United States Marine Corps veteran, Christian Allen, is no stranger in the gaming industry, landing his first role as creative director at Red Storm Entertainment (owned by Ubisoft) to lead 10 Tom Clancy’s titles from 2002 through 2007. While at Red Storm, he served as an MP (military police) for the North Carolina Army National Guard which rounded out 10 years of service across three branches (US Marine Corps, Air Guard, Army Guard). Christian has been on the Operation Supply Drop Advisory Board since 2016 where his made significant contributions to the growth of our programs and the strength of partnership with companies aligned with our mission. Never one to back down from a challenge, we’re excited to welcome Christian to our Leadership Staff at the Program Director for Games to Grunts.
Christian brings what he describes as a “get it done” attitude, which aligns perfectly with the values of Operation Supply Drop. Christian also has a sense of humor which surfaces in nearly any interaction. When asked about his time in the service he reflected, “I like to joke that I am one of the few folks in the modern military to serve almost ten years and get out as an E-4 with no bad discipline marks.” This is nearly incomprehensible, by most accounts.
While many veterans face difficult transitions from military to civilian life, Christian’s was relatively smooth. After coming off active duty, he worked for the State of Alaska in Child Support Enforcement and Emergency Services, while still in the Guard. He didn’t jump straight from the military to the games industry.
After accepting his first role in the gaming industry as a military mind on military themed Tom Clancy titles, the fit was natural. He said, “The ability to make decisions and then execute on those decisions that I picked up in the military has served me well in the games industry. Making games is often an exercise of dealing with multiple fires that need to be put out at any one time, and the ability to process changing circumstances while keeping an eye on the end goal is a valuable skillset to have.”
Christian did have some wisdom for his younger self, “What really would have helped me out was any actual knowledge of how the games industry worked before I started. I think a lot of gamers think that because they know games they know the games industry, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
He must have adapted pretty quickly since shortly after starting at Red Storm he accepted a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Game of the Year awards for Tom Clancy’s Advanced Warfighter. While this was a huge moment, Christian said, “I am proud of the teams I worked with and the games we shipped. It is not a small accomplishment for dozens or hundreds of people to work multiple years and actually ship a project out, and having worked on titles that gamers enjoyed has been a great experience. Every time you run into a gamer who says, “oh I played this game you worked on,” whether a big blockbuster or a smaller indie title, it is always a great feeling.”
Years, and numerous titles, later with studios including WB Games, Bungie and Hidden Path, Christian linked up with Operation Supply Drop. Christian said, “I enjoy being part of an organization that brings two things that I am passionate about: the well-being of our service members and vets and gamers enjoying great games, is a cool unique opportunity. I especially appreciate that while at the same time as providing a great service to the troops, OSD helps to reinforce the rising acceptance that games can and do have a positive impact on people’s lives, which is an important message that sometimes gets lost in the public discourse around gaming.”
With his new role, Christian is excited to get going. “The key skill set I bring to the table is speaking to game developers and publishers, they know that I understand the unique pressures and challenges of game development, and I speak their language,” he said, “I understand the production processes and timelines, so it allows me to best work with developers to ensure that their time and effort are well spent for the maximum impact to help OSD complete it’s mission. Having been involved in all aspects of development as well as delivering games through OSD, I can connect the right people at the right time, and developers appreciate having someone who understands their unique challenges.”
Above and beyond the fun and games, Christian strongly believes in the importance of purpose through service in the community. Christian said, “Vets have a great combination of hands on experience engaging and executing on projects as well as a diverse and strong connection to their communities, allowing them to come together to really bring value back home. This is also a strong reminder to the rest of the civilian world that veterans are a valuable resource to our communities, one that should be supported so they can continue to serve after they hang up the uniform.”
“I am really excited to step into an expanded role with Operation Supply Drop, it is so cool to be able to help to connect service folks, veterans, gamers, and developers together to “bring the fun” while also helping out others with such a diverse range of backgrounds. It’s a strong reminder that while games are all about fun, they are also about making people’s lives better, and we can all be a part of that in different ways. Semper Fi!”