KingsIsle Entertainment Reviews

Updated July 17, 2015
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3.1
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Elie Akilian
12 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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  1. Sr. Director of Web/Java Engineering

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Director of Web and Java Engineering in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Director of Web and Java Engineering in Dallas, TX

    I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment (More than 8 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great people, fun environment, challenging technical opportunities.

    Cons

    There was little transparency from Sr. Management, and they provided little feedback down to the department heads.

    Advice to Management

    More transparency, better feedback to teams outside of Plano.


  2. Great company..

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

    I have been working at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very flat hierarchy, no layers of management to get anything done. Twice a year game-jams where employee's get 3 days to make their own game ideas, several of those games are actually getting made.

    Cons

    Executives are not very transparent with decisions sometimes. The bonus is based on numbers we're not allowed to know how it's calculated.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate everything you can to your employee's.


  3. Helpful (5)

    Directionless

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

    I have been working at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Employees are nice to one-another Nice, central location Currently hiring

    Cons

    Exec and production have no idea how to stick to schedules. They are constantly saying KI is an, "iterative company" so that is why nothing gets done on time. Milestones are constantly pushed, releases delayed, and then they wonder why all of the employees are straight worn out. It probably has something to do with the fact that we have been crunching for 1-year plus. Recently swapped from software to mobile, moving a lot of people around and putting them in roles they aren't equipped to handle, nor were hired to do. As such, the company is bleeding people. The CEO has final say in everything, even though he has zero design experience. His constant input corrupts good game design decisions because he "doesn't like it" or "doesn't understand". He needs to take a back seat and let the people he hired to make games, have full control of that process. He has ruined many a mechanic or entire game because he wants it s certain way, even if it was designed an entirely different way.

    Advice to Management

    Figure out what your goals are, and stick with them. Use people for what you hired them for, not what you want them to be. Stop allowing the CEO to be the Creative Director, while the actual CD is relegated to "exec pleaser".


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  5. Helpful (1)

    company transitioning in the right direction

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

    I have been working at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Strong capable leaders shifting company in the right direction for the industry - Good opportunity for learning as we switch focus to mobile - Great coworkers who are friendly and welcoming - Game Jams and other fun events throughout the year - Great paid time off and tons of holidays - Depends on manager, but I have never had an issue with leaving work for a short period of time for doctor's appointments, etc. - Switched to quarterly bonus payouts

    Cons

    - Smaller teams can lead to less upward mobility

    Advice to Management

    - Continue to be a solid foundation and have a strong vision as KI enters the mobile games space


  6. Helpful (4)

    Stable and competitive pay

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

    I have been working at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Sometimes we get to do fun things as a company together, like movie days and trips to the lake. Other times we get to participate in creative outlets like Game Jams. Sometimes we get bonuses, too. My experience with management has been pretty hands off, but from what I hear it depends on the project/manager. Overall, it's like any other game industry job - it pays the bills and sometimes I get free shirts. 3 out of 5 stars.

    Cons

    Sometimes we get really demoralizing emails that are obviously pointed toward a certain group of people. For example: Core Hour reminders with snide remarks. Sometimes that gets old; I'm an adult! Other times we have to deal with a mountain of an uphill battle to get better tech tools (Like Solid State Drives) and better functioning version control software. Our hiring requirements are also ridiculous. Just because someone spent a fortune on a piece of paper does not mean they are fully capable of doing their job.

    Advice to Management

    If you have a problem with a specific person, please don't chide the entire company. Not all of us are incompetent and unable to manage time, hygiene, and chatter. Also, we make games, lighten up a bit please. Especially on the hiring requirements. We turn down a lot of really great candidates because they don't have a degree even though they probably have 10+ years experience. Oh yeah, and can we also get free snacks? Free snacks usually help morale.


  7. Helpful (10)

    If you are an experienced game developer...then don't work here

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

    I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Kingsisle had an golden age where people were happy and felt respected by the upper management. Game developers there were awesome to work with as your peers. The job felt cushy, people were very talented, and you had leads who will have your backs and fight off the company owners and their very none creative management style. That all went away.

