Exclusive Interview: Saber Interactive’s Adam Tedman On His Move From Rockstar, Growing The Studio, And Evil Dead: The Game

Adam Tedman, former Vice President of New Media at Rockstar Games, recently joined up with Saber Interactive as the new Head of Marketing. The move comes following the Embracer Group’s acquisition of Saber Interactive in early 2020, with the studio positioned in an exciting place for exponential growth – not to mention the highly-anticipated release of Evil Dead: The Game. After nearly 20 years with Rockstar Games, Adam brings a ton of experience and insight to Saber Interactive in a role that will help the studio grow.

Adam took the time to answer some questions TheGamer had about what inspired his decision to join the company and how he’ll contribute in helping to shape the future of Saber Interactive.

[TheGamer] After such a storied career at Rockstar, what made Saber Interactive so appealing?

[Adam Tedman] “I wanted to get back to building something. When I met the founders and management team and began to understand their vision for building a world-class publisher, it was invigorating. Although Saber has been making games for over 20 years, the company has been aggressively expanding its capabilities since it was acquired by Embracer in early 2020. In a lot of ways, Saber reminds me of the early days of Rockstar/Take 2. When I started there in 2000, GTA 3 and Max Payne were a year off from release and the marketing and publishing team was working on a wide variety of titles at any given time – not just for Rockstar, but smaller games that were coming out under the Take 2 label as well. This is a lot like where we are at presently with Saber and Embracer. There are now 13 studios under the Saber umbrella and the diversity of the projects in development is mind-blowing. Few of them are even announced yet.

“For me personally, I’m coming from about 20 years at Rockstar as head of digital marketing. It’s hard to overstate how much that role evolved over the years! I started out as the lone ‘web’ guy in the marketing department and over time grew the digital team there as we managed not only all the digital elements of our game campaigns, but ongoing persistent initiatives like the Social Club platform, the Rockstar Newswire, all our social channels, community livestreams, content creator relationships, the list goes on. As virtually all marketing has become digital at this point, and as even ‘offline’ marketing like events and experiential really hold their true value in social media impact, it only made sense for my next role to be a broader head of marketing with a digital-first focus. Straight away when first talking with leadership, they totally shared that same vision. There’s a wide-open road ahead for us to build on the reputation that Saber has as the company and its portfolio continue to grow – and getting the opportunity to help drive that is amazing.”

How does the marketing dynamic change from working with a single studio (in this case Rockstar Games) compared to working with multiple studios?

“I’ll be involved with games in one of four ways. First, there are titles that are being both developed and published by Saber, like Evil Dead. Second, there are the games being released by Saber-owned studios, like Zen Studios, who largely retain independence in how their games are marketed, and I’ll help where it makes sense. Third, there are games published by the likes of Focus Home Interactive and others, such as a game like SnowRunner, where I’ll work with their marketing teams to help maximize the overall effort. And last, Saber wants to occasionally publish games from developers they don’t own, so I would oversee the marketing there. That might sound like a lot, but again, it harkens back to those early Take 2 years when we worked on Rockstar titles, but also Gathering of Developers games, Take 2 label games, and more, so it is familiar to me in that sense.”

Evil Dead: The Game is definitely on the radar for a lot of fans of that franchise. How do you handle the pressure that comes with such a highly anticipated release?

“I don’t think we see or feel it as pressure per se, in large part because Saber’s team in Madrid is so strong and we have such amazing support and involvement directly from the people behind the franchise from the beginning. Sam Raimi himself, Bruce Campbell himself, the Renaissance Pictures team, Lionsgate and STARZ, cast-members Dana DeLorenzo, and Ray Santiago making sure every character model is just right. This isn’t a case of just securing a license and cranking something out – everyone working on this game is passionate about the series and therefore personally invested in making sure we do it justice as the definitive Evil Dead multiplayer game. We’re always on calls bringing up favorite over-the-top moments from episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead, having the usual debates about which movie from the original trilogy is our favorite. For me, personally, anyone who’s known me long enough remembers me as the weird kid in fifth grade with the Fangoria subscription, wearing horror movie t-shirts to school, and all that. So it’s really a dream come true – one of those ‘if 12-year-old me knew what I’d wind up doing’ scenarios – hey, you’ll be working on an Evil Dead video game where you can take control of the Kandarian demon whipping through the woods to try and swallow some souls…”

Where do you see Saber Interactive positioned within the industry in the future?

“It’s tough to give a concise answer because Saber is now such a multi-faceted company and so much is brand new. I’m focused on the marketing side obviously, but we’re still taking on massive work-for-hire projects. It’s funny, for some players, Saber is known as the crew of magicians that were somehow able to get The Witcher III on Switch! I’m sure most people out there don’t even know that Saber recently acquired Aspyr, a highly respected 24-year-old studio in Texas with a deep history of bringing games to Mac and iOS. But from where I sit, thinking every day about building a sharp digital-minded publisher, I hope players will get to know Saber not only for the continued quality of our games but will ultimately be able to connect the dots to appreciate what we’re publishing from a creative and content standpoint. The games that we’re putting out as Saber will be ones we find personally fun and interesting and reflect the varied gaming tastes of the team. Hopefully, fans will appreciate that sincerity especially as we grow and start getting much more involved with our games’ communities in the months ahead.”

Is there anything else you would like fans to know about what Saber Interactive has in store for them in the coming months and years?

“There isn’t much more I can say just yet, but do stay tuned for some first-looks at the gameplay of Evil Dead: The Game soon, and some new game announcements happening this year.

“Saber is growing like crazy, so if you’re curious about what we’re up to, reach out via our soon-to-be-revamped website. We’re hiring for dozens of positions across the world and we’re eager to talk to developers with shared sensibilities.”

A major thank you goes out to Adam for taking the time to talk with us, and Sandbox Strategies for coordinating the interview!

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Sam has been writing for TheGamer since early 2018, earning the role as the Lead Features & Review Editor in 2019. The Denver, Colorado-native’s knack for writing has been a life-long endeavor. His time spent in corporate positions has helped shape the professional element of his creative writing passion and skills. Beyond writing, Sam is a lover of all things food and video games, which – especially on weekends – are generally mutually exclusive, as he streams his gameplay on Twitch (as well as TheGamer’s Facebook page) under the self-proclaimed, though well-deserved moniker of ChipotleSam. (Seriously…just ask him about his Chipotle burrito tattoo). You can find Sam on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as @RealChipotleSam.

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