The Gaming Founders Podcast: The Storied History of Gaming Veteran Louis Castle, Co-Founder of Westwood
Welcome to The Gaming Founders Podcast, where we interview founders that have shaped the gaming industry. You’ll hear origin stories, tactics that helped founders and companies survive and thrive, and key lessons for anyone building the next generation of gaming companies. Your hosts are Eden Chen, CEO of Pragma and Kevin Zhang, Partner at Upfront Ventures.
Today’s guest is Louis Castle, SVP of Product Development at Deviation Games. Best known as co-founder of Westwood Studios, Louis has over 40 years of experience pioneering, building and accelerating digital entertainment companies as both a founder and a C-Suite exec.
In this episode, you’ll hear how he built his early “Westwood Associates” team in his early 20s, how Westwood changed and Louis’ career morphed going through four acquisitions, and lots of stories centered on the technical, financial and business details around the business of games.
Louis Castle’s companies and teams have been responsible for successful game franchises including Command & Conquer, Blade Runner, The Lion King, Monopoly, Boom Blox, War Commander: Rogue Assault, and many more. Louis is a 20-year member of the GDC Advisory Board, has two video game industry lifetime achievement awards, and numerous best-in-class product awards for over 150 video games including a BAFTA. Castle is a sought-after public speaker at trade shows, universities, and development conferences.
Louis bought his first PC with his busboy job, met Brett at a Vegas computer store
Early business development (pre-internet) for “Westwood Associates”
Hiring the team - ambition, personality, and values
The Virgin acquisition of Westwood
Acquisition by Hasbro, Spelling Entertainment/Viacom, EA
92- 98 Lion King, Blade Runner, Monopoly, Red Alert, Lands of Lore
Command & Conquer 1995 and RTS
Blizzard and a bit of tension
EA’s acquisition and Westwood layoffs
Louis’ positions at EA and other unexpected career directions
Advice to yourself - live in the moment, appreciate where you are
The Gaming Founders Podcast is brought to you by Eden Chen, CEO of Pragma, and Kevin Zhang, Partner at Upfront Ventures.
Pragma is a venture-backed backend game engine founded by the engineering leaders who built the platforms for some of the largest live service games including League of Legends, Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Plants vs. Zombies 2. Pragma powers services like accounts, matchmaking and player data for the world’s most ambitious live service games. Eden Chen is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Pragma, Fishermen Labs and Lightmark Capital, and started his career in investment banking at Citigroup and Lehman Brothers.
Founded in 1996 in Los Angeles with investing professionals based in LA and SF, Upfront Ventures has backed startup teams across all technology sectors, with about half in Southern California, and the rest across the US and Europe. Kevin Zhang is an avid gamer and former neurobiology researcher who leads gaming and healthcare investments at Upfront Ventures, including Pragma.