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28th January 2019
CMAD 2019 / Remedy's History of Community Management

The fourth Monday in January is known online as Community Manager Appreciation Day or "CMAD" for short. It started back in 2010 when Jeremiah Owyang launched a campaign to encourage communities to thank those that bridge the gap between the audience/fandom and company. Since its launch it has since gained international recognition.

I've been writing posts celebrating CMAD for the past few years but only recently realised that it's only been a yearly summary. Today there are seven people who I want to thank in the communications and community teams who have influenced me over the years. Some have newly joined the Remedy ranks whereas others have moved on to new adventures. So today, I wanted to celebrate community teams both past and present. 

When it comes to Community Managers, we've had quite a few wonderful people over the years. During the website's almost seven years I've had the pleasure to meet three lovely Community Managers at Remedy with an additional two Community Managers located on the publisher side. First up, Remedy's Community Managers.

The first Community Manager I met was Peter Papadopoulos who had held the role for a number of years before I joined the fandom. He worked at Remedy remotely from Australia and built a lot of the channels that Remedy continues to use today to communicate with the fanbase including the forums. I had joined the RMD community during a difficult time; earlier in the year, I had taken a break from another game website that I created due to a series of threats from the franchise's largest forums which hit hard. In my hiatus from the site, I decided to take on a challenge that I had been mulling over for a while; to actually put together The Sudden Stop. When I posted about the site, the first thing which surprised me was how welcoming and supportive Pete was. It really made an impact on me, and still seven years later I think about the conversations I had with him and the support he gave fondly. Although I would love to see him around the boards more, admittedly I do miss his cheerfulness, that traitor. 

After Pete left, Lauri Haavisto joined the team and in time for Quantum Break! We met a bunch of times over the years, although the first time has stuck in my mind as a funny ".....heeeey, wait a minute" moment. I was in Helsinki for holiday and asked a friend if I could visit the studio. When we approached the marketing team's room, in one corner there was a slightly guilty-looking Lauri, and in the other Ozz's desk covered in cling film awaiting his return. Last year, he got a new promotion at the studio which saw him move from Remedy's Senior Media Producer to Senior Manager: Investor & Talent Relations! I'm happy for his promotion but admittedly do miss him around the community. He's a seriously cool guy who also helped a great deal during the Monarch Gala Charity Auction and the Spring Charity Auction which together raised over £1400 for Cancer Research UK. Plus he dealt with me and my emails for the past few years without setting me on fire even once, which is definitely a plus when it comes to community managering.

The third and current Remedy-based Associate Community Manager is Vida Starčević  who is close to celebrating her one year at the studio! Congratulations Vida! She joined Remedy after a few years absence of having a specific Community Manager role at the studio, and relocated to Helsinki ahead of their new studio move and the Control reveal event at E3 last year. Over the past twelve months, she has captained the Remedy and Control social media channels and is the public face of the studio both online and at events such as E3 and EGX, in addition to the studio's livestreams. In December, she announced the new official Discord channel for Jesse's debut adventure in collaboration with 505Games' community team.

In addition to Remedy-based Community Managers, there has also been two external publisher-based Community Managers. 

First up was Josh Stein who was the Microsoft-based Community Manager for Quantum Break. He has since moved to Livestream Host & Social Lead / Community Manager at Mixer where he's been helping to build a wonderful community through XBOX's new livestreaming software. He also has a beard! While his involvement with the Remedy community was sadly brief, Josh kindly donated a couple of Quantum Break XBOX One codes for our launch event which I still really appreciate. While working with Remedy he was part of a number of marketing campaigns including the limited edition QB poster run and in charge of spreading awareness about the game through social media channels and on its website in which he wrote regular blog posts. 

In addition to Vida, Lucas Liaskos is working in Control's community team from the publisher side. Originally a Community Manager at Playstation UK, he moved to 505Games in late 2017 and became involved early on with Control's marketing campaigns. Based at 505Games' Milton Keynes offices, Lucas was behind setting up the Control social media channels ahead of the its reveal at E3 2018, and co-created the official Control Discord channel with Vida which went live late last year. He has also been a public face of Control both online through the game's social media pages and at events such as EGX 2018. 

In addition to Community Managers, the Communications team has also been involved to bridge the gap between the fans and studio.

When I joined the community,
 Oskari Hakkinen was Remedy's Head of Franchise (a role which was changed to Head of Communications following his departure). Previously working at Microsoft, Ozz was a public face for Remedy before he left the developers in 2015 to found his own studio, Futurefly. We didn't get to meet in person although we were at the same convention a few years ago, missing each other by a few minutes as he headed off for an interview, but i did get to know him online. In addition to being a familiar name on the boards, which he probably regretted heavily after the whole "Hotskari" incident, he was also at the studio when they established one of my favourite marketing strategies. For my A-Levels, I wrote my English Language thesis on video game marketing, and focused on two studios in particular; Crystal Dynamics and Remedy. Something which I loved about the interviews with Remedy's developers was the sense of collaboration, they would often refer to the team's efforts rather than an individual's, creating the sense of family. Anything which they didn't want reflected on the team, such as if an interviewer was asking a leading question, the phrasing changed to reflect a personal opinion. It was a little thing but something which felt really nice and welcoming to new community members, which I was at the time. 

Taking over Ozz's responsibilities was Thomas Puha who is currently the studio's Communications Director and resident Destiny nerd. We've bumped into each other a few times as we have friends in the same circles but my fondest conversation with him was a little over a year ago when we were emailing after I received some news which... wasn't terrible but wasn't the easiest news. We had spoken a few times before that through emails but I really appreciated the conversation we had then. It's something that meant a lot to me. Thomas can be found wherever the games are being shown, and behind the marketing campaigns that saw the launch of Quantum Break and the announcement of Control.

Phew! That's a lot of people, but I wanted to thank everyone on the official side who helped shape the community and bridge the gap between the studio and the fanbase. As this covers almost a decade, there's some people who I got to know more than others depending on their length of time at the studio, especially some of the newer faces, but each of them has impacted the community.

Additional developer shoutouts for community-related awesomeness: Mikki, Sam, Anna, Juha, Lennie, AJ, and Markus. And to Fran, Holly, Katerina, and Patrick for all the amazing Community projects they run, it's a different side of community management but it still counts!


The Control Series

The Crossfire Series

The Quantum Break Series

The Alan Wake Series

The Max Payne Series




Icons by the incredible, Evil-Owl-Loki.

Beyond the shadow you settle for, there is a miracle illuminated.