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3 people found this helpful  

Nothing nice to say. :(

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Sugar Land, TX
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sugar Land, TX

I have been working at Timegate Studios

Pros

* Opportunities to pick up a lot of skills very quickly. (As a result of getting thrust into a bunch of different roles without much say in the matter.)
* Able to work with interesting (and young) people.
* Free drinks and 'free' dinner when you work an extra two hours each night.

Cons

* Management and process overload. Upper management is so convinced in the necessity for 'process' and 'protocol' that they can't see when it doesn't work and why it breaks down so easily.
* Asinine minutiae: I've actually been yelled at for using a '/' instead of a '-' when typing a date out. Our corporate parent is some tight-assed healthcare company which burns through employees faster than we do, so we get a lot of our straight-laced nonsense from them.
* Involuntary voluntary overtime - they can't *force* us to work 9a-9p, but the messaging is very clear: If you're not here, you're lazy and we'll fire you the moment we can.
* Sycophants get ahead by filling seats, brown nosing with the bosses, and shadowing them.
* God help you if you want to change anything. There's a very strong 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' mentality despite upper management's 'claims' of striving for continuous improvement.
* The whole place feels like it's designed to churn through people like a machine. Get some kid fresh out of school, pay him an insulting salary, burn him out, then fire him and cite 'laziness' or 'a bad attitude'
* You work far more than you're compensated for. I've known people at other studios to do one fifth of what an AP or Concept Artists here does and get paid 1.5-2x as much.
* The production people who aren't senior look depressed every day and always have their heads down. it's depressing
* Morale is low and they try to buy us off with token 'employee of the month' programs where people get (and I wish I was kidding) nerf guns as prizes
* The company owners have a love affair with Blizzard's website and copy it whenever possible. Just open the new TimeGate site and Blizzard's home site in facing windows and see.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

The single biggest piece of advice I can give to upper management is this: Take the power away from the brothers who run TimeGate and its parent company, Healix. They have no idea what makes a good game and they routinely run roughshod over anyone who speaks out and I've even heard they told the creative director 'Don't forget who signs your paychecks.' when he objected one of their particularly asinine 'requests.' (Design mandates, in other words.)

Also, it'd help to abandon the notion that TimeGate is a AAA studio. They aren't and they never will be. They're mid-grade at best and so long as they think they can make the next Halo or CoD, their products will always be rushed out, half-complete messes.

Doesn't Recommend

Other Reviews for Timegate Studios

  1. 6 people found this helpful  

    Worst Place I've Ever Worked

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Sugar Land, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sugar Land, TX

    I have been working at Timegate Studios

    Pros

    - Skilled and pleasant coworkers. Despite all the negatives below I really enjoy working with the people there.
     - Cheap place to live
     - High turnover can mean more headroom for moving up.. it only takes 2 years here to be considered "senior," which may position you well for your next job (though it's a double edged sword.)
     - If you enjoy corporate gallows humor, you may find Timegate to be very entertaining

    Cons

    - Worst micromanagement you could ever imagine.
     - If management doesn't like your time estimates, they will replace it with one they like better. The same with any other facts you might have.
     - You will be asked to rename and move things incessantly because it's not exactly what management would have done. As any veteran knows, this causes things to break and burns a lot of development time. And of course it is your fault when it breaks.
     - Employees are heavily overworked: You will be asked to agree to doing a certain chunk of work over a period of time (currently 3 weeks.) However, not one day after this agreement you will get additional work and will continue to receive new work until the very last day of this time period, and when you don't complete the full load you agreed to, plus the many things that get assigned to you, you will be seen as a failure by management.
     - You will be judged by how much overtime you put in, not how much you accomplish
     - Interchangable parts were invented long ago. I think Timegate is trying to invent interchangable humans.
     - When any issue arises, emphasis (even obsession) is placed on finding who is at fault, rather than finding solutions. Shockingly, it is never management's fault.
     - Not getting yelled at is probably the highest praise you will ever receive here.
     - Low morale and high turnover rate. Timegate shows no loyalty to its people, so its little surprise when its people show little loyalty to Timegate.
     - You will find it very challenging to care about the quality of your work here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The difference between Timegate and successful studios is this: Timegate is process driven and successful studios are people driven. Your process at its best can never be as good as the people you can hire. The only reason your process "works" is because at the end of the day, in spite of the process, the people are passionate enough to get the game out the door, and passionate enough to care about the quality of their work. This heavy process removes any sense of ownership or pride for your work and does not scale, because the process bottlenecks at a few specific micromanagers.

