I have been working at High Moon Studios full-time (More than a year)
- Not a whole lot of crunch. Obviously, there is crunch like any gaming studio, but not a ton of it. The most I've crunched for was three months straight, but that was extremely rare.
- Free lunch, free snacks, free drinks!
- Friendly culture. Everyone is very accepting which makes coming in as a new employee a very easy transition.
- Town hall meetings to keep employees updated. Usually bi-monthly.
- Get to work on a variety of projects.
- North County San Diego location!!!!!
- Smaller, more intimate studio with the huge studio scale projects.
- Call of Duty... Destiny... Two of the biggest franchises in the world that you can work on.
- Outside-of-work activities such as Frisbee, Yoga, and more.
No real cons other than anywhere in San Diego can be pretty expensive.
I applied through a recruiter. I interviewed at High Moon Studios.
This was a frustrating and slightly insulting process. I got an unsolicited LinkedIn request (and subsequent email) from the HR recruiter. Typical in the industry, no big deal. We set up a phone screen interview. We talked for about 15 minutes, the screen seemed pretty normal mostly. Asked about my artistic influences and style, strengths and weaknesses, normal stuff.
She reflected that the art team was nervous that I didn't have any "realistic" portfolio pieces. That's a fair critique. My portfolio is stylized, which reflects my experience. I assured her I could work realistically. She encouraged me to do a piece for them that would demonstrate that, and send it before next Friday. That's when she would get back to me. Fine.
Then when she found out I hadn't played Destiny, she was noticeably taken aback. "If you're going to apply to a company, you should probably have played their game, and have portfolio pieces that look like stuff from their game." 'Great advice', I thought. BUT YOU CALLED ME, not the other way around. I don't have time to play every game from every local studio on the off-chance that they'll show interest in me.
No matter. I put together a more realistic art asset specifically to demonstrate my ability (per her request), and sent it to them within a few days. I also picked up a copy of Destiny and played it, to show my initiative and interest. I let them know that I did so. I thought this was a good move that would generate at least a pat on the back.
The interview was midweek (Tuesday or Wednesday I think?) and I was told that I would hear back definitely by the following Friday. I waited, and the deadline passed. I sent an email. I heard nothing back. Another week passed. I emailed her again, nothing. Another week passed. I finally got a generic response email, notifying me that they went in another direction. About a month after the first interview.
Now I've been rejected hundreds of times for jobs. It's no big deal. I have thick enough skin. But I felt so marginalized by this process. First, I get a lecture fit for a third-year art student, from the HR recruiter, about an industry in which I have almost 5 years experience, even though she was the one who first contacted me. Fine. I can swallow my pride. Then I go out of my way to play their game and do a portfolio piece specifically for them (not even an art test), and I fail to even get an acknowledgment that it was received, let alone reviewed. Then after 3 or 4 unaddressed emails, long after I was told I'd definitely hear from them, I get a generic rejection email.
I'm not salty about the job loss. I have other stuff going on. But show a little more care for the people who express genuine interest in your company.
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