VAN, 07:56 AM
VAN, 07:56 AM

Getting Ready for GDC: Our Leaders Reflect On Game Preservation, Honor Their Favorite Titles

Getting Ready for GDC: Our Leaders Reflect On Game Preservation, Honor Their Favorite Titles

Our attendees for the Game Developers Conference 2024 have been revealed. As our teams get ready to jump into the whirlwind of networking and panel discussions, we decided to ask them a few ‘appetizer’ questions. So, we chatted with the company’s key executives to learn what they expect from GDC, their takes on this year’s ‘Game Preservation’ topic, and which classic titles they’d like to see reinvigorated. Check out our blitz interview below!

This year, more than ever, one of the industry’s priorities is preserving classic titles. So much so that GDC made ‘Game Preservation’ their key theme for 2024. What’s your take on the topic, and how do you see it influencing gaming in the near future?

Anna Kozlova, CEO:

The fact that 87% of classic games in the US are critically endangered is alarming, and makes us wonder not only how this happened, but also how the industry can do better. It is easy to forget that even outstanding, critically acclaimed contemporary games stand on the shoulders of giants, drawing inspiration and technical solutions from previous generations of games. Preserving and cherishing the titles that allowed us to get to the point we are at today is paramount, and I am proud that we at Room 8 Group are contributing by releasing tools like REI and improving our remastering and porting expertise. The games industry still has to do a lot to spark users’ interest in the classic games, and I am happy that this topic is at the forefront of key industry events like GDC.

Sviatoslav Pohrebnoi, Board Member:

As a gamer and somebody who considers the industry not only a business, but an art form, I care deeply about game preservation. Looking at the games industry in retrospect, seeing how much it has evolved, fills me with extra appreciation for the classic titles. Older games deserve to be treated with reverence, just like older works are in other art forms, so it’s our joint responsibility to preserve them. Influential events like GDC addressing this issue and drawing attention to the need to save classic titles is a good sign, and I support this wholeheartedly.

Our PC & Console Development team are masters of creating top-of-the-class ports and remasters. And, as an external solutions partner, our company is eager to take on the projects that aim to revitalize classic titles, bringing them to the modern audience.

Julien Proux, Executive Vice President of Art:

Game preservation is a topic close to my heart, symbolizing not just the conservation of products, but the safeguarding of our cultural heritage and collective memory. As a father and somewhat older game developer I find myself actively revisiting this heritage with my kids and students. It is a testament to our industry’s evolution, highlighting the need to ensure future generations have access to the games that have shaped countless lives and defined the digital age.

Game preservation serves as a bridge between the past, present, and future. It enables us to study and appreciate the technological leaps we’ve made, teaching invaluable lessons about design, storytelling, and player engagement. Games are an art form worthy of the same respect and preservation efforts as literature, film, and music. It is not just an act of looking back, but a forward-facing endeavor that shapes how we innovate, operate, and collaborate.

Benjamin Paquette, Head of Creative at Solid Bash by Room 8 Group:

Game preservation is all about how content is supported: both content you’ve purchased and paid for, which should be permanently owned and stored by the owner, and old games that should be archived and resupplied. If we take TV media as an analogy, it’s becoming apparent that streaming services are letting people down through cost increase and loss of content access. Games going in that direction might be doing that at the very worst time possible, when people lose trust in streaming. Overall, it’s a fascinating and worrying topic worth discussing.

Nick Burns, Head of Quality Assurance:

With the games industry consolidating so much, I expect many classic titles to be released again—if and when it is profitable. This will be especially relevant for those titles that are not already on PC, where backwards compatibility is almost a non-issue. There are also legal concerns with individual IP holders or with those owning only a piece of the overall pie—so multiple stakeholders have to agree on next steps.

Ellis McCusker-Thompson, Global Head of Marketing:

It’s refreshing to see the topic of game preservation growing more popular. It’s important not to lose sight of all the cultural, artistic, and technical movements that were expressed through video games over the years. At Room 8 Group, we recently launched the Render Engine Infrastructure (REI) tool, which simplifies the process of porting games built on custom or proprietary engines to new platforms, and will make game preservation easier. Watch this space.

Sergii Miroshnychenko, Head of PC/Console Service Line:

We don’t expect a decrease in the number of games released over the next couple of years, but some changes will definitely take place. Being one of the leading co-development companies, we are chasing new partnerships to support our potential customers in their journey. We have several super weapons to do that, which we will share in due course.

To expand on the game preservation topic—if you could pick any classic game, which one would you like to see arrive at the current generation of platforms? Why?

Julien Proux, Executive Vice President of Art:

If I were to select one, it would be the iconic Chrono Trigger. This masterpiece from the golden age of RPGs stands out not only for its innovative gameplay and narrative, but also for how it pushed the boundaries of what games could be in terms of storytelling, character development, and player choice. Chrono Trigger is a testament to the collaborative genius of creators like Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yuji Horii, and the recently passed legendary Akira Toriyama. Its timeless narrative, exploring themes of adventure, friendship, and the consequences of our choices across different timelines, has the potential to resonate just as powerfully with today’s audience as it did with players in the 1990s. 

