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HELM is a boutique creative consultancy specializing in the conception and development of original video game and transmedia entertainment IP. In addition to providing expert game consulting, creative direction, game design, narrative design, and production guidance for video game projects, HELM creates transmedia storyworlds that span games, film, television, print, and web.


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About HELM

Making games is hard. Bringing in an external video game consultant can help provide invaluable perspective, breaking teams out of creative gridlock and getting them back on track. HELM supports game teams looking to strengthen the quality of their project …

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Founder and creative director at HELM, Raphael van Lierop is a 12-year veteran of the video games industry, and has held creative and production leadership roles on multiple million-selling, award-winning entertainment franchises including COMPANY OF HEROES, SPACE MARINE, DAWN OF …

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HELM provides video game consulting services to a range of clients — primarily studios and publishers in the video game and transmedia spaces — collaborating with them to deliver high-quality entertainment and forward-thinking IPs. Publicly announced collaborators include Bigpoint GMBH, Activision, …

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Raphael was a critical component in the realization of Space Marine. When he joined the team he made fundamental changes to his team’s structure by providing a stronger focus amongst us, and the ability to use our skills to the fullest. Raphael gave his team the opportunity to do the required research and development which allowed us to improve our process and ultimately the final product. He is also very story driven which is rare these days as often story can be secondary in games. Furthermore, Raphael’s attention to detail greatly improved the Space Marine story, narrative, cinematics and many other aspects of the campaign and core game play. He has very high standards and strong resolve when it comes to his vision and the people he is working with. I have great respect for this quality as it challenges me to be my best and to grow in my career. I know that any future projects Raphael undertakes, he will be successful at and I hope to have the opportunity of working with him again.

–Tristan Brett, Environment Art Team Supervisor

I was fortunate enough to work with Raphael when I was hired to write a non-disclosed project for Ubisoft. At the time, Raph was the Narrative Director, and I could not have asked for a better person with which to work. Raphael had clear ideas about what he wanted to achieve, yet he left the door open for all ideas to flow freely. Allowing this time to explore is an essential part of creating, and Raphael understood that completely. We spent countless hours discussing, dissecting and debating characters and story and how they could dovetail seamlessly into the game play experience. Raphael made the sometimes-rocky process of game writing an absolute joy.

…and that was just the nuts and bolts of our collaboration. On the creative front, I found Raphael’s instincts to be spot on. He displayed a natural ability in both story and writing. His vision and passion to create a compelling and meaningful story experience was a rare treat. I look forward to the time when we can work together again, and I look forward to all of the great work that will come from Raphael in the future.

–Marianne Krawczyk, Award-winning Writer of the God of War series

I worked with Raphael at Relic Entertainment on Space Marine. I found Raph to be an exceptional Director. He’s a very good communicator, he has a strong vision and he’s a genuinely good person. As a lead on a AAA title, it’s so important to know what the vision is – what we’re going to be making, what emotions do we want to player to feel, what are the important moments in a particular scene etc. Raph was constantly doing the rounds with the creative owners to make sure that everyone was on the same page, and that there was a consistent understanding amongst the various departments as to what we were making. I always felt that I understood what Raph wanted. He’s a very direct communicator. He’s intense and passionate, and he knows what he wants. If you ever have a problem with something, he’s always willing to discuss it, and he’s a very reasonable person. Raph is also very good at giving positive, constructive criticism, and helping people to achieve their true potential. I would work with him again in a second.

–Glenn Jamison, Audio Director

Raph is a force to be reckoned with! This was my thought after the first week of working with him. Thank god he was a force for good! Space Marine was definitely a little lost at the beginning of the project. Raph was instrumental in tightening the design and shaping it into what it is today. He provided valuable feedback that was constructive and insightful and definitely raised the quality bar across the board. There were a few times during the project when things started to go awry and fortunately he was there to wrestle it back on course. Above all he was pleasant to work with and I’d definitely want to work with him again.

–Jesse Cluff, Lead AI Programmer

Raphael is one of the most passionate, forthright and direct people I’ve ever worked with in the industry. His insight into the development process, and his ability to identify and troubleshoot bottlenecks and obstacles are second to none. The work he did alongside the creative staff at Radar, concepting and grooming our IP and painstakingly working with our writers to come up with top-notch story drivers and concepts testifies to his creative savvy, his innovative spirit and his overall voice. You want a guy like Raph on your creative team, period.

–Casey Lynch, Vice President of Communications (now Editor-in-Chief, IGN)

I had the pleasure of working with Raphael on Company of Heroes. Raphael is a passionate and motivated individual and a great Producer with a keen understanding of gameplay. Aside from his knowledge of games, his greatest skills are his ability to build teams and empower them to excel. I highly recommend Raphael as a Producer.

