I worked at Blitz Games Studios full-time (More than a year)
Great training - offers on site for free with discounted off site training
Friendly work collegues
Working environment is very poor
Bad studio atmosphere as a result of the above
I worked at Blitz Games Studios full-time (More than 3 years)
Probably the most friendly Games Company your ever likely to work for, like a big family (a nice one).
The executive team/owners are great people - easy to speak with and down to earth, and this example from above is reflected through out the company.
Development cycles and practices are family friendly - no unpaid mandatory overtime here.
Ethical - you will never need to worry about what your working on, and if you do express concerns they are looked at seriously and with compassion.
Secure - You are very unlikely to ever be made redundant from blitz, short term contracts are generally what they say on the can, good out source artists get work repeatedly
As with every review - pay, you will get a significantly lower remuneration package compared to other studios both locally and nationally.
Pay reviews are some what erratic, with a very small pot to go around
Promotion is via dead man's shoes
The sensation of being in limbo with regard to pay (as the only way to really judge your value to the company) is very disheartening.
There are some managers and more senior staff who're somewhat stuck in a rut, none are actively bad... just... stuck in their ways. This can be frustrating at times.
Advice to Management
Blitz is a great place to work, and offers graduates a great start. It would be good if Blitz where to monetize this as frankly training new employees is something that the company is very good at.
When finances allow, very seriously look at pay across the company - at this point very objectively look at peoples actual contribution to the company in their current roles.
Consider using more part time employee's - yes that will mean a higher wage bill over all as its likely to require paying them slightly more per hour, but its probably cheaper overall than outsource workers and contractors at peak times.
Potentially allow this part time talent to utilise internal tech to make their own games to be published via what blitz one up used to be or a similar scheme - make sure the royalty share and IP assignment is generous for this.
The people are actually mostly nice to work with, and its a very stable company.
Salary - The pay is usually about equal to any other unskilled job in retail etc (this is not an exaggeration I checked). Money isn't everything, but studying for three years in higher education to learn skills that are NOT easily replaced should be reflected in wages. I think some people working there literally have no idea of how bad it is. When I left I was offered two jobs that offered me 60% more than what I was getting paid there.
Salary - I'm going to write it twice because its simply THAT bad.
Career Progression - Promotion isn't based on work ethic or talent, its elusive and completely intangible. Some of the juniors are so much remarkably better than 'seniors' but are largely under appreciated and rarely rewarded for their efforts.
High Employee Turnover - If someone is talented, its best not to become too friendly with them. Chances are they are going to get completely under respected and have their morale diminished to the point that they will leave eventually.
Destructive Weak Links - There are many management and seniors in all fields that are simply terrible at their job. Not only does this demoralise others that work hard, it actually costs the company shed loads of money because they usually have to have their work redone constantly, or they cause some major issue but people are just too polite to point fingers. Many current employees would FAIL the art/programmer/design interview tests the company uses, proving that they shouldn't be there.
Advice to Management
Trim the fat of the employees that are terrible at their jobs. It would make the place run a lot smoother, and free up money and resources to be better placed.
Pay people properly. Make them feel appreciated and able to pay their bills without having to sell their organs.
Promote the talented hard workers. If people see that reward is based on something that will improve the company, people will do that thing out of sheer ambition.
Very friendly work environment, managers are approachable and staff is generally treated very well. Internal training and information sharing is very good, work/life balance is good on most projects. Great place to start out if you're new in the industry.
Pay is below average and for most regular staff pay rises are few and far between. Some teams and projects require a lot of overtime. Morale can be low among regular staff, and the company typically struggles to retain talented employees.
Advice to Management
Middle management is usually very good, overall the company needs to improve on its reputation and find a niche with opportunities to attract interesting projects which in turn would attract better staff.
