NaturalMotion Reviews

Updated March 3, 2015
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3.1
15 Reviews
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Torsten Reil
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Valued skills

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

    I have been working at NaturalMotion full-time

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I actually feel like my opinions are listened to, and they've had a real visible impact on some of the work. This is the first job I've had where I've been given time and opportunity to use the skills I spent years learning, even skills that I didn't think would be directly useful for my role. And it's nice to feel like you CAN just chat to the other people you happen to meet in the kitchen (even the CEO), there's very little awkwardness.

    Cons

    Like all growing companies, there are little niggles and things that are hard to get right for everyone. But in my view these are either dealt with or at least acknowledged and investigated.

  2. Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Team Lead in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Team Lead in Oxford, England (UK)

    I have been working at NaturalMotion (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    - Really Innovative Technology
    - Very talented people
    - Lots of really good ideas
    - Office in the Centre of Oxford
    - Highly collaborative environment
    - Commitment to change and Improve

    I have been at NM for between five and six years and very much enjoy working here. This is without doubt the best job I have had. The technology is great and the people that I work with are very talented, helpful and work in a collaborative way. Having worked in a few places the thing that stand out is that the company seeks to improve and does so proactively - it is a part of the culture. It comes from the top. Most places that I have worked in do not, or have done for a bit and then stagnate.

    Cons

    The company has grown quite quickly, when I joined there were 70 now there are more than 200 - sometimes the evolution of the company has to catch up with the growth. This is not a "biggie" - a growing company is a really good thing.

  3. Great company, with exciting times ahead!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at NaturalMotion full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Good work-life balance compared to previous jobs, working at the forefront of mobile gaming and pushing the limits. Great managment and the chance to work with some of the best industry talent.

    Cons

    The company has grown rapidly in recent times which has caused some teething problems, but management listen and these problems are being addressed.

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  5. Great Company, Awesome People, Fantastic Products - HUGE POTENTIAL

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

    I have been working at NaturalMotion

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

    Pros

    Great Company with an abundance of talented people across development, tech and support.
    Good working environments in London, Oxford and Brighton.
    Awesome innovative products.
    Passionate CEO who actually cares and is active in projects and the wider business.

    Cons

    Grown very quickly, leadership and support are adapting to the growth but have teething problems. Nothing that can-not or isn't already being addressed.

    Advice to Management

    Have belief in your teams to deliver, listen and implement the good ideas and do not fixate on numbers.

  6. Great for breaking in industry, terrible for advancement and development.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Oxford, England (UK)

    I worked at NaturalMotion full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    -Discounted gym membership.
    -Free fruit.
    -Cool company events. (Summer/Xmas parties, halloween, charity dos, etc)
    -Some talented people that have worked with some legendary titles and studios.

    Cons

    -QA is VERY underpaid, especially as the company is in oxford, the most expensive city in the UK.
    -Place can be VERY cliquey.
    -Wont advance in your career unless leads, manager is friends with you.
    -Favoritism is RIFE! Be prepared to feel like you aren't useful if you don't have a certain "gamer" "nerd" appearance.
    -You get chastised and warned against learning and asking for advice from other experienced devs.
    -Hard to move out of QA department.
    -Career QA people seem to think they are the most important people in the company and look down upon you for wanting to do more.
    -More HR and producers, then there are actual developers and people who make stuff. Do we really need to hire yet another recruiter?
    -Games are not innovative anymore.

    Advice to Management

    Look within the company for talent, stop needlessly hiring HR. Give a chance to other people and mentor people more.

  7. Great company, great people, great technology

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Programmer in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Programmer in Oxford, England (UK)

    I have been working at NaturalMotion full-time

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

    Pros

    On the technology (Morpheme & Euphoria) side of the company, the team has got a lot of very talented people, but no big egos, which is great. People are focussed on steadily making the product better, working together and helping each other out. The working environment is far more sensible in the technology side of NaturalMotion than in the games industry as a whole, yet it remains ambitious. The management (on the tech side) feels like it's there to help get work done (on the whole!).

    Cons

    The main Oxford office is split into two - technology and games. The two sides feel very different and rather disconnected. The focus is normally on the games side, which can be a little disheartening at times. Then we get back to the tech and all is good.

    Advice to Management

    As the company has grown and shifted focus, it has gained many more managers (in proportion to people who actually make stuff), layers of management, HR people etc. As a result it has cultivated a corporate sense (especially since the Zynga takeover), and much more of a feeling that people are working for their "masters" rather than each other. It would be good to get some of that back.

  8. Helpful (2)

    The culture is eroding

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Creative in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Creative in Oxford, England (UK)

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

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

    Pros

    I have been here a while and when I joined there was excitement in the company it felt like we were breaking new ground.

    Technology is cool and there is a desire to produce quality products.

    There are some great titles in production.

    Cons

    Lacks leadership, managers aren't trained so you have to do what you are told.

    A lot of good people have left so the company feels like a very different place. A lot of people are looking around for other opportunities.

    The exec team seem to be avoiding the issues and have just stepped up hiring to fill the gaps.

