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Carbine Studios Reviews

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2.7
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Carbine Studios Orange County Site Executive Chauncey Gammage
Chauncey Gammage
4 Ratings

32 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    "Future Uncertain"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Good game
    Great talent
    Caring management
    Good community of developers
    Even in the layoffs they treated us well with severance packages. I'd work for them again.

    Cons

    There were layoffs recently so not as much of the "Pros" mentioned above, still some.
    Carbine may be a sinking ship at this point but they may yet turn things around. While the future may be uncertain right now, if things improve financially then I'd say go for it.

    Advice to Management

    I hope you can turn things around financially. Things were looking good for a while, a lot of good changes for the better happened. WildStar is a good game and you still have some good people. Take care of them and things might just turn out alright.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "New Ideas needed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Carbine Studios part-time

    Pros

    Great group of people who work at Carbine. The art for the game is really good. The environment is friendly

    Cons

    They spent a lot of time and money making a game like World of Warcraft- but it took so long to create that there really was not the market for it. They need a new approach and new vision to get the company back on track.

    Advice to Management

    try some other types of games and products. Maybe start going into a newer field, like VR gaming or other innovative ideas.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Carbine Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    A great work environment with a great team.
    Great benefits package this may have changed since I left.
    Very friendly teams with great attitudes.

    Cons

    Internal politics may keep you from moving out of QA.
    Former HR lead was combative when faced with issues dealing with company politics.

    Advice to Management

    I wish I had advice for the management, but since I'm no longer there I wouldn't know where to begin.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Fine studio, hard genre, broken industry"

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

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

    Pros

    Great people, no insane pressure to put in long hours. Open to ideas and not stifling to creativity.

    Cons

    There was nowhere to go. There often isn't, in this industry. Veterans know this well. Wildstar had every chance to succeed. Everyone wants to blame someone or something: "the CEO!", "nobody listens!", "bad morale!". It was none of those things. At the end of the day the market just wasn't there.

    The fact is, it was a great team, and Chauncey (head honcho) did the best he could with a terrible situation. Many saw him as the "bad guy" because the first round of layoffs happened soon after he took over. Unfortunately, the numbers just didn't make sense. At the end of the day it's a business. Even a CEO with 100% approval cannot change the way math works.

    The MMO genre is very hard to build a sustainable product in, in 2016. Subscriptions are dead, production cycles are too long, and MTX is rarely enough to recoup the cost of a giant team for 5+ years. I simply think Wildstar was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The product, people, and execution was great. It's just too hard these days. But I understand people need to point fingers in order to cope with layoffs.

    I was not high up, for the record. I was quite low on the totem pole in fact. Survived the first round of layoffs and got hit by the second. Still unemployed. Sucks, but it's not Carbine's fault. They never wronged me or mistreated me. I will miss it dearly, and I wish Wildstar and Carbine's future ventures all the success possible.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the team small for now and look for new opportunities. Wildstar won't sustain forever and you need some new revenue streams.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Passion Driven"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Aliso Viejo, CA

    I worked at Carbine Studios full-time

    Pros

    -Talented team
    -The benefits
    -new building
    -relaxed attire
    -Vending machines with partially subsidized pricing
    -Good parking
    -Cafeteria
    -gym

    Cons

    No focus on team building.
    Little on the job training widening the range of abilities- employees learn this at home.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage some team building activities. A work force that pulls long hours is an extended family, treat it as such.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Bittersweet Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer
    Current Employee - Software Developer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    Experienced Team
    New building
    Competitive Salary

    Cons

    Several rounds of layoffs, the last being massive
    No room for advancement
    No new projects
    No future

    Advice to Management

    After sitting through presentation after presentation detailing the reality of our situation, I'm not sure if there is anything can be done at this point.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "It's a bad studio for design and engineering."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Carbine Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Good benefits package is actually a thing.

    Engineering and Design are very talented departments, and are some of the best people in the industry. They worked so hard to try and improve the quality of WildStar, and often came up short due to the cons listed below.

    Cons

    - "WIldstar" is a bad game.
    - "Free snacks and soda" are gone.
    - "Free SWAG for all employees" is done.
    - "Food truck Wednesdays" is gone.
    - "Laid back environment" doesn't exist
    - "Open to employee suggestions" is a lie.
    - "Nice area" if you can afford it.

    A despotic tyrant controls the entire studio and it's alleged creative vision, ignoring all advice and suggestions. Headquarters is enamored with said tyrant, so executive management is somehow futile to stop him, if they even care (which they clearly don't). The game has been driven into the ground by a terrible studio structure ("a premier destination for artists") by people who don't understand how to make video games but retain control of it all anyway.

    Advice to Management

    Just shut the thing down please.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Carbine Studios, and how it gave us a chance"

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

    I worked at Carbine Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Overall, the studio is a fun environment, where you as a content creator are enabled to be as creative as you can. I worked at the Carbine for almost seven years, and it was my first game shipped in the videogame industry. I was a green employee, and was given the chance to prove myself in a multitude of different ways. I have nothing but respect for the company, their leadership, and the overall culture. Some will disagree with me, but this is my overall experience under the NcSoft umbrella :)

    -Benefits are great
    -Great Salary (If you know what you are worth, and ask for it)
    -Incredible Learning Environment (Art)
    -Room for Promotions
    -Willingness to be there for you, no matter what

    Cons

    Communication is key! They have great communication from the top down, but the teams within the company could work on this. The team needs to be more open to conversations. Plenty of times I would have to find out, months later, that a slew of requests were thought to be "In Progress"

    Overall, my exp was great, I had no issues walking over to talk to designers/programmers.

    Some things slipped through the cracks, and left people upset.

    Advice to Management

    Find a way to push forward with the talent you have, because the problem is not your talent, it is the attitude of the studio. You have treated me with nothing but respect as a developer, and I am very thankful for the experience I had at Carbine.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Game Designer"

    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 Carbine Studios full-time

    Pros

    There is/was a lot of good talent at the studio. It was an overall fun place to work.

    Cons

    There are/were a few bad people that seemed to stick around, including some in high places.

    Advice to Management

    You have, or at least had, a lot of talented people working for you. I would listen to them more often.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "what could've been"

    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

    I worked at Carbine Studios full-time

    Pros

    Convenient location, large benefits package, flex time scheduling. Korean parent company is publisher of titles and therefore can set it's own ship dates, including moving the date if game isn't right and needs more time. Korean parent company more than patient giving studio chance after chance to turn things around, but not tolerant of mistakes or failure to deliver.

    Cons

    Very clique heavy atmosphere. Underachievers promoted because they hang with right people while top talent snubbed and leave on their own. Management very closed minded with obsolete thinking often repeating history and mistakes. Not receptive to new or current ideas within industry. Management style very outdated. Company morale generally low. Office space is dirty and unkempt. Many employees lack most basic of manners and hygiene. Korean parents send mixed messages and don't understand American game culture. Easily fooled with smoke and mirrors. HR staff clueless about benefits details even though that's their job.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of cliques, starting with the inner circle. Clean up the office, it's filthy, an embarrassment, and a health hazard. Get real HR staff that isn't clueless. Implement objective standards to rate employees as culture is heavily biased towards favoritism. Get somebody who really understands how to run a studio and not just look at numbers. Get directors/producers who have pedigree in the field and stop hiring/promoting those who socialize their way to the top.


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