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Catching Up With Modiphius' Chris Birch: New Games, New Jobs, New Opportunities

2018 was a year of growth and big games for Modiphius Entertainment and, with 2019 still shiny and new and their hiring spree happening, it’s a good time to discuss what’s next for the game publisher. This article came about because I write a jobs column on EN World. In the comments of the January posting, Chris Birch, publisher and founder of Modiphius, shared some of the jobs Modiphius has open. Our conversation turned into an interview about their games, new jobs, new hires, and new opportunities in 2019.


EGG EMBRY (EGG): In 2018, Modiphius Entertainment released some new properties, expanded on existing ones, built on your partnerships with other gaming companies, and cultivated a rare opportunity with White Wolf. Tell us about Modiphius’ 2018 and what some of the marquee moments where?

CHRIS BIRCH (CB): It was an astounding year, it doesn’t seem long ago that Rita and I were working out of a one bed basement apartment, a few people joined us and we graduated to a two bedroom house before the chaos of running a business from home led us to take the risk of getting an office and that office has increased three times since then. Each time it’s a 'dive in' moment but also exciting to see our family spreading it’s wings. 2018 was very much the year of Star Trek Adventures as it grew from strength to strength and the new Fallout: Wasteland Warfare miniatures game has blown us away with its success.

EGG: At the beginning of 2019, Modiphius is expanding its workforce. While getting those individuals in-place, what are some of Modiphius’ short-term goals?

CB: We want to be able to deliver more product to support the big lines like Fallout and our major RPGs and that means being able to turnaround releases much quicker. We have some other big new projects in the pipeline that will need more hands on deck to be able to cope with them. So it’s more support, more releases, quicker turnaround.
EGG: Let’s talk about your workforce, recently you hired several individuals, who has joined your team and what positions did they fill?

CB: We’ve expanded all the departments hiring the following:

Our big addition has been Cameron Dicks joining us from Endemol Shine as our managing director who’s helping us restructure the company for its growth, and is overseeing our licensing and third party publishing partners, and working under me as the chief creative officer.

Our RPG team has grown considerably with more in-house resources under dept. head Sam Webb to manage the growing portfolio. Katya Thomas moved over from our boardgame dev team and is now working as assistant art director across all our RPG projects. Virginia Page has joined as publishing assistant to the RPG team and is currently working on a top secret new project. Federico Sohns has joined the RPG team as assistant line manager on another new project having moved up from the boardgame dev team. Finally, Matt Timm has just joined as assistant line manager working on the Vampire product line.

We’ve expanded our operations team with Peter Grochulski joining as production and logistics manager and Shaun Hocking adding more helping hands to the Customer Service team. Add to that a growing resin production facility in Cornwall under Production Studio Manager Martin Jones (who was head of production at Spartan Games), which is letting us experiment with all kinds of exciting new production for our miniatures lines.

Finally we’re recruiting heavily for the wargames team with the huge success of Fallout. Giles Nevill and Ethan Heywood are the first of our new junior developers and Gavin Dady joins us Senior Line Manager with a wealth of project management experience working under dept head Jon Webb.

EGG: You have a number of job listings at the moment. What positions are you hiring for?

CB
: We’re currently recruiting a number of developers for the wargames team to expand the department to support the massive growth of Fallout and work on some other new projects, alongside that we’re building the marketing team up with a Marketing & Communication manager who’ll be across trade marketing and PR. I used to do this myself having run a PR agency myself however it’s time to hand over that responsibility so I can focus on the creative side of the business (which is why I started it in the first place). After our initial reviews of the departments needs in January, we’re now hiring a licensing assistant to help work with all our projects as well as a Community & Events manager and the final role, the Line Manager for the DUNE Roleplaying game line which starts full development this spring for 2020 release. Phew….

EGG: After adding this amount of headcount, Modiphius will have the people power to ramp up production. Long-term, what are your plans for this expanded team?

CB
: Well Fallout is a major project for us with lots of exciting releases ahead and we want to speed up our ability to bring new waves on a regular basis, with the production team we can also start expanding the accessories for Fallout and giving some love to the Achtung! Cthulhu miniatures line. We’ve not forgotten our RPG roots - the RPG team currently have three secret projects in the works which are being completed prior to announcement and alongside that they now have the resources to dive in to DUNE, and the new 2d20 Achtung! Cthulhu alongside the on-going commitments to Conan, Infinity, Mutant Chronicles, and Star Trek Adventures.

The growth has allowed us to be very proactive about future projects so we’re completing them before launch so even if we do a pre-order or Kickstarter they’ll be 100% ready for production prior to the first pledge or the retail launch will be soon after announcement so we can get them out there in people’s hands without those painful delays. Lastly, it also allows us to dedicate resources to finally finishing up some of our own new IP’s we’ve been working on for some time.
EGG: My questions have focused on the future and expansion, let me switch it up, who are some of the MVPs on your existing team and how have they made Modiphius the company it is today?

CB
: Well I couldn’t have done it without the support of our CFO Rita Kokhna (and my wife). With her finance background and willingness to work the long hard hours alongside me, I had all the support and encouragement I needed to keep my head down and focus on building the company through very very long weeks and months as we pulled ourselves through several huge Kickstarters. Many of our backers and customers will attest to her dealing with their queries and orders at all times of the day, and I’ve found her post operation in hospital working through a list of backers who needed checking. She’s the one who pays all the bills and keeps our freelancers happy so literally the wheels of steel would not be moving without her hard work.

EGG: The question that is most on my mind: Dune, what can you share about it?

CB
: Not a lot I’m afraid yet, it’s very exciting though, it’s using some new concepts to get you playing quickly, and it’s an epic concept that should really excite long term fans of Dune and sci-fi players alike. It’s been a long process and we’ve been doing some unique product development in advance of the actual RPG’s work, which starts soon so fans should expect to see news through this year and then the first releases in 2020.

EGG: You’re taking on the World of Darkness license, correct? I imagine the ink’s still drying on the contract, but what can you say about the future of Vampire: The Masquerade?

CB: Taking over the publishing duties for such an iconic brand has been an amazing opportunity and with the love for the Vampire brand internally we’re going to have a lot of fun. We’ve already announced the Fall of London chronicles, a Players Guide, Starter Set and we have a great deal more planned, especially as we’ll be coordinating the work of other partners like Onyx Path and localisation partners to ensure the fans will be seeing plenty of easter eggs and plots lines running across the many different releases around the world.

EGG: As we close out this interview, what else would you like to share?

CB: All I can say is watch this space - we have some amazing releases for Star Trek Adventures, John Carter of Mars, Conan and Infinity through the spring, the Kung Fu Panda boardgame arrives early summer, and the next wave of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare is coming soon - but as usual it wouldn’t be possible without all those amazing GM’s who keep the gaming table fires burning and the people who bring their friends in to try a new game of Super Mutants vs Survivors!

If you like what we do here at EN World (the Forums, Columns, News, ENnies, etc) and would like to help support us to bring you MORE please consider supporting our Patreon. Even a single dollar helps! This article was contributed by Egg Embry as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Egg is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG.
 
Egg Embry

Comments

Reynard

Adventurer
I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the 2d20 system handles Star Trek -- especially since it also does Conan well. It is definitely worth trying.
 

Robyo

Villager
I'm not sold on the 2d20 system, but some of these Star Trek sourcebooks look great for pillaging for other games.
 

S'mon

Hero
I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the 2d20 system handles Star Trek -- especially since it also does Conan well. It is definitely worth trying.
I played a 40 minute 2d20 Achtung! Cthulu game at Dragonmeet. It worked pretty well I thought. Nice and quick.
 

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