In a new series of interviews with local Northern Irish developers, we met with Ross from Enter Yes™.
Why don't you start by telling us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I'm Producer at Enter Yes™, a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning studio based out of Belfast. My background is writing, mostly short stories and poetry. I was Short Story Editor of a publication called GetBack in Liverpool before moving back home to Belfast to concentrate on my own writing. I did some Script Editing for Kris and the gang here when they just started out and was delighted when he offered me a Production Coordinator role in late 2014. Since then things have just gone from strength to strength.
How was Enter Yes started and how did you get into games?
Enter Yes™ was started by Kris Kelly, a BAFTA nominated director. He was the founder of the hugely popular Blacknorth Studio and with this new venture he wanted something more mature and positive in contrast to the derisive Blacknorth. Enter Yes™ offers an open and confident studio who can cater for both regional and international clients alike.
We're greenhorns in the Gaming community and Beyond Hirieth is our first IP. We completed a project for BBC called Ghosts of Thiepval, a VR experience which took the user through the first moments of the Battle of the Somme. We went out and scanned the trenches at Thiepval so we could create an authentic 3D version before we used the voices of some of the men who fought and survived that battle. As you walk through and hear them speak about how calm yet petrified they were, it gives you real goosebumps every time you put it on and go over the top. This just whetted our appetites to create our own stories within VR and it's kind of just snowballed from there.
Who's on the team?
Kris is the Managing Director whilst also coming up with a lot of the IP conceptions. Tom Getty is our Creative Director. He's a talented young animator out of Co. Down who has a real bright future in this industry. Vicki Rock is Line Producer on a number of international projects, not least Kings of Sumava, the HBO animated documentary Kris is directing. She has a background in marketing and has worked with huge clients of the ilk of Guinness and Vodafone. We also have a vast pool of freelancers we use when big projects come in. I'd also like to mention the UofU placement students who come in to us every year. They just seem to get better and better year on year and that's a huge credit to Conann, Greg, Alec et al. Most recently, we had Hannah Turkington and Scott Gill. They made such a huge impression on us with their hard-working and passionate attitudes towards the studio not to mention their extreme talent. We'll be excited to see them again after they graduate.
Some companies work in an office, some work remotely - what works best for your team and why?
Definitely within the same studio. I understand that it's impossible for some companies to have studio space but, in my personal opinion, the money those companies are saving is probably being spent on the length of time the project takes to complete. Having everyone in the same room is vitally important for ensuring the pipeline flows as it should and also is where our best ideas come from, the creativity just bounces off one and other.
Can you tell us anything about your up coming game Beyond Hirieth?
Okay, it's billed as Starfox (gameplay) meets R-Type (aesthetic) meets the Jonathan Glazer film Under The Skin (narrative and aesthetic). It's a VR railshooter being developed on Oculus but will be platform agnostic and isn't necessarily VR only. It's unusual for a rail-shooter to have a dense narrative and that is where we excel. It follows Marta, a loner after her family disappear in a Solar Flare who is approached by The Teacher. He promises to reunite her with her family in her most treasured memory - but she must sacrifice herself for his cause. It asks the question of why anyone would give up their own lives for a cult or belief system. Kind of challenging the faith (with a lower-case 'f') people put into things. We had some great meetings in Gamescom this year - and even came away with a Vive Dev Kit... score!