Blitz is, by and large, a very friendly company to work for. Generally HR are excellent at ensuring that employees are treated compassionately if they have family issues (illness, bereavement, weddings). The CEOs are geniunely nice people, will happily talk to any member of staff like an equal, and have a genuine passion for what they do. Some teams have excellent management, and consistently run their projects on budget and on schedule, without the need for months and months of endless crunch.
The niceness of Blitz is also its downfall - serially underperforming managers have been left in their jobs for so long that it's unlikely they'll ever change. Certain teams run massively overbudget and overschedule, resulting in excessive overtime - unfortunately this rarely results in a quality game being released.
Low salaries and lack of career progression has long been a gripe with Blitz staff, but this has been exacerbated by recent projects expecting people to work every hour under the sun. There has been no pay reviews or bonuses for three years - there's been the odd secret promotion here and there, but these seem mostly reliant on threatening to leave and/or being friends with certain managers, rather than performance related.
On the design side, we've lost nearly a third of our department to other local studios - after years of sitting at junior wages, several experienced designers decided enough was enough and jumped ship to a £6-10k increase in salary and increased creative input. It's not all about the money, but leaving people on sub-standard wages for years on end leaves people feeling demoralised, especially when there's no end in sight.
Despite the pay freeze in the name of 'stability', the company still insists on recruiting on a steady basis and creating random new job roles and departments.
Advice to Management
I know that the management are trying to sort out people's career progression/pay due to the large number of people leaving, but words and schemes need to be backed up by action - quickly.
If certain project directors and managers think it's acceptable to run staff into the ground, then of course people will leave for other studios for higher wages - Blitz' work/life balance and friendliness is often the one thing keeping people at the company. Lose that whilst still having shop assistant wages, lose your staff.
Overall, there are alot of really nice people at Blitz. Most of the staff are a joy to work with.
However, I personally feel that the salaries at Blitz games are well below the industry average and can frankly be pretty insulting. It's ok if your a student or prepared to house share with someone but if actually want to have a life and real career prospects the company is hard to recommend.
Also, the company really doesn't seem to value designers very much. I could quit tomorrow and take a job at PC world without taking a pay cut. Not good. The company doesn't seem to percieve this as a major problem or are simply not prepared to do anything about. The classic company line of 'stability' has been bandied around for a few years now even though the company will always be taking on fresh staff.
Advice to Management
Ditch the chaff and start rewarding people for their hard work in meaningful ways. That doesn't mean giving someone more work and responsibility and expect them to always thank you for it. Pay rises go a long way in making someone feel valued and an asset to the company.
Unlike many companies in the games industry, Blitz is very stable, rarely taking the 'hire and fire' approach that many industry veterans are familiar with. They go out of their way to support staff during difficult or life changing events (bereavement, pregnancy, etc), and are dedicated to having a fun, friendly, yet professional working environment. There's a good mix of people in terms of ages, experience, race and gender - certainly more diverse than a lot of other companies I've worked at.
Employees can express a preference for a particular project or team, and generally the management will do their best to accomodate everyone. There's a wide range of projects in the company, so there's lots of variety in the work if you want it. The company is dedicated to sharing knowledge between staff, and there's a formal training programme in place for all disciplines. Junior/entry level coders are particularly well catered for, which is handy as the leap from university projects to game coding on a huge team can be terrifying.
They haven't quite balanced stability with pay: wages are considerably lower than most other companies, particularly for less senior members of staff, and it sometimes feels that long standing members of staff who started as juniors get overlooked for promotions and pay rises. This, combined with the high cost of living in the Warwick/Stratford area, can make life financially difficult.
Despite supporting a 'sensible work/life balance', some projects have management who pressure staff into working daily overtime (including weekends) for weeks -sometimes months - on end, often even past people's annual overtime limit. However, this only tends to happen on certain teams.
Advice to Management
Please realise that excessive overtime is bad for morale, and generally means that people are less productive during their 'standard' hours. Juniors/regulars need to move up the payscale faster, as they can't survive on the low entry level salary for more than a couple of years.
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