Industry veterans from Activision, Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, Disney, Sony Pictures, and MTV Films come together with seed investment from Presence Capital and The VR Fund to bring virtual reality, episodic gaming, feature film and TV content across a wide array of distribution channels.
LOS ANGELES – February 11, 2016 – The Rogue Initiative, which officially launched today, is comprised of seasoned veterans with decades-long experience in the fields of production, storytelling, filmmaking and immersive, real-time interactive experiences with a track record of AAA execution in virtual reality (VR), video games, animation, film and television. In partnership with world-class, established Hollywood directors, producers and writers, The Rogue Initiative will co-create and co-own a dynamic slate of projects to meet the sharply increasing demand for AAA content for platforms and distribution channels including Sony PlayStation, Oculus, HTC Vive, Samsung GearVR, Netflix, Hulu, feature film, network and cable television. The first groundbreaking interactive VR and game projects to be announced in production include a big episodic action tentpole franchise, a psychological thriller, and a stylized animated action adventure.
Based in Los Angeles, The Rogue Initiative was co-founded by CEO Pete Blumel, Chief Production Officer Cathy Twigg and Chief Business Development Officer Hrish Lotlikar. Already a first mover in the VR space, Blumel brings nearly two decades of experience, including a key producer role at Activision’s Infinity Ward game development studio where he became intimately involved in the creation of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series and Ghosts video games. Twigg has over 17 years of experience in feature film, feature animation and TV animation, as well as live-action television serving at Dreamworks Animation, Sony Pictures, NBC and MTV Films with notable film and television projects including Kung Fu Panda, Shrek The Halls, Monsters vs. Aliens, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, and Varsity Blues among others. Lotlikar brings extensive experience in startups, technology venture capital, and investment banking, having previously served as Senior Business Developer and Global Evangelist at Toptal, backed by Andreessen Horowitz, the Rockefellers, and the co-founders of Facebook and Zynga. He will leverage his vast network of international relationships and experience to bring The Rogue Initiative’s content to an ever-expanding global audience.
Blumel said: “I’ve always loved finding ways of bringing Hollywood creatives together with AAA video game developers. Virtual reality is another great catalyst in building that bridge. Our vision at The Rogue Initiative is to create a studio where the most successful storytellers and filmmakers from Hollywood collaborate side-by-side to create and develop new worlds and interactive experiences with the best and brightest from the video game and tech industries. We’re very fortunate to have built some amazing relationships with established filmmakers over the years, which have now culminated into various projects currently in production using Unreal Engine 4. We can’t wait to formerly announce these Hollywood collaborations soon.”
The company officially launched with a seed investment round led by top Silicon Valley virtual reality-focused investor Presence Capital and includes The VR Fund, in addition to well-known angel investors and strategic game publishers, to further build out its tech and content pipeline, VR prototype development and drive a slate of AAA episodic VR projects. The company has also recently opened up a second tranche of its current financing round due to strong interest from domestic and international investors recognizing the value of the team, the studio’s prolific collaborations and its innovative hybrid tech/entertainment financing structure.
Tipatat Chennavasin, co-founder and General Partner of The VR Fund, said: “We believe The Rogue Initiative is uniquely positioned in the virtual reality market to drive high production value episodic content featuring strong IP as reflected in their amazing collaborations and diverse slate of projects. We really look forward to working with the team and breaking new ground in the fast-growing VR market.”
Additionally, The Rogue Initiative is supported by an impressive team of advisors including entrepreneurs Paul Bragiel, Amitt Mahajan, and Phil Chen, and veteran film and television producer and best-selling author Lynda Obst behind major blockbusters including Interstellar, Contact, Sleepless in Seattle, The Fisher King, and Flashdance.
Obst said: “I’ve enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with Pete and Cathy for years. They think like true entrepreneurs and are wildly creative professionals able to bring even the most fantastic ideas to life. VR is such an exciting medium and I’m looking forward to the amazing projects The Rogue Initiative will bring to audiences as the platform emerges.”
For more information about The Rogue Initiative, please visit therogueinitiative.com.
About The Rogue Initiative
Based in Los Angeles, California, The Rogue Initiative delivers unmatched entertainment and cinematic experiences to global audiences through producing and co-owning original high-end AAA intellectual properties with potential to expand organically from virtual reality (VR) to various other platforms and media. Additionally, the company brings a focus on further advancing technology for better consumer experiences, including VR player controls, navigation, gaze and AI character interaction.
The Rogue Initiative is backed by top Silicon Valley investors, including Presence Capital and The VR Fund, and led by a veteran team of award-winning entertainment industry professionals, including alumni from Amblin Entertainment, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Disney and Activision Studios and Sony Pictures and NBC. For more information, visit therogueinitiative.com.