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Blind Squirrel Games Reviews

Updated December 15, 2017
27 reviews

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3.2
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Brad Hendricks
21 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "A Great Studio for Career Growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Director
    Current Employee - Technical Director
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    BSG has a family feel that comes from the top down and is enjoyed and nurtured by the employees, with clubs (programming, board games, tea tasting), activities (volleyball, walking, movie nights, potlucks) and great camaraderie. It is a growing company with plenty of opportunity for personal growth and advancement for juniors and seniors. Management is dedicated to growth of employees and employee-retention, with people and processes in place towards that end. The talented people that work here have built a reputation for solid on-time work-for-hire projects, and the company has leveraged that into now developing IP's from ground up, including original IP. They have a great IT staff that keeps everything running smoothly. The kitchen is stocked with real food plus a large variety of snacks and drinks!

    Cons

    The quality of your experience can depend on which project (and its publisher) you land on--some are harder than others in terms of overtime and type of work. Sometimes you have to take one for the team, but management tries to balance that when teams are formed for new projects, and they reward the hard work.

    Advice to Management

    Keep on building relationships with new publishers to get away from the tougher cases, or at least use expanded options as leverage to negotiate more favorable contracts with the difficult clients.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great people terrible middle management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some of the smartest most driven talent you can find in the industry when it comes to engineering and art.
    Working there was generally a joy, great benefits, challenging problems, lots of opportunity to grow and learn and work on big AAA projects and get a lot of titles under your belt.
    Generally feels more like a family/friends than a bunch of coworkers.
    Very few disagreeable employees in terms of personalities.

    Cons

    Original IP is a black hole for the studio with high turnover and bland ideas, process is getting better but very slowly.
    Everything is on a shoestring budget with bad prioritization of funds and behind schedule.
    A bunch of employees are underpaid (even for the games industry), especially considering a lot of them are on multiple projects so the company is getting 2-3x profit on some employees.
    A section of management/production aren't interested in the day to day quality of life of the employees, exception for the CEO who really cares and is often on the phone yelling at external clients to stop working employees too hard.
    CEO is great but needs to take a hard look at the state of things as a lot of people are getting burned out due to people saddling them with bad decisions they had no say in.
    New hires come in confused why basic things aren't in place at the studio in terms of workflows and best practices.
    A lot of the middle management was hired when the company was smaller and haven't scaled well.

    Advice to Management

    Take a hard look at the management structures/practices/people and work on trying to clearly communicate long term goals so everyone can better align their work.
    Encourage more bottom up solutions to meet top down road-maps.
    Better communication, less telephone game.
    Get systems in place to better manage people/resources.
    Spend more on support staff and automation/tools to better multiply the productivity of your devs and to help them not get burned out.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Bottom of the barrel."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    * Decent kitchen with Freestyle soda machine.
    * Some decent folks there

    Cons

    * Lies about the work from the start
    * Bad communication from management
    * Severely understaffed, don't be surprised to be working on two projects with a full workload each.
    * Sketchy management, told to not mention to clients about splitting time on projects.
    * Lots of unpaid overtime.
    * Forced shutdown for 2 weeks during holiday but we are only given 4 holidays, so we must use our own vacation time to fill the rest since the studio is closed. Also no sick days specifically, have to use vacation time again.

    Advice to Management

    Good luck keeping the ship afloat...


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Producer in Santa Ana, CA
    Current Employee - Producer in Santa Ana, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The quality of talent at the studio is incredibly high. People are passionate and dedicated to their work and growth. An amazing assortment of snacks, drinks, and coffees are available for free. There are several clubs to join depending on your interests. Several times a year we go to a new movie, or have a studio event. Overall, it feels like a family.

    Cons

    Hours can be long sometimes. This can cause stress and frustration on occasion but people are rewarded for their hard work.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work. Keep thinking about the teams who are putting in all the hours and keep rewarding them!


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Run don't walk, this place is a mess"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Cool Kitchen
    - Fun developers (excludes draconian management)

    Cons

    - Self absorbed CEO that is chasing out talent at every level
    - Disappearing leads, managers, and executives
    - Revolving door of projects
    - No focus or direction (To work for hire, or not, this is the question).

    Advice to Management

    Hire a professional set of executives, focus on something other than self enrichment, fulfill some of the many promises that you have been telling staff for years (401K matching, Stock Options, Bonuses, Original IP, and, and, and).


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Not recommended"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Blind Squirrel Games full-time

    Pros

    You may get to expand your skillset.
    There is a stocked kitchen

    There are genuinely some good people there.