    Advice to Management

    Start listening to your staff, give us great mangers to work with.

    Start to trust the people so they can get on with their work rather than sitting on them all the time or busting in and pulling good ideas to the ground.

  9. Helpful (7)

    Lack of company culture will hurt

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead Developer in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Lead Developer in Oxford, England (UK)

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

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

    Pros

    Central location of the office, good work mates, games across a variety of genres.

    Cons

    One of the big issues at NaturalMotion (and it seems they are completely blind to this) is that _all_ of the projects there go on forever. There's a project there that the CEO described as "bread and butter" project in terms of how simple it is and that project has now gone on for about 3 years and just got restarted again (so back to preproduction). The original people left on this 30 something team is about 15%.

    This issue stems from the fact that the management is really, really keen on getting involved in all aspects of the development and in the end, you basically become a cog in the wheel who just does what management says. Since the feedback loop is so long, they spend a massive amount of time and effort into putting these things into motion, then realize it doesn't work and then there's a lot of back and forth meetings and whatnot. This ultimately results in couple of things:
    1) The team who actually works on the projects comes out of them drained, demotivated and feeling they haven't really learned anything - thus, they leave the company
    2) The game probably will be a success, but at the cost of basically losing a lot of people and "restarting" a portion of your company

    This whole shuffle has massive repercussions for the whole company - the retention is sky high, there is no HR policy and the retention in the HR team is massive as well. There is no management training even though it has been asked for for two years. There is no transparency, they don't do company surveys and present what's good and what's bad or any action points related to that.

    After the Zynga buyout, a lot of the projects have been Zynga-ified even though promises were made that this wouldn't happen. Zynga's people are a constant presence and even though some of them are nice people, there's some interesting character traits amongst them - one of the producers came over to help on a project, was booked into a nice Oxford hotel about 10 minutes from the centre, but refused to live there since she had to take the bus every morning...

    Advice to Management

    If you don't give the power to the teams, to allow them to fail and succeed on their own terms and fully own the project, you will never go anywhere as a company and the company culture consists of mostly negative things.

    Your management model is completely outdated in the current world - instead of embracing your weaknesses, bringing them to the light and talking about them, you shy away, afraid that people will leave the company if you honestly tell them what is going wrong. The reason people leave your company is that they have no ownership, they don't have a chance of learning anything and that the management doesn't trust anyone.

    This is all massively sad, since NaturalMotion could have been something.

  10. Helpful (6)

    Issues with planning and direction.

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

    I worked at NaturalMotion

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    -Generally some top talent there.
    -On the face of things it seems like and open and transparent company.
    -A leader in the FTP arena.
    -Clearly pushes for quality as a business model which is admirable.
    -A broad range of game styles, and some innovative ideas.
    -Some great tech in the animation area.
    -Approachable CEO.

    Cons

    -I have never worked somewhere that has such a confusing feedback loop.
    -They really seem to have no idea about their end goal and how to get there, so projects can cycle on forever, and then the blame game starts.
    -Too much scope, not less is more.
    -Far too many chefs in the kitchen.
    -Constant moving of goal post, no clear plan, leading to endless redos of work.
    -No trust of staff. Your decisions are often scuppered before you can ever really apply them.
    -Unfortunately favoritism and cronyism is occurring. Very disheartening to see and work amongst .
    -You are told your opinion and creative input is welcome, but often that does not seem like the case.

    Advice to Management

    -Trust your staff. They are often very good at what they do and could create amazing things.
    -Combat the oppressive atmosphere, accept others opinions and let them execute their visions.
    -Really create a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you will get there.
    -Only have a few key decision makers in the mix, and make sure they are trusted and know what they are talking about.
    -Have a clear plan of what you want to make and execute the plan! Stop completely changing direction and redoing work.

  11. Helpful (6)

    Could be great but isn't.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Oxford, England (UK)

    I worked at NaturalMotion full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    - Okay for a first job
    - People are nice
    - Great staff - really talented people
    - Ambitious
    - Open to ideas and changes, but mainly because they don't know what they want to begin with
    - Work/life balance normally isn't too bad
    - HR was supportive
    - Approachable CEO
    - Company parties/treats

    Cons

    - Management is patronising, unstructured and highly egotistical
    - Strong sense of hierarchy - it's not 'safe' to make suggestions
    - Office politics
    - Dodgy business ethics
    - Highly indecisive (constant loop of re-iterations/starting from scratch/canning projects)
    - No compensation for overtime, except take-out for dinner (their logic being that you're doing it by choice, not because the project had poor time/resource management)
    - Felt more like a soulless office than a creative studio and it functioned this way
    - Poor feedback/neglectful
    - Pay, benefits and raise opportunities are rubbish compared to other companies.
    - Blatant favouritism
    - Company morale is extremely low

    Advice to Management

    - Get experienced people in management and have a clear vision of what you want and make it, instead of deciding mid-late production and blaming your staff if things don't work out.
    - Trust your staff to do their job instead of insisting you can do it better (if only you had the time!)
    - Work on time management/assessing achievability more accurately.
    - You get what you pay for

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