Red Storm Entertainment is primarily thought of as a shooter studio, frequent wrangler of the Tom Clancy franchise (Clancy himself was a co-founder). While Red Storm’s work in that space will continue – just look toward the upcoming The Division Heartland – its new Managing Director Elizabeth Loverso wants to expand its efforts into uncharted spaces, both within the shooter genre and outside of it.
“We’re definitely looking to move beyond what we’ve been known for,” said Loverso.
Making New Types of Games
This sentiment might sound typically ambitious of a new hire, but Loverso is far from new to Red Storm, the studio she’s worked at for the last 24 years. Initially brought on as operations manager in 1999, Loverso has moved through the ranks as manager of Internal Development, director of Product Development, and vice president of Product Development. Through that time, she helped develop the original Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and The Division games, and multiple other games from conception to distribution and release. The move to managing director, after co-founder Steve Reid announced his retirement from the role in September, was a natural one.
“I’m well aware of the way that Ubisoft has transformed over the years,” said Loverso. “I know what we're looking for in our games, how we're trying to inspire and create, engage and entertain.”
Red Storm’s diversification goals are starting to become a reality already, with ventures into VR (Star Trek Bridge Crew, Werewolves Within, Assassin's Creed), free-to-play (the upcoming The Division Heartland), and movies and television (Apple TV’s “Mythic Quest”).
Work on the latter has been particularly joyful for Loverso and Red Storm. “Mythic Quest” is centered on a fictional game studio behind a popular MMO, and Red Storm created all the game assets in the show, many of which are actually playable… to a point. “It’s so much fun to create a game that really doesn’t have to work over a long period of time,” laughed Loverso. “What you see are playable modules, but, you know, the development process on that normally would've taken years.”
As for its efforts in the free-to-play space with the upcoming The Division Heartland, Loverso is determined Red Storm nail the formula. "Free-to-play is a fantastic opportunity to bring our brands to a significantly wider audience but it is also a different process than creating a AAA HD game. We've adopted an iterative approach to developing these games, working with smaller, more agile teams and testing, and refining with our key players.”
Tom Clancy, Evolved
Loverso fundamentally understands that Tom Clancy is woven within Red Storm’s DNA. She believes that the brand’s focus on realism has evolved and will continue to evolve. “The biggest thing that Tom Clancy brought to the videogame world is this believability and realism in regards to technical details of special forces, tactics and military operations,” said Loverso. “And what I think that you'll see going forward, in 2022 and beyond, is capitalizing on the techno-thriller, and multiplayer aspects within those games.”
Clancy games will keep up with new technology, new weapon systems and ideas, and will also continue to push into believable fiction, including within the multiplayer space. “That's what we're doing with Heartland too, taking that type of fiction into the realm of the survival genres. It’s taking survival into the Clancy-verse, more plausibility, and then deepdiving into the lore of what The Division can be.”
Career Development for Women Employees
Outside of working on Red Storm’s games themselves, Loverso is passionate about fostering the development of women employees, with an eye toward leadership positions. “One of the areas where we're looking to progress is to engage women, which I think in turn gives us a better chance of reaching a diverse customer base and making sure that we include things they want to see in their games.”
Loverso and the Red Storm team have launched a stronger career-development focus, a full-time internship program, and have been actively encouraging the recruitment of women in game development.
Over the past two years we have increased our project management staff to 30% women with a growing percentage of women in development – a step in the right direction.
For Loverso, it all comes back to diversification; of talent, of technology, and of the types of games Red Storm is making. “We want to get out there and do some groundbreaking things for Ubisoft,” she said. “We want to continue to make our mark through our world class development efforts.”