Day 1 Studios

  www.day1studios.com
  www.day1studios.com

Day 1 Studios Reviews

Updated October 21, 2014
Updated October 21, 2014
12 Reviews
2.7
12 Reviews
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Victor Kislyi
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Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Has its merritts, but can be frustrating for some

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

    I worked at Day 1 Studios (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Family-Friendly (certainly as far as game developers go!)
    Nice salaries & benefits.
    FUN!
    No place better in Chicago.
    Projects START strong and promising.....

    Cons

    ...but eventually those projects come up short in the end.
    Top-heavy; too many cooks (managers) spoil the broth.
    Difficulty holding onto more talented people.
    Two offices (700 miles apart) working on the same project leads to inevitable communication gaps and frustration.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your products always have so much potential, but in the end look very "mixed" with good & bad art; overall quality suffers.

    You made some odd decisions about whom to promote into creative leadership positions.... one particular art lead (in HV) who comes to mind was inexperienced, disorganized, NOT very talented, and was NOT well-respected by most in BOTH offices.

    I am both sad and sorry to say, my faith in our company's future was severely rattled when I had to watch as some of our most talented, hard-working, and DEDICATED people either LEFT in frustration (off to work for our competitors) while a few others (who, while frustrated, still inexplicably had enthusiasm and loyalty for us) were thrown under the bus by the talentless hacks in HV.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Mind-numbing, soul-crushing work. Glad I got out before the entire team was laid off.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance in Timonium, MD
    Former Employee - Quality Assurance in Timonium, MD

    I worked at Day 1 Studios part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    90% of the time it's a very relaxed atmosphere.
    If you're looking for a position that allows you to sit down all day, you're in luck. And when there is downtime, or all the consoles have to be reset for the 7th time that day, you can goof around in the break room.

    Cons

    The pay might be terrible but you get plenty of overtime—whether you like it or not. As a QA tester, the bugs you report are often written off as "Works As Designed" and the overall tediousness of the job is enough to make you suicidal.
    Additionally, you're treated with the least amount of respect possible. Not that they have high standards for employees in that position, but don't expect to hold onto your sense of self-worth once you clock in for the day.
    It was FOUR WEEKS before I was issued my own work station—during which time they hired another QA tester who immediately got his own station. It's likely they forgot I was on payroll or something.
    Zero benefits, aside from getting to borrow from their library of video games.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not sure what to say; hopefully the management at the Chicago office is more competent than the Timonium office was.
    I mean there is no conceivable way it could be WORSE, but I hope it's at least a step up.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    What a waste of talent and potential.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Artist in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Day 1 Studios full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    This studio in 2005 had an amazing group of talented and veteran developers. Tons of potential and several irons in the fire (titles.) It was great place to be, there were great parties and work events, and helpful, talented co-workers accompanied by high morale. The president was able to secure cool and fun game contracts much better than many other small local developers.

    Cons

    Due to poor upper management, most of what was good is now a hollow shell of what it once was. Nearly all the real talent has either left or been laid off or fired, and there isn't much left. By putting in charge poor and ill equipped managers that are not or were not qualified to run different aspects of the team it has resulted in failure multiple times over.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It doesn't work to have novices to the industry, or people with no experience manage veterans. Promote people based on their ability, tenure and experience not on how much they kiss up. Recognize real talent and reward it! It's not hard, re-evaluate your priorities.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5.  

    An independent Midwest game developer of over 10 years

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

    I have been working at Day 1 Studios full-time

    Pros

    Medium studio with two locations, Chicago and Hunt Valley, MD. Great atmosphere and easy to work independently and own your area. The owner is an experienced businessman and very open with the staff about the business dealings and how the company is run. Hard working, professional employees that still know how to have fun.

    Cons

    Working for big publishers has its drawbacks. Poor decisions and misdirection from external pressures have hurt some of Day 1's products. Yes, there was a poor manager and a canceled project that caused us to lose some really good employees. Both situations have been rectified and the studio is a fantastic place to work again.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to search for top talent and keep your hiring standards tight so we don't lose what we have worked so hard to get back to.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    Day 1 Studios is back.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Day 1 Studios full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits with paid time off. A week off at Christmas. Small teams that can do amazing things with great in-house tools and pipeline. Renewed Management that truly cares about their employees. Management that cuts through large publisher BS. 2 blocks from the metra. Awesome people to work with. Good life work balance.

