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Pros – Historically, Blue Fang had enough success that it could offer a reasonable work/life balance, and the benefits were superb. This ended in the last project cycle as the money ran out. The Zoo Tycoon games were best-in-class and deserved their success. Blue Fang hired a lot of talented senior employees who helped create a great peer group.
Cons – Blue Fang had success with their first two Zoo Tycoon games, but for World of Zoo, the company ran out of money and the employees had too much overtime. The management was very opaque compared to other game companies I have worked at. World of Zoo had too many false starts to be profitable, and this was compounded by the poor Wii third-party sales which it failed to elude.
Advice to Senior Management – I wish you the best success making Facebook games, that seems like a reasonable business plan. Third party game development is risky, and I don't blame you for the Wii failure.
Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend
Pros – Blue Fang Games was a great opportunity to get involved and expand your skills and responsibilities. They were big enough to make an impact on the industry while small enough to avoid the feeling of being just a cog in the machine.
Cons – Unfortunately, Blue Fang Games got comfortable. They shipped the same product for so many years that the planning required to create something new provided something of a challenge. This has ultimately led to multiple rounds of layoffs.
Advice to Senior Management – Putting the entire game into a few peoples' hands has not worked twice now. They were extremely talented individuals, but we were exploring entirely new territory in the game space. It's messy, hectic, and lawless; a difficult position for anyone, let alone those without years and titles of experience doing it. Foster collaboration and criticism, and don't take it personally. Everyone wants to make the product better and no one knows exactly how to do it, so work together.
Pros – Blue Fang treats it's employees pretty well overall. Flexible work hours, complimentary bagels once a week, fresh fruit, average industry salaries, generally adverse to crunch situations, and (until recently) a fair number of long time employees.
Cons – Blue Fang has gone through two rounds of layoffs after completing their most recent title, which has left the company very top heavy. Pre-production and design changes ran very late on their most recent title, leading to about 6-9 months of ~55 hr/week crunch.
Advice to Senior Management – The design department often puts off making decisions until the last minute which means ideas are often prototyped in production and never vetted before their assigned completion date. Combine this with a love of iteration and unrealistic (sometimes non-existant) scheduling and you have a recipe for unexpected crunch and frustration.
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend
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No thanks –