gaming since 1997

Kenn Hoekstra

1. What made you decide it was time to take a break?

It was a combination of factors. Some recent events in my personal life have left me longing for the opportunity to do more things for “me” in my life. At the same time, I’d also reached a point in my Raven career where it made sense for me to leave. It was ultimately a strange series of events, but I decided to take the opportunity and make it happen…for me. A generic answer, I know, but it really is hard to explain. I guess when the time is right, it’s just…right.

2. What is the first thing you’re going to do now that you’re no longer working for Raven?

Well, the first thing I’m doing is getting some of my personal affairs in order. Things like going to the doctor for a physical and rolling over my 401k into an IRA and making up a monthly expense budget, etc. etc. I’m also catching up on some movies and visiting my family…a lot of the things I’ve been putting off for far too long. I may actually read a book from cover to cover again soon, too. Shock! Awe! Horror! 🙂 Resident Evil Zero for GameCube is still calling to me, too.

3. You’ve worked for over seven years at Raven Soft. Which of the projects you worked on was the most interesting for you and why?

Take No Prisoners was probably the most interesting for me because it was the first game I’d ever worked on. The whole experience was just amazing because I learned so much. Hexen II: Portal of Praevus was cool because that was my first experience with the Quake technology. Elite Force was cool because of my big history as a Trek fan. Hell, they were all interesting for one reason or another. No two projects were alike and that’s what made working on them fun.

4. I assume you were working on Quake 4. Why not wait until that game was finished?

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t doing much with Quake IV other than general project support. It was a very limited role. I was focusing the bulk of my efforts on supporting X-Men Legends and at this point in the project they didn’t really need me anymore, either. The timing of my departure was good for me and for the company. That’s why I chose to go when I did.

5. Have you got any thoughts already what you’ll be doing after your break?

I plan to do some freelance and contract work within the industry and maybe write a book or two on getting a job in game development and/or grass roots and online marketing for games. I certainly have no shortage of things to do with my time. I’m excited about the possibilities.

6. Will you return to the game industry or are you going to try for something completely different?

Both, actually. I’m going to try to do things within the industry while simultaneously working on my screenwriting and other independent projects. I don’t know if I can have the best of both worlds, but I’m certainly going to try.

7. Working for a game company can be very rewarding but also very time-consuming. What have you missed most during your time with Raven?

I managed to balance my time very well. My philosophy after the first three or four years at Raven was “no one’s ever gone to their grave saying gee, I really wish I would have spent more time at the office.” As such, I tried to balance my schedule to make time for me and for my family. When there was a shortage, it was the “me” time that missed out. I haven’t played a lot of games or read a lot of books or travelled much as a result. However, I plan to rectify that situation shortly…

8. You have a lot of experience in the gaming industry. What would you put as main point to look out for for people who want to start in this business?

At this point, I still think that working on mods and basically creating your own industry experience and portfolio is the best way to get in. Teach yourself as best you can (Internet tutorials are your friend). Take every opportunity to learn. Try as many things as you can. Be persistent. Don’t get discouraged. Finish that mod.

As a side note, my article on getting a job in the industry is still up at www2.ravensoft.com/getajob.htm. Eventually it will move to my personal site, but not for a while yet. Check that out, too.
Thanks to Kenn for answering our questions 🙂


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