–Josh Mosqueira, Lead Designer

Raphael was a talented and dedicated member of the Production Team on Relic’s most complex titles. His ability to understand all aspects of large multi-faceted projects and communicate them to very diverse development teams was instrumental in delivering these critically acclaimed projects. Raphael understands the team dynamic well in the studio and stepped easily into his leadership roles. Raphael was a strong Producer at Relic and I wouldn’t hesitate to work with him again.

–Matt Kernachan, Development Test Manager

If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Raphael you will see that he is not only greatly creative but one of the most passionate people I have met in the games industry. The combination of Raph’s creative ability coupled to his spirited direction is a true asset to Radar and our developer partners.

–Dave Adams, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Raphael works hard, has strong creative instincts, and has been a tremendous driver on several projects we’ve worked on together. In [a short time], Raph has made himself irreplaceable, and that’s my highest compliment. Raph’s many skills, from writer to production to designer, along with his collaborative nature, give him the tools necessary for leading next-generation IP creation and game development.

–Scott Miller, Founder 3DRealms Entertainment & Radar Group. Co-creator of Max Payne, Duke Nukem, Prey, & Earth No More.

Raphael was a pleasure to work with. As a manager he is capable of bringing a high degree of excellence and organization to the project he is working on, while maintaining a friendly and professional work environment. As a mentor he was as capable of demonstrating how to succeed as he was at explaining it, and I’m happy to recommend Raphael for any senior management role.

–Jeff Lydell, Assistant Producer

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Raph on Earth No More, and it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. He is uncommon in that he has very strong production skills but can be highly creative at the same time. On top of his game design skills, he has a very good insight into interactive narrative and how to broaden its scopes. While I have been working managing the production of the game, he has been an irreplaceable asset in helping me plan production, bounce ideas off and evaluate designs. Even though our time zones are ten hours apart, our collaboration has been very smooth. I can heartily recommend Raph for any kind of game production or design direction work.

–Kalle Kaivola, Production Manager

I was lucky to work under Raphael on a tight-knit, AAA-title team. Raphael most impressed me with his ability to tackle any problem in a high-pressure situation with an impressive mixture of candor and sensitivity. His ability to respect all viewpoints while driving for the optimal solution allows him to garner maximum contributions from his team. He is also highly organised and has the ability to clearly envision large tasks as component parts that can each be prioritized and solved. It was a pleasure to work with him.

–Russell Lees, Narrative Designer

I could not have been luckier than being hired by Raphael. He mentored me on Production and Development at Relic. I truly appreciated his patience, his leadership, his keen eye and knowledge over game development. But mostly his love for the games, his professionalism and his dedication for the team he is leading make Raphael fitted for any company seeking a veteran. I am looking forward in the future to have my path cross Raphael’s again.

–Arnaud Lebesnerais, Localization Supervisor

Raphael is the consummate professional. I always valued his creativity and passion for the games he worked on, and he made each of those games better for it.

–Sean Dunn, Director of Creative Management, THQ Inc.

Raphael was able to bring a strong vision to Space Marine that focused the whole team and project in the right direction.

He worked tirelessly with all disciplines and never wavered from the vision even when it made for tough decision-making.

Despite the strong direction that he was setting Raphael was always willing to listen to the other members of the team and recognized when others had more expertise than him in certain areas, deferring to their judgment but keeping it in line with the over all project goal.

He also found time to be the face of the project outside the studio, responding to press and marketing demands as professionally as anyone could, evangelizing the game with energy and a complete understanding of all its inner workings.

His time on Space Marine was a difference maker on the project.

–Matthew Berger, Campaign Lead Designer

Having worked with Raph on Space Marine I appreciated his straight-forward approach and honesty…. and his passion for the project was second-to-none.

Being a Senior Designer on the team I found that he was always open to design suggestions and changes and let the creative types within the team have their moment in the sun, but kept tight control and didn’t let us all get away with murder…. which in my opinion is a mark of a good director. I enjoyed working with Raph on Space Marine and I look forward to working with him again.

–Scott Cowie, Level Design Team Supervisor 

I collaborated with Raph in the early stages of an undisclosed project at Ubisoft Montreal. I enjoyed working with him because he has the ability to provide a clear creative concept, yet is open to collaborate within that vision. He has excellent management skills, a strong rational mind and uncompromising sense of what good should be. I appreciate his straight forward, passionate, and no-nonsense style and consider this and his keen insight in game development to be a boon to any production team.

–Zach Schläppi, Art Director of film and games including Far Cry and the Medal of Honor franchises

Raphael is talented, skilled, focused, articulate, determined, imaginative, enthusiastic, and honest. He is absolutely committed to advancing the art of video games and has clear and challenging goals in this regard. He understands the process of video game development in detail and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of a work in progress down to its smallest details.

In addition, he is a pleasure to work with. We’ve collaborated closely on story writing, and in the process I’ve come to depend on his insight, imagination, humor, and persistence.

Finally, because of the qualities I mention above, he is an especially good manager: fair, honest, and explicit in his expectations.

In short, I recommend Raphael highly.

–Tom Maddox, Game Writer, College Writing Professor, and Novelist