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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Arkadium (more than a year)Pros
- I worked at Arkadium for about two years, and I improved pretty dramatically as a game developer (and all-around professional) in that time. The company puts a lot of effort into professional development: you will need to do public speaking in front of the whole NY office, you will need to run meetings, you will need to attend training sessions no matter how long you've worked there. This stuff is really worthwhile even though it does eat up a lot of time.
- CEO and President genuinely want their employees to be happy and will listen to concerns. I don't think enough people actually go speak to them about problems, but they experiment with ways of reaching out to people.
- Work-life balance is taken seriously -- not many employees have kids, but the company seems pretty good about letting parents be flexible.
- The art team is very small, but its work is awesome. All the games I worked on looked really cool visually.
- There's a really talented R&D group that pushes out neat, innovative prototypes every couple of weeks. Most of these games never see the light of day... I wish the company would just release more of these small projects as-is in case it gets a surprise viral hit.
- Company is interested in giving you spaces to be creative and experimental (brainstorms, internal game jams, etc.), even when you weren't on the most ambitious project or role.
- Game teams are very small, which means that you'll get put into high-ownership positions on a regular basis (e.g., the only artist or designer on a game).
- Employees are fun, smart, and well-connected people. I had many evening staying late and playing games with my co-workers, or going out drinking with them, or going to industry events and having them introduce me to new connections.Cons
- Company management was going through some major, long-term changes during my time there. This led, directly or indirectly, to some unpleasant periods of time -- high turnover and layoffs, changes in company priorities, etc. Mostly it all settled down in the last year, though.
- There was lot of management from the "gut" -- less today than in the pre-transition period. In the past, projects could go ahead with unrealistic expectations and too-ambitious deadlines, but I think the company is more prudent now. Nevertheless, management gets very personally invested in projects and can still let their own preferences/instincts steer development too strongly. Teams can sometimes feel like they're working to please management rather than working to make the best game possible.
- Company was starting to feel more top-heavy in NY by the end of my time there, and I had concerns that this would have a negative effect on employees' independence and creativity.RecommendsNeutral Outlook
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
- Application Details
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1+ week – interviewed at Arkadium.Interview Details
I was referred to the position by a recruiter. I was given a "Production Test" via email to complete at home, which was actually more like a game design test. In my fourteen years in games, I have never been asked to take a "design test" for a production position.
The test involved several questions:
1) Redesign / re-purpose one of their failing social game titles "NFL Ultimate Fan" or something to that affect. It seems that they discovered a little late that the game offered nothing for users to do during the football off season. The original "game" was so badly designed that it was pretty easy, if not time consuming to completely redesign the game and complete the question.
2) Select a game from their library of Flash Ad-Ware titles and create a pitch for LIfetime based on one of their shows. I picked Dog the Bounty Hunter. The available games were so archaic and had been reskinned so many time by Arkadium and other companies that it seemed like an exercise in futility. I picked one of their least used games and did a full design spec for the reskin based on that game and the Dog the Bounty Hunter IP.
3) I don't remember the third question but to be honest it was equally unrelated to a production role.
Upon completion, four days later I was called in for an interview.
- I entered the office with another employee and sat in the "waiting" area which was in the front of the studio. Despite telling them I was there for an interview, the employee made no attempt to inform anyone I was there.
- There was no receptionist present to inform anyone I had arrived for the interview. I was kept waiting for about 35 minutes to be seen even after I informed someone I was waiting.
-The office vibe was very elitist and felt very little like any other game company I had worked at. I felt like the entire company seemed overdressed and stuffy for the game industry.
- I met with three members of the production team and two game designers. The interview was very awkward at points to say the least. I felt that none of the staff I met with seemed very qualified to be conducting their interviews. I have never in my career had to explain gaming terms to someone who was supposed to be my senior or peer in an interview setting. I actually had to explain Agile and SCRUM development to multiple members of the staff.
- Everyone I talked with was polite if not a bit like deer in headlights.
- The highest ranking member of the Design department that interviewed me had not reviewed my "production" test but heard that I performed well from others. The interviewer seemed disinterested in even being in the room to be honest and seemed a bit put off that I was interviewing for production role but also understood Game Design.
- The design team barely spoke about my test results at all but the production team seemed inquisitive to the point that my answers were way over their heads. They seemed very confused about current trends in social and mobile games. They also seemed put off that my test seemed to surpass their normal expectations of Producers.
- During the interview with the main person in charge of hiring me, I was asked several times if I was certain that I wanted to be a producer and not a game designer based on my "creative nature" and test results. I explained that I didn't feel I needed to limit my skill set to one discipline and that I had worn many hats in the past. At that I was "cautioned" that Arkadium is not keen on "gamer industry elitists" and that they each wear their own hats there. I was also told that good game ideas can come from anyone and not just the "gamer geeks".
After awkwardly agreeing, I was told that the team liked me and my test results a lot and that I should expect to hear from them soon.
Three days later I received an offer through the recruiter which I now regret that I accepted.Interview QuestionsNegotiation DetailsYes, the initial offer was good but I had some serious misgivings about the interview process so I asked if they would increase the base salary by 10% and they agreed. I don't believe this was a normal exception that they would make.Accepted OfferNegative ExperienceEasy Interview
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Arkadium is a top game development studio developing casual, mobile, social and Windows 8 games. Founded in 2001 by Jessica Rovello and Kenny Rosenblatt, Arkadium has grown from a humble startup with four employees to a profitable, multimillion dollar business with offices spanning the globe from New York City to Ukraine.