Carbine Studios

  www.carbinestudios.com
  www.carbinestudios.com
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Carbine Studios Reviews

Updated September 3, 2014
Updated September 3, 2014
10 Reviews
2.6
10 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Robert Garriott
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Designer Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Designer  in  Aliso Viejo, CA
    Current Employee - Designer in Aliso Viejo, CA

    I have been working at Carbine Studios full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Talented People, awesome game, crunch food, bike trails, close to the beach

    Cons

    I'm happy to have a job in the games industry and wish the designers I work with would stop complaining and creating such a toxic work environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire quality people. The rush to make the game forced management to hire alot of folks real fast.

    Help the toxic employees find new work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Use to be a good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Artist  in  Aliso Viejo, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Artist in Aliso Viejo, CA

    I have been working at Carbine Studios full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Wildstar is a great project to be apart of, great art style, fun game to play. The proprietary tools used to make the game are some of the best in the industry for making an MMO. The people that actually make the game (non management) are great to work with and there's some real talent here.

    Taking time off is *usually* pretty easy to get, health insurance is alright. Flexible working hours as long as you're here during the core hours and put in your 8 hours. They promise career advancement, reward for hard work and being good at your job, as well as bonuses and profit sharing.

    There always seems to be a group of people that share the same interests as you, whether that be playing Magic, some kind of RPG or table top game, or hiking, or bike riding, etc.

    The area is nice to live in, 10 minutes from the beach, a lot of outdoor activities to do around here. The weather is pretty much perfect year round.

    Cons

    While the project and tools are great, the management isn't, it's become very cliquey with different departments at odds with each other or trying to shift blame around rather than fixing whatever the issue is. About 5 years ago when Carbine had a smaller head count, it felt like they really cared about their employees, now that we've ballooned to a large head count, it feels corporate and cold. They demand loyalty without rewards or incentives and feed you lies and false promises.

    After being here for almost 5 years and having gotten "A" ratings on all my employee reviews, I've not gotten a raise, promotion, or cost of living increase. During mandatory crunch time, taking time off was not easy to get approved. I worked an average of 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for almost a year and when employee review time came, I still did not receive a raise, promotion, or cost of living increase. It does feel a bit like a meat grinder at times where they squeeze as much as they can out of you while paying terrible wages and giving no incentives to keep going above and beyond your job description.

    This is a very high cost of living area and the wages don't match making it hard to live out here. Cost of living keeps going up but my wages remain the same. The one reviewer mentioning they qualify for food stamps is probably not far from the truth.

    I mentioned in the "Pros" the promise of career advancement (which hasn't happened), reward for hard work and being good at your job (also hasn't happened), as well as bonuses (there was actually a small bonus given out a few years ago) and profit sharing (remains to be seen). Unfortunately, it seems Carbine is only helping perpetuate the problem in the industry of having to change jobs to get a raise/promotion. Because of this, we are hemorrhaging talent to other companies that actually pay their employees a living wage; and we are left with more and more people who aren't good at their jobs.

    On top of all that, the office space Carbine is in is a bit dumpy, the workspace is overcrowded, the bathrooms are gross, and parking sucks.

    It depresses me the "Cons" list is so much longer than my "Pros" list. Carbine use to be great place to work and it can be again, but there needs to be some major changes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice to management would be to stop pointing fingers at each other trying to shift blame for things that go wrong, but rather work together to solve the issue and learn from it so that the mistake doesn't happen again. All too often it's an "Us vs Them" and I shouldn't be expected to pick a side to fight on, we're all on the same team! Get your act together and start acting like managers that people want to respect and follow.

    I don't understand why management is always so surprised every time a talented employee leaves to go work somewhere else when the solution is so painfully obvious, so my other piece of advice to management is to actually PAY your employees a living wage. REWARD them for their hard work and for going above and beyond their job description. You give employees incentive to do something well, they will do it. You treat your employees well, you will earn their respect and loyalty. When you promise something, follow through with it and you will gain the employee's trust. This type of environment will foster passion and creativity as well as happy employees.

    If you pay employees crap, you will get crap and uninspired work. Lies and false promises will only keep employees going for so long before they realize the employer will never deliver and this creates low moral and rumors of worse things to come. Treating employees like they are cogs in a wheel or just meat to be ground up and tossed aside when they are no longer useful creates dissension, in fighting, and fear.

    Carbine can be a great place to work again, but only management can make that happen.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Needs better vision.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Carbine Studios full-time

    Pros

    The company culture is excellent. Everyone is friendly. There are posters, statues, and funny t-shirts everywhere.
    Their IP, Wildstar, is awesome and has tons of potential.

    Cons

    The company leadership is very old-fashioned and reactionary. Essential initiatives that should have been done in beta are occurring post-launch. Very little planning. Too much emphasis is placed on formula instead of innovation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Now is the time to try implementing changes and features that are exciting and unusual to recapture interest.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Failing upwards is all too common, far too much micromanagement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Aliso Viejo, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Aliso Viejo, CA

    I worked at Carbine Studios full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Company benefits are great
    WildStar, against all odds, is a fantastic product and I still can't stop playing it.