    Also, please quit treating us like children. Layoffs and voluntary job changes are treated in such a clandestine way.. we know when someone is quitting probably before you do. And little certificates that you can use to win "prizes" cannot replace being genuinely appreciated. When coupled with all the abuse you put your employees though, it's like a slap in the face.

    The way I see Timegate is as a stopover for fresh college graduates. You put in your time here for a year or two and then move to a different job that isn't terrible as quickly as you can.

    Doesn't Recommend
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great colleagues, terrible management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Sugar Land, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sugar Land, TX

    I worked at Timegate Studios

    Pros

    - Great colleagues who are always willing to go out of their way to help out
    - Laid back atmosphere shared by colleagues
    - Titles get shipped semi-frequently and usually on-time
    - Low cost of living

    Cons

    Unfortunately, the "cons" of working for TimeGate are many:

    - Extremely low employee morale, due to multiple reasons that I list below. Because of this, employee retention is approximately 50% annually, which is downright dismal even for the game industry. However, no effort is made to change this. When confronted with simple ways to improve employee morale, upper management becomes extremely defensive and upset, refusing to hold audience on the matter.

    - A large number of new employees who are starting in the industry. This is not necessarily bad, but it is the preferred mechanism by which management operates, using low-paid, inexperienced and eager employees to replace higher-paid employees who appear to be terminated solely because of their relatively bloated salaries.

    - The level of micromanagement from upper management is astounding. The production team is nearly the largest team in the company and are tasked with the creation of useless reports and metrics for upper management to analyze at a severe cost to productivity. Furthermore, decisions cannot be made by any employees other than upper management, creating sizable bottlenecks and a detached feeling towards the project.

    - Employee voices are often not respected and downright ignored. Employees do not feel personally invested in any projects as upper management makes decisions without consulting employees with expert knowledge pertaining to the decision being made. Feedback is often ignored and comments are made with the implication that the employees are of low value. Also, feedback from outside sources is ignored as well with a disclaimer that they are not qualified to create the conclusions to which they drew.

    - A member of upper management sees it fit to yell and reprimand employees in front of a large audience, often for very subjective or misinformed reasons, or when their ego is endangered.

    - Lack of experience from upper management in game development and with "labor" in general. This results in amateur management tactics that often alienate employees and creates a hostile work environment.

    - Random and frequent termination of employees without any explanation. Furthermore, employees are not notified when a member leaves the team despite the company being relatively small in size. This is done intentionally as to not "cause distractions to employees to prevent them from completing their work". Alternatively, new hires are often not welcomed or introduced to the team.

    - The secrecy in the company is quite odd. While understandable not all information needs to be shared with the team, this is taken to the extreme. Often, productivity is hampered because certain informational privileges are not granted to employees often for non-obvious reasons.

    - An atmosphere of fear plagues employees. Those seen as too divisive or too outspoken are often removed without warning, even if respectfully suggested.

    - The goal of upper management is to make money off games, not to create great video games as stated multiple times by several members. This disenfranchises more idealistic employees whose passion is to make great games.

    - A very negative and antiquated view and attitude towards labor/work shared by the upper management. This extends to not respecting employees by treating them as subservient and not respecting their personal lives or needs. This is exemplified by the exploitation of employees by vaguely hinting at promotions if they work drastic amounts of overtime for months on end. Furthermore, while not tauted forthright, sexism frequents the actions of upper management such as their decisions on who cleans the break room, answers the phones, or makes coffee

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Respect your employees; you hired a great, passionate, and talented group of professionals who want to make great games. They have new ideas; keep an open mind and listen to them.
    - Communicate and have greater transparency with employees. No one enjoys extreme amounts of secrecy for the sake of secrecy.
    - There are many employees who want to make a positive difference at the company. Leverage these individuals to create a better work environment.
    - Upper management should maintain better work hours on a much more consistent basis. Week-long absences from the office that are unannounced or unexpected can cause a large number of bottlenecks.

    Doesn't Recommend
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