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Meet Peter de Jong, General Manager, Behaviour Rotterdam

Behaviour’s presence in Europe has been greatly enhanced with the acquisition of our first Dutch studio, Behaviour Rotterdam. We spoke with the studio’s co-founder and now General Manager, Peter de Jong, about his career (to date!), his gateway video games, and how working with a bunch of Canadians is teaching him to be more polite.  

Tell us about yourself – are you a native of Rotterdam? 
And I’m not a native of Rotterdam, but I studied in Rotterdam and stayed on for about 15 to 20 years. I moved back to the suburbs when I had kids.  

So, what did you study in Rotterdam? 

I studied engineering – electronics, but software engineering was a big part of it. It was low-level software, and I wasn’t thinking about video games at the time. I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in. There was no video game industry in Netherlands at the time, so it didn’t really cross my mind. In my last year, a company came looking for students to work on a game for the Philips CD-i player – a Dutch thing that never went anywhere. You could play games on it but it was super slow and limited. It only lasted 2 or 3 years but it did kick start my career in video games!  

What was your introduction to video games? 

My introduction to video games was an Atari 2600 and later I got some Nintendo Game & Watch handhelds from my parents. That was followed by a Commodore 64 and eventually the AMIGA. I avoided getting a PC for as long as I could but eventually switched over at university.  

What was your gateway video game? 

Rainbow Islands is a game I have fond memories of. I played it so many times with friends and just loved it. There are so many secrets and goals to reach, and it had that arcade vibe so it’s easy to control but hard to master. The NewZealand Story was another fun game to play, with all kinds of secrets. That really inspired me.  

What was your first job in the video game industry? 

After graduation, I was offered a job with Dutch Interactive Media Artists, or DIMA, where I continued to work on video games. I worked there for a couple of years  
on a collection of simple, fun family games and we later created a couple of platform games using the engine we built for our thesis. I was lucky because the games industry was nonexistent in the Netherlands at the time. There was just a small scene making games for the Philips CD-i player. Philips was the only client we had! It was only when Guerrilla Games came along (then Lost Boys Games) – they became the foundation of the Dutch games industry. So, it’s fun to be part of that early history. We’ve got survival skills! 

When did the idea to open your own studio come up? 

When the CD-i player disappeared, there was no video game industry left and no more opportunities in that field, so I took a job in IT and telecom. I did that for a couple of years and became a consultant, which I didn’t like at all. Then the arrival of mobile phones in early 2000 opened up a new way of playing games so I got out of ICT and Maurice (Sibrandi, Co-Founder of Codeglue / Behaviour Rotterdam) and I got into that. We created a few websites to pay the bills, but we were really interested in making games for mobile phones. We went to ECTS, a gaming trade show in London, sold an idea for a game that we had, and we were up and running. 

What was the game? 

It was a Tamagotchi kind of game – we created some pets and had a nice little demo. We ran into a mobile games publisher called iFone; they actually had the Lemmings license, so we paired our idea with a Lemming and that was one of our first big projects. It was a fun time!  

We then moved on to multiplayer games; mobile phones were connected devices, so casual multiplayer games made sense. But that was tough – the hardware, the different telecom operators and latency of like up to 15 seconds – it was a pain and we had to abandon that idea.  

Xbox Live Arcade arrived, and we jumped on that, which was a big step up for us. We had a game called Rocket Riot that we thought was a cool concept and signed a deal with THQ and were suddenly making console games! 

What do you love about your work? 
I love building teams. We have an awesome team here in Rotterdam. I really enjoy facilitating and making sure they have a nice work environment and opportunities to hang out and have fun after hours. Our team is close, and people get together on weekends. They’re colleagues / friends. Key to building a great team is finding like-minded people. We are very meticulous when it comes to hiring – people must be a good fit. And that really shows with our team. 

This has become easier now that we are Behaviour Rotterdam. My role is clearer, and that really helps. Before joining Behaviour, I had five or six roles – I was sales, finance, etc… Now I can focus on managing our team and making sure everyone has what they need to succeed. 

Does the fact Behaviour is Canadian make the fit any easier? 
Canada and Netherlands have always had a good relationship. I feel we have a lot in common with Canadians, as well as some big differences! We can be very direct, and that’s probably something some people need to get used to. But we can also learn from Canadians, to be a little more polite maybe! 

What’s surprised you about Behaviour? 

Canadians are super, super friendly. Everybody you talk to is always super friendly. 
Also, I think that is also what makes us a good match – we’re both friendly people. 

Throughout my career I’ve dealt with all kinds of nationalities and at first, I thought Canada would be similar to the US, but no, it’s quite different. It looks like the US, but the people are different. You’re quiet and that matches with Rotterdam – we’re very modest and quiet. 

About  Behaviour Interactive
Behaviour Interactive is the largest Canadian gaming studio, with more than 1,300 employees worldwide. Behaviour is best known for its flagship franchise, the multiplayer survival horror game Dead by Daylight™, which has entertained 60 million players across multiple platforms. The studio is currently expanding its portfolio of original IP with multiple projects, including the acclaimed building and raiding title Meet Your Maker. Behaviour has also established itself as one of the world’s leading providers of external development services. The company has partnered with many of the gaming industry’s leaders, including Microsoft, Sony, EA, Warner, Netflix, and Take-Two, among many others. Over 30 years, Behaviour has developed an unparalleled, award-winning culture. The company was named one of the Best Places to Work in Canada by, and has been recognized with Deloitte Canada’s Enterprise Fast 15 and Best Managed Company awards. Headquartered in Montreal, Behaviour has expanded its global presence with studios in Toronto (Behaviour Toronto), Seattle (Midwinter Entertainment), the United Kingdom (Behaviour UK – North and Behaviour UK – South) and the Netherlands (Behaviour Rotterdam).   For more information, visit