    Cons

    The company feels like a prison now, there's someone leaving every week, and you look longingly at those who get to. The owners and those hired to play with papers and numbers don't care about games, don't play games, and don't know anything about making games. Yet, they make decisions and place unrealistic expectations and time estimates on these projects. You will feel no respect, no steam for the projects, and under appreciated while shackled with ball and chain to your desk. Further, now everyone who spoke up had left the company, you ended up with no leads to have your back. You ask how can a game company feel this bad? Well, it does.

    Advice to Management

    Stop listening to yourselves, and actually listen to the game developers you hired. Consider the guy who plays with papers and counts numbers, whom everyone hates, and every creative leader tried so hard to fight off, and determine what place he should really have. Seriously, forget the billion you want to make, this guy will ruin your company first.


  8. Helpful (5)

    Company In Decline

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

    I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    There used to be pros. Now that the company is transitioning to mobile games and all the competent people left lead and management positions, the best I can say is you can live paycheck to paycheck with the below industry wage they give you.

    Cons

    The most sycophantic and nepotistic management I've experienced. The HQ is located in Dallas and has no clue or cares little about this issue. The company is scrambling to transition into mobile but is too cheap, incompetent, and unorganized to do it effectively. Be prepared to be treated like a child with every move you make being questioned. Managers and executives are more concerned if you took a 16 rather than a 15 minute break than your actual work. Clock in like an hourly employee even though you're salaried. Horrible PTO policy. KingsIsle purports to be a family-friendly company but they are just as dysfunctional and irrespective of work-life balance as any other AAA. Enjoy snide comments and abusive behavior from your executive producer. Passive aggression is the MO. Try making sense of their bonus system. It’s like they want to pay you just enough so you don't leave but to also say they did something. Despite meetings and talking with coworkers I still couldn't make sense of it.

    Advice to Management

    This is more advice to the CEO. You need to clean house from the executive down to the management level. There's a reason so many people are leaving. The ones who stay are burned out and your company suffers for it. Your company's reputation is really bad. Production has little to no experience in mobile, let alone the game industry, and is more concerned with pretending to put out fires behaviorally than actually doing their job. The mobile market is saturated and highly competitive so start employing people who know what they are doing. Stop treating your talent like children. Be transparent. Allow working from home. Pay industry level wages. People here are living paycheck to paycheck, so be compassionate and pay every second Friday instead of dead center of the month or after the weekend is over. There are new business models out there which you can train and certify for like Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). It may steer your company in the proper direction.


  9. Helpful (11)

    Find another employer

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

    I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Getting a job here may get you into the industry. The salary might be competitive, but you don't get quarterly bonuses even if projects are profitable. You'll also know exactly what not to do when you leave this company. If you do as little work as possible or you are just interested in getting a job in games to boast about it, you'll make lots of lifetime friends here. They have fun days once in a while (but you'll need to sign a waiver because you are a child that cannot be trusted).

    Cons

    Worst middle management team you'll ever encounter outside of fast food. Non-art creative decisions are often made by people who shouldn't be creating games. When it comes to really important gaming mechanics, no one wants to risk actually making a decision if it can be put off. Hard work is rewarded with more work. Two faced managers and leads that will never stand up for you. Insanely stupid workflow and deadlines that management pulls out of thin air with no real quantification or technique. Management watches you at all times and probably monitors chat logs.

    Advice to Management

    Leave the industry and find a job selling insurance or some other low tech field.


  10. Helpful (7)

    A Steady Job, But A Slow Grind

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

    I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment

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

    Pros

    Occasional team building "fun days" are a welcomed break. The open concept studio is spacious and encourages collaboration.

    Cons

    Crunch is baked into the schedule with no compensation. The office culture is depressing and slows productivity. Job performance is often based on demeanor, instead of productivity or quality of work.

    Advice to Management

    Reward good work and avoid crunch by actively managing the schedule.


  11. Helpful (6)

    Steady work.

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

    I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment

    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Generally able to work an 8 hour day and plan time-off. Benefits fall at an average level. If you are a programmer you get an office. Some very amazingly talented people work here.

    Cons

    Very degree-centric so expect to see lots of talented people completely overlooked for some positions. Currently very micro-pay minded. Also, a very unforgiving place to run a two hour errand, generally you'll be asked to give up a half day of vacation pay.



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