Day 1 Studios
2.8 of 5 10 reviews
www.day1studios.com Chicago, IL

Day 1 Studios Reviews

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2.8 10 reviews

                             

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Victor Kislyi


38% of employees recommend this company to a friend
10 Employee Reviews
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    Day 1 Studios is back.

    Developer (Current Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsGood 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.

    ConsWe 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 Senior ManagementMore parties please :)

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    What a waste of talent and potential.

    Artist (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsThis 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.

    ConsDue 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 Senior ManagementIt 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    An independent Midwest game developer of over 10 years

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsMedium 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.

    ConsWorking 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 Senior ManagementContinue 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Very poor management

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

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

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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

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

    (Former Employee)
    Sparks, MD

    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 Senior ManagementYou 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.

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

    Concept Artist (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsDay 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.

    ConsLack 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 Senior ManagementPlease 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Uninspired

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Chicago, IL

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

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

    ConsLow 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 Senior ManagementManagement 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsHas 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.

    ConsTakes 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 Senior ManagementIf 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Decent place to work but suffers from management inability to understand the people that matter.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsI worked for this company for 5 years and really enjoyed the projects we were doing and did my best to contribute to the two projects full force. It was a mid-size developer who generally maintained a good work/life balance.

    ConsThe company suffers for a few reasons.

    -First, the management was this naive boy's club that really didn't take to heart what some of the sub-leads and other subordinates had to say. We had more than 1 producer that made their main focus on the project art direction and continuously interfered or overturned something that had already been in production. Management also had unrealistic expectations for their titles.

    -In 2011, they axed a good portion of the entire studio. The people that were retained were not kept there because they were the best but rather through their connection with certain people in the company.

    -Another user mentioned about cutting through publisher BS. That wasn't the case at all. In fact, a majority of the reason Fracture and FEAR 3 were so sub-par was because they were unwilling to give the fans what they wanted and opted for appeasing publisher desires.

    -The company lacked ways to innovate in their games, focusing more on how to reproduce other games that were out there and less on how to make something fresh and new.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCreate an environment where people can be honest and talk to literally everybody to find out how things are going on the projects. Don't rely on upper management to provide you with their narrow-minded insight on how the project is going.

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    Good studio once it gets back on it's feet.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsSmall independent studio, offers the chance to have profound impact on the final product. Works on varied and interesting titles. President is very business savvy, and a great guy all-around. One of the few game studios left in the Chicago area.

    ConsSmall independent studio, offers no financial stability or freedom. History of bad crunch times without guaranteed compensation. No recent hit franchises, mostly working on sequels to external IPs - sketchy recent history of releases has hurt their ability to get larger/lucrative contracts. Publishers are overly involved in games development, and studio is in no position to stand up to bad decisions made on the publisher end.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep truck'n, get over the financial problems and get back to working on original IP as soon as possible. Promote more people internally rather than parachuting talent into senior and management positions and hoping they'll fix things.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Day 1 Studios reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Day 1 Studios CEO Victor Kislyi. All 10 reviews posted anonymously by Day 1 Studios employees.