    Cons

    We had some lack luster hires in the past that would sink the titanic again if they could. All that has changed. Still have to pay for Soda at the Soda machine.:(

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More parties please :)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7.  

    Very poor management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Day 1 Studios

    Pros

    Good advancement opportunities if you know what you're doing. Company tries (Note: "TRIES") to treat it's employees well.

    Cons

    Management is terrible. They promote people to lead design/producer rolls who have no idea what they are doing. They don't know how to make good looking/fun games whatsoever. Constant disorganization and poor communication. Poor art direction.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do not allow people who are bad at making games to uh...be in charge of making your games.

    Doesn't Recommend
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fun environment with great talent, but not enough projects to maintain a stable career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sparks, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sparks, MD

    I worked at Day 1 Studios

    Pros

    -If hourly, treated very well
    -Benefit package was nice
    -Excellent talent to work with

    Cons

    -Politics keep the few "not so great" people on staff
    -Crunch time is normal; (families visit to see their spouses)
    -Communication between offices are difficult at times
    -No backup projects to fall back on resulting in layoffs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You were great to work with, but I knew there were problems. More projects are a necessity and the development cycle needs to be offset so that when one project ends, the team can be moved to the project that's beginning to need more staff, rather than going straight to layoffs.

    Additionally, the sheer lack of disciplining your subordinates allows them to sleep (literally), make false accusations despite clear instruction, slack off, and provide an infectious lowering of morale, especially during crunch time. Crunch time wasn't bad either, it was just crunch time + the above that made it bad. Just wagging your finger doesn't resolve the problem.

  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    A lot of talented people, but issues with communication and upper management decisions hindered the production pipeline.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Concept Artist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Concept Artist in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Day 1 Studios

    Pros

    Day 1 Studios had an open door policy to voice concerns to upper management. There were some amazingly talented and experienced people to work with. Generally the atmosphere was casual and fun - the studio had a good gaming culture.

    Cons

    Lack of proper planning for tasks and deadlines meant every milestone ended with a crunch. Many changes in direction clouded the overall goals of the project and made the vision difficult to define.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please be sure leads and management are both qualified in terms of experience and knowledge, and also trained to manage people effectively and tactfully. Clearly define your project's vision and keep it current / relevant during the production. A need for constant crunches is a scheduling failure... plan milestone tasks better. Game development is done by people. A successful studio values its people. Please recognize individual's talents and put them in a position to best utilize / inspire that talent and help them grow. When people begin leaving a company en mass, that's a critical message that something's broken and needs immediate attention. Communicate with your production people (the grunts who actually make the game) and ask how they feel about the current state of the project. Please value employees as people - not merely 'tools' to use in order to build your game.

    Doesn't Recommend
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Uninspired

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Day 1 Studios

    Pros

    Day 1 offers competitive compensation, benefits, and paid time off.

    They have a good support staff. The IT guys in particular are responsive and helpful.

    Cons

    Low employee morale and faith in the management leads to a gloomy mood and outlook.

    Lack of communication in general.

    Unmotivated and disinterested team.

    Managers can be condescending and tend to threaten or accuse, rather than inspire.

    High turnover.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management needs to get out of their ivory tower and engage/motivate the team. That would be positive motivation, not threats of crunch/firing/etc like they've done in the past.

    Doesn't Recommend
  11.  

    There is a reason why a company goes from 240+ employees to less that 50, in three years.

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

    I worked at Day 1 Studios full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Has a decent ability to lure talented individuals in, making for great co workers.
    Work conditions are so harsh that 1 year here is the equivalent of 3 years of experience in what NOT to do as a professional, so you will develop a tough skin.

    Cons

    Takes the term "success fails upwards" as a business model.
    Redundant management, ambiguous roles and long thankless hours.
    The buddy system trumps hard work and skill.
    Suggesting better practices gets you marked for death.
    Company burns out employees, accepts the blame in tears, then purges the demoralized employees claiming they were poor hires to begin with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If a manager or lead at an entertainment company is not creative, they could at least be organized.
    If a company is all about the bottom line, that is fine. Just make sure your choices in leadership knows how to get there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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