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Cathy Twigg, Co-Founder and Chief Production Officer at Rogue Initiative Studios, is not only passionate for film, but knew the direction of where the entertainment industry was entering before anyone else.

From working at Sony Pictures and DreamWorks, her prestigious skills in storytelling and character development is what leads her to wanting to push past the traditional boundaries in entertainment.

So what’s Cathy’s story, and what inspired her to create Rogue Initiative? We sat down to chat with her just about that, as well as her thoughts on leadership and what matters to her most about the studio.

What was your career path up until this point, and what got you interested in video games?

Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I came to Los Angeles to participate in the Graduate Screenwriting program at UCLA.  It wasn’t long until I found myself as an intern at MTV Films, which propelled me into a variety of increasingly prominent roles in the industry including two separate stretches at DreamWorks Animation, as well as term deals at NBC and Sony/Columbia.
Over my career, I grew an increasing fondness for video games. The compelling combination of agency and story has grown more elaborate and nuanced as Hollywood caliber techniques and expertise continue to fuse with AAA gaming talent.  Fostering and evolving those kinds of collaborations is core to our work at Rogue Initiative.   

Who are some of your mentors and what has inspired you on your career journey?

My closet and dearest mentor is the incomparable film producer Lynda Obst. She is such an inspiration. Her instinct and acumen are a wonder to behold.
She’s encouraged me to always stick to my guns, be forthright, and be resilient in a landscape that can be quite challenging for women at times.

What inspired you to create Rogue Initiative Studios?

Over 25 years ago, my co-founder Pete Blumel and I connected at DreamWorks during the production of THE PRINCE OF EGYPT.  He had a background in AAA game development coming from Activision and was building the infrastructure for the Animation Technology Division.  I was in Story Development.  We both had a passion for merging storytelling and technology even back then.  He ended up returning to Activision as a producer and co-creator of the Call of Duty games at Infinity Ward and I continued my film and TV career.
Flash forward to today, we’ve brought to bear our combined knowledge in co-creating and producing original entertainment IP coupled with our extensive industry relationships to break the traditional production model and form a new type of studio. This studio is where Hollywood talent and AAA game developers can join forces at the very inception of an IP with all the incentives and fulfillment they’ve come to expect in their respective fields.
Hence, Rogue Initiative Studios was born.

What is one of the most rewarding things about being a member of Rogue’s team?

One of the most rewarding things to see as a co-founder and one of the studio principals is watching the bonds and connections that form between the members of the team. Their diverse backgrounds in film, television, and video games bring a unique aspect to the development of our projects.
Everyone is super talented and they aren’t afraid to push each other with innovative ideas, share viewpoints that break traditional boundaries, and are very often form interesting one-of-kind solutions. 
That’s why we’re Rogues.

How does your film and television background inform projects at Rogue Initiative?

One of our primary goals at Rogue Initiative is to create stories that have impactful character development and a rich lore.  We aspire to create games where even after putting down that game controller, they’re still thinking about it.
My background in film and television has allowed me to contribute to creating these expandable worlds and characters built with a solid story foundation like no other. At the same time, it maintains a ludonarrative that encourages players to make interesting decisions that keep them invested and immersed in their journey. 
On the physical production side, my background in TV and Feature Film Animation allows me to wear the executive producer and business executive hats in the development process as well. 

What are you most excited about at Rogue Initiative from a cultural standpoint?

One of the most exciting things for people at Rogue Initiative is that we genuinely cherish every single person on our team and treat them as talent. Most of our team members come from major AAA studios and blockbuster productions, and have found a unique haven at Rogue Initiative where we believe that good ideas can come from anywhere.
We foster inclusivity and always want our employees to feel heard. Many of us worked together for many years and formed a bond that’s unique and familial.
That’s very important to us at Rogue Initiative.

What do you feel differentiates Rogue Initiative from other game development studios and production companies?

The most important aspect of Rogue Initiative is that we have a experience in AAA game development, feature film, and television production at the highest levels of execution. The different cultural, business, production and financial aspects are all addressed and bridged in order to make the collaboration of new IP enticing for all parties at the table. This is extremely unique and not just lip service. We’re doing it every single day at Rogue Initiative.
Couple all that with our decades of tech and engineering savvy and you’ve got a studio, talent pool and corporate structure that’s uniquely well-positioned to create groundbreaking, blockbuster content out of Unreal Engine.  There’s also this rising popularity of virtual production techniques within film and TV becoming more and more prevalent. Techniques that have been pioneered and honed long ago by AAA teams like ours from the video game industry. We’ve taken great advantage of that head start to develop proprietary tools and pipelines to produce content that can be leveraged between games and film.
We’ve already been doing it with our partner, esteemed filmmaker and VFX supervisor Robert Legato and filmmakers like Michael Bay. All this to say that we are gamers at heart who are constantly innovating and pushing what games can look and feel like in this new generation console cycle and beyond. Our latest title is an original IP for PS5, Xbox and Windows, currently in development.

Do you have any advice to share for women interested in game development and entertainment?

I would say don’t be afraid to dive into something new. Take risks, give it a 110% and don’t be afraid to fail. Look at every situation, good or bad, as a learning experience.
Also, make connections! Reach out and find a mentor that you can learn and grow from. Never let someone tell you that you won’t be able to accomplish your dreams. There is no right way to get into entertainment.
Always remember that if your heart is into it, eventually your passion will bring success.

And finally, what are some of your favorite video games and why?

I’ve been around video games my entire life. Growing up with two older brothers, we spent time in arcades and played a lot of 8-bit console games such as Super Mario Bros, Dragon Quest (Warrior) and The Legend of Zelda.  I’ve also always enjoyed the competitive aspects of Mario Kart especially after becoming a parent.
In our house, we play everything. From platformers like Celeste and Terraria to linear games such Resident Evil and Call of Duty. We’re all into Dying Light 2 at the moment.
I also really appreciate the unique storytelling, writing and developed characters of games like The Last of Us series, Beyond Two Souls, and even the latest Spiderman game.
But as a guilty pleasure, Candy Crush is my go-to when I need a quick fix.

Thanks for sharing, Cathy! We hope you enjoyed learning more about Rogue Initiative and her story.

You can check out more about Cathy’s story on her LinkedIn.

Did you know? Rogue Initiative Studios is growing!  We have a variety of positions open on our team always looking for new faces. Consider going Rogue today!