Often times, it’s hard to really know the names and faces behind some of the biggest games in the business. Some names are instantly recognizable like Hideo Kojima, Cory Barlog, Ed Boon, and Shigeru Miyamoto, but overall there are thousands of developers making all the games everyone knows and loves. One name to know, however, is Roland Lesterlin who runs People can fly‘s Project Dagger and is an executive producer at the company’s New York studio.
In the past, Lesterlin worked at game-focused companies such as Blue Eye Pictures, Atari, Avalanche Studios, Defiant Studios and now People Can Fly New York. Most may know Lesterlin from his work on Just cause 3, and now he’s working on Project Dagger for PCF, a game he says will “surprise” people. Game Rant recently had the chance to speak with Lesterlin, as well as Sam Girardin and People Can Fly Canada CEO Sebastian Wojciechowski, on a variety of topics in this interview series.
People Can Fly to New York – Roland Lesterlin
Behind every game designer and developer, in particular, hides a gamer at heart. Lesterlin describes PlayStation as his favorite platform, although he also enjoys Game Pass on Xbox. Some of his favorite games include Mario 64, Golden Eye, Red Dead Redemption, Half-Life 2, and more recently, games like Death loop and Hell. Its most anticipated games of 2022 include Starfield, Horizon Forbidden West, God of War: Ragnarok, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.
Where People Can Fly and Roland Lesterlin align the most is their eye on the future, new IPs and big games. As Lesterlin himself put it, “One of the main reasons I was thrilled to join PCF was this quest for original properties, which is quite rare in our industry these days. Indeed, this is because new IPs tend to be riskier than remasters and sequels.
This progression of new games is in the company’s DNA, as PCF Creative Director Bartek Kmita once commented on his confidence in People Can Fly’s latest new IP, Riders. A lot of times people complain about the lack of new games in the industry, as well as the current role of remasters and remakes in the industry, but Lesterlin and all PCF are dedicated to new IPs and big games on top of that.
New IPs and big games really go hand in hand, and as Lesterlin said, “I love making big games, really. It’s in my DNA. It’s always a place to start too. Some of the The most important and popular IPs today were once new IPs and big games, such as Half-life, Red Dead, and other games like The last of us 2. What exactly Project Dagger is remains to be seen, but fans can expect People Can Fly’s quality and AAA approach, a brand new IP, and a big game.
This isn’t to discredit all remasters though. Lesterlin is very fond of it, on one condition:
“I think people who see a remaster allow a new group of players to play back some of the great ideas that have been made and hopefully inspire people to want to make games themselves or to explore. the gaming industry in general. Just because they didn’t look so good 25 years ago doesn’t mean that there weren’t enough great ideas yet. So, I guess I’m all for remasters, as long as we don’t forget that doing new things is hugely important.
People Can Fly to New York – Project Dagger
Many may be curious about the current game of PCF New York, which is only known as Project Dagger. Obviously, with the game still a long way from release, there isn’t much that is known or could be said about it. What is publicly available is that Project Dagger is an action-adventure title, currently slated for release in 2024. Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Dead red and Grand Theft Auto‘s Rockstar Games, will also release Project Dagger. And while New York announces the project, studios in Montreal and Chicago are also putting their expertise to good use.
Regarding the Dagger Project in particular, Lesterlin could only say that there is a lot of PCF knowledge being tapped into the game and that the company as a whole wants to create high quality games across the board. With Project Dagger, Lesterlin says, “I think we’re going to surprise people, and I think it’s going to be an exciting game once we can one day talk about it.
CEO Sebastian Wojciechowski, on this subject, also said: “Project Dagger is an action-adventure game, which shows our willingness to explore ideas distinct from our previous games.” People Can Fly, as a whole, has a history in shooting video games, so this marks a distinct turning point that could very well show the diversity of the company.
People Can Fly New York – Open Communication and Collaboration
Of course, at the end of the day, Lesterlin is just one name that works at People Can Fly New York, and it’s not just one studio when it comes to People Can Fly. People Can Fly’s North American studios, located in New York, Montreal and Chicago, as well as European studios all work closely together, and in terms of this collaboration, Lesterlin says “it’s honestly hard to tell the difference. Between the studios. There are also tracks all over the world, not just in these cities, and so there is a lot of constant work with these other parts.
This obviously also leads to an increase in the reputation of People Can Fly in North America. Lesterlin describes the gaming industry as huge when it comes to money, but not so huge when it comes to people, so “words fly fast if you’re not a good place to work… C it’s pretty cool to hear comments from people we ‘hired that “oh, I heard from my friend who heard such a thing that is really awesome.” Then they get on board and they feel it continues.
It’s also worth noting that Lesterlin mentioned that People Can Fly offers language courses, and although English is the primary company language used around the world, there are courses in Polish and others. types so that everyone can understand each other. Such a decision highlights just how open and honest the business is, as there have been reports across industries around the world of how different languages within a business can lead to communication issues, harassment, etc. It’s a small thing, of course, but it’s a small thing that matters in establishing the company’s global identity.
As the creative leader in this large United Studios of People Can Fly family, especially since many PCF employees are still at a distance due to the pandemic, Lesterlin describes his role as follows:
As a creative lead you want to watch it all, but with distributed people you don’t have time to see it all. So that means you have to pass some of that creative decision making on to the individual developers and really let them own their functionality and push it. So this has created an organization where people are really honest with each other with great feedback loops, while still being very respectful. We all know how difficult it is to work from home, with families in the background, and we want to make sure that we get as much creativity and curiosity as possible, which means listening to them and adapting.
It works beyond New York and Montreal as well, including the former Phosphor team and now PCF Chicago. With the arrival of Chicago, this not only gave the ex-Phosphor group more stability and bigger projects to work on, but PCF moved directly to harnessing Chicago know-how, as Lesterlin has describes the experience as adding a new level of “expertise to the Dagger.” team because they have had a lot of experience with Unreal for a long time. It helped us through all of our toolchains and ideas… Suddenly the next day [following the employment of ex-Phosphor], I have a whole new group of awesome developers ready to go.
About People Can Fly New York and PCF as a whole, Lesterlin says, “I think, stressing this, there is an identity of openness, honesty, curiosity and compassion towards people who want to may our differences be positive. We all play games for a living; we are so lucky to have this job already. At the end of the day, we’re trying to do something that brings joy to the player. “
People can fly work on Riders, Project Dagger, Project Gemini and a new self-published project.
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