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Former Employee – worked at Rockstar Games
Pros – * Lots of independence. You will get assigned specific tasks, but how you approach the tasks are up to you, as long as you get good results.
* Lots of opportunities to wear different hats. You will never be doing one job and one job only.
- Co-workers are friendly and talented. Very relaxed working environment. Help is readily available when you need it.
* There is recognition and praise when you do good work, and you will get compensated for it.
* Work schedule is flexible for the most part. If things come up in your personal life, you can take time off without having to fight for it.
* Lots of amazing work is produced here by all the departments. You will be working on the cutting-edge of AAA games, and will learn a lot. The work you see from your studio and others will push you to create better work.
* You're working for Rockstar, a well-respected company who, despite any negative press they've accumulated over the years, produce great games. Their overall Metacritic rating speaks for itself.
Cons – * There is a feeling of "perpetual crunch". Lots and lots of milestones with fancy names. Each one is treated like it's the most important milestone ever. Except it's not, and when one is over, it's on to the next one that is coming up in a month's time.
* Very muddy vision. The higher ups probably know what they want, but it is communicated very poorly to the staff.
* Management works late, and think that others follow their schedule too. No, we don't. People have lives. Don't dump work on us an hour before the end-of-day.
* Chaotic production pipeline. Changes are often made on things that you thought were already done, resulting in old work being scrapped. This can be very demoralizing.
* Rockstar likes to focus on one game at a time. That means if you're working on a project that's not coming out soon, it is left to meander aimlessly for 2 to 3 years. When whatever other focus game is released, attention will finally be brought to your project.
* Work environment can sometimes be too casual. You can disappear for a 1 hour smoke break and no one would care. Very rarely do people get called for it, and bad habits are left to grow worse.
* New York controls everything. If they want something changed, you have to do it. Decisions made by local management will get overruled. Something that was approved by your boss 6 months ago will all of a sudden have to be redone because of New York.
* Multiple bosses on one project. Too many cooks in the kitchen with clashing opinions, resulting in work having be redone over and over again.
* The game engine is buggy, and lots of things can and do go wrong. When they do, it can tack on 2 or 3 extra hours to your workday.
Advice to Senior Management – * Invest in a pre-production period. Hammer out everything you want. This will prevent changes having to be made right in the middle of production, and cut your 7 year production periods by at least half.
* Develop a real-time game editor. The way game levels are being created right now is simply too time consuming.
* Encourage a good work-life balance. Set realistic schedules for workers and follow them.
* Stand up to New York when they make inane decisions. They are not always right.
* Recruit senior staff. Stop relying on junior hires just because they're cheaper. Some of the departments are under-performing because of lack of experience amongst the workers.
* Get some professionalism back into the workplace. If someone is habitually chatting on MSN or taking long smoke breaks, call them on it.
2011-07-09 21:44 PDT
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