CEO and Founder
Chris is CEO and founder of Insane Gorilla. A visionary game developer / business leader, he’s spent the past 12 years in the gaming industry, eight of those as CEO for the development studio Outerlight leading multi-million-dollar projects…
Chris liked board games as a kid, only, his family didn’t really have any, so he used to grab big sheets of paper and draw game boards, using whatever pieces he had to hand to make the game. Later Chris got into painting lead figures, fantasy stuff for dungeons and dragons, which gave him focus while letting his imagination wander.
He remembers one milestone in his life was getting a computer, a ZX81, where he and his family oohed and aahed when it changed the screen from red to blue, the novelty of seeing their own content on a TV screen – early self-publishing.
One of the early games Chris bought was Elite – mind-blowingly good for its time, he was a space pilot travelling an alternate universe, fighting and trading (like Han Solo!). In hindsight it looked pretty bad, all dots and wireframes, but it wasn’t the graphics it was the concept. A lesson which Minecraft still resonates with.
Fast forward to university. Chris’s best friend introduced him to Mudding. Imagine world of warcraft, but all in text. “You attack the giant bunny with your brass sword doing 8 damage.” “The giant bunny attacks you doing 4 damage”. Die bunny die!! But it wasn’t just that it was a D&D game in text that made it cool, it was the fact that he was connecting with other gamers in other places and countries, and playing all the same time.
Chris applied to a games company as a “please take me, I will do anything”, and after a couple of months they called up to say they needed testers. Not knowing anything, that sounded pretty cool, playing games for money?!! He got the job and soon was asked by the creative director (games design) to brainstorm a game idea they were working on. He leapt at the chance, and quickly rose through the ranks to become lead game designer, working on a number of games, including “State of Emergency”, which sold over two million copies.
He then formed his own company, Outerlight, and grew the team from six to twenty-five dedicated individuals. Here he developed an original IP called “The Ship” to critical acclaim, which was one of the first digitally distributed games on Steam, something Chris remains utterly grateful to Valve for. Outerlight also worked with Ubisoft, then fourth biggest game publisher in the world, to develop the sequel to ‘The Ship’, called ‘Bloody Good Time’.
COO and Co-Founder
Elena is the COO and lead project manager at Insane Gorilla. She brings a unique skill set to the company, combining solid project management experience with an understanding of web development and the games development process…
Born at the decline of the Soviet Union – where PCs were something unimaginable – the most exciting game growing up for Elena (and the rest of the neighbourhood kids) was “Nu, pogodi!” (“Just you wait!”), a highly addictive electronic game where your job was to help Wolf collect eggs in a basket. The more you collected the better your score, and as the game progressed the eggs rolled faster… Competition between kids in the yard was fierce… and then Elena had to go to college.
By then her family got their first desktop computer, and her mum was fighting it out with her brother between her dissertation time and his hardcore gaming habits. Elena meanwhile had won a grant to study library and information science in the U.S., and this proved to be the turning point in her life – she fell in love with IT… the internet, web development, and the digital arts.
A few years after graduation Elena found herself working as a sales and project manager for a games company in Belarus where they needed someone with a good command of English. She found that the best part of the job was writing scripts for games, creating levels, and getting paid to play games for at least one hour a day. Needless to say her brother was very jealous.
And that’s how Elena, casual childhood gamer, began her evolution into the COO of Insane Gorilla.