well as being a FPS gamer himself, competing in online leagues prior to working on games.
Well-versed in Warhammer universe, Nathan estimates he's read about 100 of the books at this point. "I'm a Blood Angel, that's my faction," he said, continuing: "Space Marine Blood Angels. That was probably the first question I got... it had nothing to do with if I was close to having the experience to do the job, it was [just] like, 'Are you a Warhammer fan?'. Which I am!"
We asked Nathan what he was bringing to BI based on past experience, and he commented that not only has he been involved as management, but also from being part of the gaming community. "I have very strong belief in the involvement of the community, and the feedback from various different sources, in terms of being a very large part of the development process itself."
"Everybody here is passionate about what they're doing. They've been amazing and welcoming, so I think we'll be able to achieve amazing things."
Nathan mentioned that, even though it's not something that's planned, he does hope that eventually they can bring Eternal Crusade to console. "Technically, we are ready for it," he said, "but I also believe in priority and focus, so I would like us to make a good experience first on PC and then we'll move on."
Being knowledgeable in the Agile scrum development process also helps with Nathan's integration with both the team and the existing Eternal Cruade community. "We involve the players quite a lot. We're transparent. There's no marketing firewall or anything like that." Nathan mentions that he's always been quite vocal, and thinks that dialogue and feedback are a huge part making something successful.
"I bring a few things to the table... including my gut."
Nathan has been pouring through all the plans, getting up to speed with the game's current state of development. "I have the same approach as I do with involving everybody on the player side; I believe that planning should be a process which is done by the entire team." Together, they'll look for any gaps in development, what's missing, what could be improved, and so on. "That workshop is not about changing things; it's about involving everybody... to continuously improve, to look at the plan, to re-visit it regularly."
As a gamer, he's been following Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade from the day it was announced. "In terms of knowing everything intricately, I wouldn't say I'm the biggest expert," Nathan told us. "I've met all of the team just in the last couple of days. (laughs) Fortunately, I have a head-start in terms of the universe and the world itself." He went on to mention that he's kept up on the game's livestreams and YouTube content, and due to the team's transparency it always felt easy to catch up both externally and now internally.
Looking specifically at the Warhammer universe, we inquired what interests Nathan the most about it:
"Well, where to start? I'm a fan of the very grim, dark future. That doesn't necessarily mean gore or anything like that, but Warhammer is a pretty dark universe. It's very, very big. It's a HUGE universe. You have so many factions, so many agendas, and wars, and you have so many large characters, with names larger than life. You have conflict than spans millennia, and there's just so much room for story-telling, for a lot of drama, for different types of games.
"All those aspects attract me. I think that for me, in general, being a sci-fi guy, I was attracted to it."
We asked about whether Eternal Crusade would see more armies, and while not going into specifics, Nathan did tell us that there will be more introductions in the game. "We have something coming up around that in the coming weeks, hopefully, and we hope to involve community quite a lot in that."
Nathan Richardsson is sure to be a great addition to Behaviour Interactive and the Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade community. Not only does he know his stuff, but how can you resist a fun guy who, upon request for a headshot, sends you these photos with a warning of "use at your own risk!"?
"I'm supposed to be the very serious guy, and usually producers in the industry are supposed to be carrying a whip, or a chainsaw, or something horrible. But that's not how I am at all. I think people will see that... and hopefully my jokes won't offend everybody. Maybe half, but not everybody." —Nathan Richardsson
We like to thank Nathan for taking the time to speak with us and look forward to the continuing development of Eternal Crusade! You can get a Founder's Pack now over on the official site.
Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor