When THQ went bankrupt and sold Relic to SEGA it was in a state of turmoil. The developer was deep into making Company of Heroes 2 and they had to ship this game in a matter of months. They were lacking a general manager to oversee the studio and this was causing problems across the studio.
SEGA asked one of their other studios, Creative Assembly, to help. Tim Heaton stepped up and began running both Creative Assembly in the UK and Relic over in Canada.
Writing in a post on Develop, Heaton says his first impression on visiting the Vancouver based studio was that “there was very little studio leadership.
“The previous general manager of Relic had left well before the purchase of Relic by Sega, and although there was an executive producer on CoH 2 that was pretty much it. Nobody was leading the studio in a game-centric way from the front.”
His job became managing “the day-to-day operations” of the studio but also creating a plan for the studio’s future and directing the team towards that goal.
The other key part of his job was finding a permanent replacement who could devote all their time to running Relic – Heaton was splitting his time between Creative Assembly and Relic, spending three weeks at one and three weeks at the other alternately. “After quite a few lunches we knew we’d found the right person,” writes Heaton. The team settled on Justin Dowdeswell.
SEGA’s RTS studios are clearly growing closer with their sharing of staff. It will be fascinating to see if they have any other influence on each other’s future games.