    Cons

    Promotions are given to those who repeatedly fail at their current positions.
    There's a distinct lack of trust in hires to be able to do their job, so an insane level of micromanagement is ongoing.
    Management constantly makes decisions that designers, programmers, etc. disagree with, yet aren't involved enough to realize the team secretly makes the changes anyway.
    An EXTREMELY male-centric upper management, leading to horribly offensive art decisions, marketing strategies, and a clear disinterest in addressing any of these issues when raised internally.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust the people you hire to do their jobs; do not put people in management positions without any sort of training or guidance. Get rid of people who are performing poorly, rather than shifting them to a different department.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Mix of talent and no-talent

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Carbine Studios full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The negative 2013 October review is spot on. There's some amazingly talented people but then there are schmoozers, attention seekers, and some people that need to be replaced. Objectively though, Carbine does rank fine compared to the amount of waste found at a typical office job.

    Cons

    You won't find an exciting small start up experience filled only with incredibly talented and hardworking people. Don't get me wrong, there are some people that will inspire you. But you'll meet others that'll fumble and grasp and sabotage the game. I haven't seen such a huge disparity in a single company before.

    And it's a new IP in the game industry, which is a doubly whammy for lower pay and longer hours.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more strict on promoting the wrong people. Stop being so desperate on hires. Wildstar will profit, so there can be better picking and choosing. Trim the fat. Reward and retain the excellent. Avoid being a feeder company to bigger names that will pay better.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Talented people undermined by management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Carbine Studios for more than 3 years

    Pros

    There's some smart, talented, and experienced people working here and a lot of them could offer more if given the chance.
    The IP is fresh and exciting and the constant involvement with the fan community is a breath of fresh air. This is literally the only good thing left about this job.
    The insurance plan is great for a single employee.

    Cons

    The last year has seen company morale plummeting as long hours, questionably legal business practices, and weaknesses in the management structure eat away at that great talent pool.

    The higher up you go in the management chain, the less actual management skill you'll find and that has honestly gotten worse as people who've actively sabotaged deadlines and contributed to serious problems get moved up either through straight up cronyism or because there's nobody else around to do the job and thus someone who is next in line but not at all qualified to lead gets tossed into the spotlight. The corporate culture has devolved into straight up cliques and several departments openly hate each other. Since there's no attempt to defuse these situations before they blow up, they just keep compounding.

    It's a damn shame, it used to be a good place to work and the IP is still solid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop the cliques, right now. You want to run an MMO for 5+ years, you have got to make sure people don't feel like they have to pick which trench to fight in. And instead of passing off problematic employees and departments to other people to procrastinate on, actually take some damn action and learn what the hell is going on. Way too many leads have little to no knowledge of what goes on in their departments or even what other departments do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    A studio with great potential

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Developer
    Former Employee - Developer

    I worked at Carbine Studios full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Carbine has a very great product in Wildstar which gives the company a bright, exciting future. Being able to work on a game like this has been an amazing opprotunity.

    Cons

    Compensation doesn't line up with cost of living around here. Long working hours, but this is a plight of the overall game industry. But it would be nice if studios started breaking that mould.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Break tradition, work less hours and pay your quality folks more. Hire some more quality talent.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    No overall vision, no sense of time, no leadership

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Carbine Studios part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You get to work with a few amazingly talented people. The employees are truly great people.
    Wildstar is still an amazing title, regardless of a handful of faux leaders who are slowly causing it to rot from the top to the bottom

    Cons

    You have to work with way more amateurs. Since there is no established IP; and the fact that this studio is know to pay laughable wages in an extremely expensive living area, this studio is forced to hire whoever they can get. Luckily for the studio, the IP in development is pretty good, so they end up attracting some leader.
    Management lies to your face and expects you to care about the project after illegally bullying your entire team with into working 11 hour days for the rest of your life.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a leader who is more up to date on current trends in videogames. Management is a bit out of touch with what is cool and what is a tired ass idea and a waste of production time. Also, stop throwing years of work away. Pay your employees properly. It is extremely sad that after working here so long, I am still eligible for food stamps.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Work hard- play hard

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Aliso Viejo, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Aliso Viejo, CA

    I have been working at Carbine Studios full-time

    Pros

    So many talented people that are driven to produce an awesome product.

    Cons

    Southern California can be a bit pricey as far as housing is concerned.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Interesting project at a lower salary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Carbine Studios full-time

    Pros

    Fun project, good team, able to influence game decisions when using the proper channels.

    Cons

    Lower salary - most Orange Country game studios model their salary structure off of Blizzard's. This means a very low pay rate minus the bonuses. It does not make up for the cost of living.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take care of the current employees. It's far more financially beneficial to leave to another studio than it is to stay.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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