~ Some players of Age of Conan are under the misperception that Funcom does not know how to code AoC; they couldn’t be more wrong.
~ CEO Rui Casais began his career as a junior programmer on Age of Conan in 2004, extended his contract two more years to finish the game, and never left. One could even say he is married to the company, because his wife is also an employee. Leaving his home country in Portugal to move to Norway, is an amazing commentary on his passion for Funcom, AoC, and adventure gaming.
~ If there is anyone in the world you would want working for Funcom, to guarantee the game we love survives as long as possible, there is only one … Rui Casais.
Funcom’s Rui Casais: From junior programmer to CEO
We speak to the chief exec about his journey to the top, and why he has stayed with the Conan Exiles studio for more than a decade
In 2004, a young Rui Manuel Monteiro Casais joined Norwegian MMO developer Funcom as junior programmer. Ten years later, he was running the company (and still does).
Few complete such a journey - not only because there are only so many CEO positions in the industry, but also because many developers gain experience by moving to different companies throughout their career.
Casais’ lifelong service to Funcom began when he was a student in Portugal, finishing his Masters in Computer Science and Engineering. As he prepared to send his CVs to various gaming firms, a friend who played Anarchy Online noticed on Funcom’s forums that the company was hiring.
One position - junior AI programmer - tied in perfectly with Casais’ thesis on artificial intelligence for online games. He applied, was interviewed by Funcom managers who flew to Portugal, and three days after handing in his thesis, Casais was in Oslo, ready to start.
“I started with a one-year contract, but I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll be here two years and then I’ll move on’,” he tells GamesIndustry.biz . “But I wanted to finish the game - I joined as they were making Age of Conan, which was supposed to launch in 2006 but ended up releasing in 2008. After two years, I was promoted to lead programmer, and right before launch I was promoted to chief technical officer.”
“When I became CEO, I didn’t know if there would still be a company a year later because we were in such dire straits,” he recalls. “But now things are looking up, it’s very different to how it was before, and if anything we’re expanding into other areas to solidify our base even more.”
Wednesday 22nd August 2018