    Cons

    People doing the absolute least possible to collect a check. (on facebook all day)
    Unqualified management.
    Unwarranted egos.
    No consistent pipeline.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the blizzard egos, focus on talent and managerial skill rather than who's friends with who.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Poor decisions every which way."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - An amazing group of developers that truly cares about one another.
    - Snacks
    - No one looks over your shoulders.

    Cons

    - Good at porting games and helping other studios. That is it.
    - Not a creative place.
    - Production driven studio. Does it work? Did you close your Jira task? OK good. You've done your job. Pat on back.
    - Crunch for every project.
    - Underpaid and barely any perks compared to surrounding game companies.
    - Subpar vacation and sick days.
    - Incredibly naive management thinks they can develop their own game. Everyone sees the failing of the IP team. No foresight and no passion.
    - Only talks about money and some game that no one knows about.
    - No one is allowed to give input.
    - Work hard, get laid off.
    - People are afraid to talk about their ideas, because upper management will own your idea.
    - Millions in business as told by management, weeks later layoffs. Liars.

    Advice to Management

    Stop telling everyone how much you care about money and not about games. Stop lying to everyone about earning more money and how it benefits everyone. We know it benefits no one but the people speaking.

    Stop creating an environment where employee opinions do not matter. Look at your hires and how it affects other people. It's more damaging than your lies.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Fantastic opportunities and a bright future"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer in Santa Ana, CA
    Former Employee - Engineer in Santa Ana, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    • Stellar work environment - comfy chairs, standing desks, great espresso, laid back management, occasional breakfast, plenty of dinner and desserts
    • Tightly knit community - retains the "family" small company vibe despite rapid growth
    • A lot of talented, passionate, young developers
    • Management is supportive and flexible, without being overbearing
    • Flexible hours - if you want to come in late, leave early, or even work overtime, you generally can
    • Gaming consoles, ping pong, foosball, volleyball, etc.
    • Plenty of fun activities and events

    Cons

    • Due to the nature of "for hire" AAA work, a lot of big decisions are left to the publisher, which can cause friction
    • The inevitable crunch when a project is near it's deadline
    • Young and passionate people, though also inexperienced
    • Not a lot of teaching/hand holding, (a hands off approach could be seen as a pro for a number of people)

    Most of the cons are what you'd come to expect from any game studio. The "for hire" work will be the bread and butter until the studio can go full AAA. The company is still very young, and it would be a good investment to get in on the ground floor.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate and stay as transparent as possible. Maintain the family style relationships with employees, don't let a barrier form between you and them. Be mindful of what employees are passionate about.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Bright future for both company and employees"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Junior QA Tester
    Former Employee - Junior QA Tester
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Great benefits
    -Very comfortable and accommodating work environment (e.g. flexible hours, free drinks/snacks, pet friendly)
    -A lot of opportunities to develop other game development skill sets, and either advance in one's area of expertise, or take on other roles
    -In addition to the above, "higher-ups" are open and available to discuss such career advancement, and invest in their employees' well-being and professional growth
    -Warm office culture. Game nights/tournaments, giveaways, monthly birthday celebrations, etc.
    -Regular meetings regarding the status of projects that are being worked on, potential projects on the horizon, and other developments as the business expands

    Cons

    -As with any game industry position, crunch does occur. There is ample forewarning, and it is always optional (although strongly appreciated and compensated). I worked during a particularly long and difficult crunch, and felt that my efforts did not go unnoticed. I also gained a few pounds from all of the food that was provided for OT.
    -Communication within or between departments can sometimes result in muddled instructions and unclear direction (especially as goals/protocol are constantly being adapted to new demands). Again, in this regard it is not unlike other game development companies. The nice thing is that BSG is still just small enough to make it practical to simply walk over to a person directly responsible for an issue and ask them a question in-person.

    Advice to Management

    My only advice would be to continue hiring good talent, while also giving significant weight to character. At this stage of growth for the company, and with so many big things on the horizon, there could be a pressure to hire many hard-workers with expert credentials while giving less concern for personality traits and "fit" within the environment. Especially when crunch happens, a good (or poor) morale can be contagious.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Worst company I every worked with. Don't waste your time."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artist in Santa Ana, CA
    Former Employee - Artist in Santa Ana, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Blind Squirrel Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Here it is everything you every wanted. Get to work overtime without getting paid. Cant think of anything good about this pile of a company.

    Cons

    Drink beer all day. Act like you know what your're talking about when you never published an original tile of your own. Lie to everyone that you made the games that you had nothing to do with. Make it seem like you're wining when you know your going out of business and laying everyone off.

    Advice to Management

    Figure out what your actually do for a living and show up to work everyday.


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