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One of my worst professional experiences...EVER

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - UI Designer
Former Employee - UI Designer

I worked at Timegate Studios

Pros

- Health benefits were fairly decent for a small company
- You are working on games, so the day to day work can be interesting...sometimes even fun.

Cons

First off, the pay was a joke. If I hadn't been unemployed at the time they made the offer I would've told them to keep it. Expect a salary of 60% LESS than market for your position. They're reasoning is that they operate outside the market in Sugar Land, TX and aren't obligated to pay you what you might get in CA. The reality is, Sugar Land is a suburb of Houston, the 4th largest city in country. The wage is livable if you're a young person living with parents (which is their preferred employee). Thankfully, I didn't need to stay very long.

Its sometimes hard to believe they actually get any work done with all the Producer BS that goes on. They seem to have just as many people who do not contribute content to the game in any way as they do artists and programmers.

There are a select few who've been with the company since its inception, and just about all of them were hired right out of school. Most everyone else is a recent school or high school graduate with less than a year of tenure there...or anywhere. Yes, for a great deal of employees, Timegate is not only their first game job, but their first job period. What does this amount to? Kids who are weird, awkward or otherwise socially inept trying to work professionally. It doesn't work.

A lot of these kids come in as game testers. Anyone in the industry knows that the career path for game tester is to be Producer. At Timegate they can get there after less than a year. So now you've got these same awkward individuals in a type of project management role where they're expected to oversee the work of senior developers and artists. They of course don't understand your work or why it takes as long as long as it does. So the most used option for them is to stand over your shoulder while you work.

Turnover is sky high. I was there for less than a half a year and saw at minimum, 20 - 30 people come and go. That is not an exaggeration. I learned that my position had been vacated 4 times within the previous 12 months. I would soon understand why.

While I liked the work I was doing, I couldn't deal with the people anymore. My direct manager (one of three Art Directors) would throw me under the bus constantly. Asking for this change and that change. When it came time for review and nobody liked what they saw, they all looked at me trying to figure out what my problem was...including my manager who directed the design. Even with all that, I actually left this job after being publicly berated by one of the C-level managers. His insults and nonprofessional attitude were not reserved for me alone and I had been subjected to them more than once. Finally, I decided I'd had enough.

After leaving I kept in contact with a few others who'd left before or after me. Just about all of them cited this individual as the main reason for quitting.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

1. Why do you prefer to persist in mediocrity? None of your games since Kohan have amounted more than a few distracted hours of mild interest, yet you continue to beat that horse into the ground. The sad part is, you know this. You know Section 8 will never be more than just OK. Remember your roots if you can think back that far. You know, before you decided to adopt the production process of other studios and completely killed the team and creative spirit? Wasn't it after Kohan that you introduced using Producers and that ridiculously small iteration cycle? And wasn't Kohan the last game that got any sort of real recognition? See the connection there?

2. Your company president, the individual who manages the healthcare company above you, makes most if not all of the final creative and design decisions. He is not a gamer. He does not work with the development or art teams. He probably can't draw stick figures or even tell you what UnrealScript is. Why does he have so much power of the design and creative direction? Don't you have Designers and Art Directors for that?

3. I know you have gotten numerous complaints about the individual I mentioned above. You know who he is. Has he really contributed so profoundly to the success of the company that you ignore his antics? If so, why isn't Section 8 a AAA title, rather than a budget giveaway? Get this man some anger management, lessen his responsibilities or terminate him. He is a detriment to your studio plain and simple.

Doesn't Recommend

Other Reviews for Timegate Studios

  1. 8 people found this helpful  

    Glad to be gone.

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

    I worked at Timegate Studios

    Pros

    - Cheap location
    - Chill coworkers
    - Free Soda

    Cons

    - This studio wrote the book on micro-management.
    - Too many producers; too much focus on management.
    - Salaries fall on the low side for Junior level hires.
    - Hours are not flexible.
    - Low morale
    - High turn over rate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your employees; you hire talented people, you should let them do their jobs. Producers do not solve problems, simply throwing production at a problem makes things worse. Despite the overbearing focus on management, crunches were still common place and many game features had to be cut due to poor planning and subsequent scoping. Managers ignore feedback, fall back on the "this is the way we do things" argument instead of listening to fresh ideas. When even upper management seems disinterested in making a fun/competitive title and ignores overwhelming feedback there is almost no motivation and consequently morale plummets. There just seemed to be a general lack of enthusiasm at the studio; seemed like no one was genuinely happy to come into work. Glad I am not there anymore.

    Doesn't Recommend
  2.  

    Great co-workers, overburdened with production (10% of dev staff at one point!)

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

    I worked at Timegate Studios full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Fun, talented co-workers. Not much crunch. Cheap area to live in. Had an interesting project. Overall, it wasn't a horrible place to be and there was some fun to be had.

    Cons

    Too much emphasis on production pipeline to solve problems. Shooting for mediocrity. Producers drove development rather than creative. Not enough outside perspective in upper management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Does it matter now?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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