Reviving Chrono Trigger would also serve as an educational touchstone for game developers and enthusiasts, illustrating the evolution of game design, narrative complexity, and technological innovation. It’s an opportunity to celebrate where we’ve come from while inspiring future generations to dream of where we can go.

Sandy Heslop, Head of CG at Heroic by Room 8 Group:

I love adventure games, especially old-school tabletop D&D/Warhammer. Recently, I’ve been working my way through Baldur’s Gate 3—but my adventuring began with games like Dungeon Master for Atari ST in 1987. I’d love to play that again.

Luc Blouin, Vice President of Global Accounts:

Definitely Red Faction, originally released for PlayStation 2.

Benjamin Paquette, Head of Creative at Solid Bash by Room 8 Group:

None. Each game represents their era in multiple forms: audio, video, tech, design, culture. Creating new games inspired by old ones (e.g., Sea of Stars) is the perfect way to go about it, as far as I’m concerned.

Nick Burns, Head of Quality Assurance:

The game I played the most as a child was GoldenEye 007, and it was re-released on Nintendo recently. Still, there are certain mechanics that don’t work well anymore. If we look at the controls—especially with the N64 1-stick controller—things get clunky, and make it a challenge for new people, as well as those who grew up with these games, to fully enjoy. Addressing these things, while not changing the classic essence of the titles, would be fantastic.

Looking back at past years’ conferences, what are your expectations from GDC 2024? What are you looking forward to most?

Anna Kozlova, CEO:

The past year has been both transformative and challenging for the industry to say the least, and 2024 is shaping up to be even more so. Gathering at GDC is a chance to reflect on the current state of gaming as a business, plan ahead, exchange ideas, and forge new partnerships to weather the storm. I expect to hear influential voices from across the globe, and I am proud that our team will contribute to the discussion and, hopefully, help shape the industry’s future.

Sviatoslav Pohrebnoi, Board Member:

The GDC 2024 session schedule is packed with insightful, thought-provoking, and vital topics the industry needs to address. Despite the tumultuousness of gaming at present, I am optimistic about its future—seeing so much interest toward the medium and so many fantastic titles released. Room 8 Group is dedicated to contributing to the industry’s growth and evolution, and the team going to GDC consists of true gaming experts. So, I expect to see numerous opportunities created, and can’t wait to attend the various sessions defining where the games industry will go next.

Julien Proux, Executive Vice President of Art:

GDC 2024 has always been a beacon of collaboration for the industry, and my expectations for this year’s conference revolve around three core areas: innovation, diversity, and sustainability. Firstly, AI-driven game development, VR, and AR have transcended the status of buzzwords, becoming tangible elements that are redefining the industry. I expect this year to set new benchmarks, and GDC is a great place to see this unfold. Secondly, I am looking forward to seeing an increased emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the community. The unique perspectives and experiences that diverse teams bring to game development are invaluable, and GDC is the perfect platform to amplify these voices. Lastly, sustainability is critical. As our industry continues to grow, so does our responsibility to protect the planet and its resources. I am eager to see how GDC will address the environmental and human impact of game development and explore sustainable practices that can be integrated into our workflows.

Sergii Miroshnychenko, Head of PC/Console Service Line:

I am anticipating touching base with our good friends and partners, as well as discussing their current strategies for the upcoming year so that we can align with them.

Sandy Heslop, Head of CG at Heroic by Room 8 Group:

I can’t wait to meet the interesting new people from around the globe that converge in San Francisco—and, of course, catch up with old friends. I’d also like to come back with some exciting opportunities for Heroic! The team is a fantastic and extremely talented bunch, and more people should know about them.

Benjamin Paquette, Head of Creative at Solid Bash by Room 8 Group:

Checking new and emerging trends that might not have percolated in the media yet. Discovering game features that might be relevant for our current and upcoming projects is exciting, too. And, of course, I am looking forward to meeting with as many potential and existing partners as possible.

Anna Berdnyk, Vice President of Sales:

As always, I’m interested in catching up with old friends to discuss collaboration and understand potential needs of our partner studios. I’d like to see what their priorities are in the buying process, what challenges they are facing, and what risks they are trying to mitigate. I am also looking forward to seeing wonderful industry friends for heartwarming conversations. Events like GDC are first and foremost a perfect opportunity to connect with the community and exchange knowledge with like-minded leaders—enabling us all to create better gaming experiences together.

Luc Blouin, Vice President of Global Accounts:

Meeting with current and potential clients, as well as having a chance to exchange perspectives with key decision makers in the industry, is always great at events like GDC.


Interested in meeting and chatting with the heroes of this interview? Head to our GDC Splash page and book a meeting: we are eager to talk games and discuss potential mutual projects!

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