Veteran developer abruptly exits Jedi Academy studio "to take some risks" in the screenplay game.
One of the longer game-design careers came to a close yesterday when Kenn Hoekstra announced on his personal Web site that he had resigned from Raven Software. Hoekstra began work at the studio in 1997, when he was hired as a level designer for Take No Prisoners. He also did level design work on Hexen II: Portal of Praevus, Heretic II, and Soldier of Fortune.
In 1998, Hoekstra became Raven Software's project administrator, and he contributed to the development of Soldier of Fortune, Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force, Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force Expansion Pack, Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. He had been working on X-Men Legends and Quake IV prior to his departure.
Why would someone leave such a storied career in game development? "My decision to leave Raven is based on a number of factors," Hoekstra told GameSpot, "two of which are my recent divorce and the death of my mother. Upon examination of my life, I realized that after seven plus years, I've gone about as far as I can go career-wise at Raven Software."
However, Hoekstra's split with this employer of seven years is amicable. He praised the company, saying, "Raven's been very supportive of my decision to leave and they wish me well. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to start my career there."
But not only is Hoekstra leaving Raven, he's leaving the game industry altogether--for now, anyway. "I felt it was time to take a legitimate shot at screenwriting," he said. Hoekstra wrote the scenario and script for Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, and has since finished a horror screenplay entitled Cold Front. He currently has several scripts in development.
However, it is unlikely that Hoekstra will stay away from games altogether. "I have several options within the industry opening up for me right now on the development side, the publishing side, and on the journalism side," he said. "I don't know which path I'll take and, to tell you the truth, I'm not really concerned about it right now. First on my list is a nice, long vacation."
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