Radical founder Ian Wilkinson becomes CEO of Hothead Games

Ian Wilkinson has joined Vancouver’s Hothead Games as president and CEO, the company announced yesterday (March 10).

Wilkinson has been an integral part of the video-game development community in Vancouver since its beginning.

He was a member of Don Mattrick’s Distinctive Software in the late 1980s, and when that company was acquired by Electronic Arts, Wilkinson and Rory Armes created Radical Entertainment.

Radical in turn spawned a number of Vancouver studios, including THQ’s Relic Entertainment, Barking Dog Studios (now Rockstar Vancouver, a division of Take-Two), and EA Black Box.

Current Radical president Kelly Zmak has referred to the company as “Radical University”, and its employees have proven to be among the best and brightest, having seeded the likes of Big Sandwich, Blue Castle, Hellbent, Next Level, Slant Six, United Front, and other studios.

Even Hothead Games itself came out of Radical. It was formed in 2006 by former Radical employees Vlad Ceraldi, Joel DeYoung, and Steve Bocska.

Since then, the developer has created Greenhouse, a direct digital distribution service, and has published two episodes of On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, an adventure game based on the popular on-line comic Penny Arcade.

Wilkinson left Radical after selling the company to Vivendi Games in 2005. Radical is now part of Activision Blizzard.

Wilkinson’s new job at Hothead is a return to video-game development. “I have already rolled up my sleeves and I am very excited to be back in the industry,” he said in a press release.

Ceraldi, formerly president and CEO, becomes director of game development, and DeYoung moves from COO to director of game technology. Bocska left Hothead in 2007.

For his part, Ceraldi is happy to be getting back to game design. In the same release, he said, “My passion is making great games and my new role will allow me to focus on just that.”