KEY NOT FOUND: coverImgAlt
Logo

Certain Affinity

Engaged Employer

Certain Affinity

Add a Review

Certain Affinity Reviews

Updated Jun 16, 2022

To filter reviews, or .

Found 45 of over 52 reviews

3.8
74%
Recommend to a Friend
81%
Approve of CEO
Certain Affinity President Max Hoberman (no image)
Max Hoberman
37 Ratings

Top Review Highlights by Sentiment

Pros
  • "Work/Life balance is amazing.(in 9 reviews)
  • "They have good pay and benefits and perks.(in 9 reviews)
  • "Great people and fun projects(in 8 reviews)
  • "Excellent culture(in 7 reviews)
  • "Having worked for a couple of smaller companies run by poor businessmen/women, I can't tell you what a relief it is to have someone in charge you trust won't make a bad deal that either causes layoffs or forces crunch mode.(in 5 reviews)
Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. 5.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Certain Affinity - If you don't know us yet, you will soon.

    Apr 6, 2022 - studio design director in Austin, TX
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    I have been at Certain Affinity for just shy of a year now. It is a veteran company that has been around for 15 years (with no layoffs, ever) but doesn't have all the red tape and bureaucracy of a huge publisher. The executive team is very approachable and accommodating. They really care about the developers and understand that happy people make good games and good games make happy people. Certain Affinity has a storied history of assisting on some of the biggest AAA franchises including Halo, Call of Duty, Doom and Left 4 Dead. The company currently has some exciting projects and seems poised to make a splash in the industry within the next few years.

    Cons

    Certain Affinity is not well known in the industry due to the lack of publicity from its past focus on co-development work. This co-dev work has created a stable and respected company that is on the verge of being a breakout company in the industry.

    2 people found this review helpful
  2. 4.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    Amazing people and projects

    May 27, 2022 - Senior Software Engineer 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    The people. This company really has the largest collection of wonderful people I’ve worked with in my career. The Engineering management team is full of brilliant, kind, hard-working folks. The work itself is interesting, and the titles are easy for even non-gamers to recognize as prestigious. CEO is ethical. His involvement in Refugee Services of Texas, his vegetarian / borderline vegan leanings, and his consistently landing on the Golden Rule with regards to political topics really demonstrated to me, over and over, that he’s a great guy. I’m proud to have worked for CA.

    Cons

    Management is tied per project, and projects last between 6 and 18 months. So in my 1.5 years I had 5 different managers.

    Continue reading
    Be the first to find this review helpful
  3. 2.0
    Former Employee

    Petty Office Politics hinder an otherwise good studio culture

    Apr 3, 2022 - Designer 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    There is a great attempt being made for inclusion and diversity (whether or not it is succeeding). In the past they have been extremely transparent about studio business. Pay pretty well (my experience, but I've heard your mileage may vary)

    Cons

    The last 6-7 months have been a downward one for the studio. The excellent transparency ended with the Gala Games partnership and the conversion of a long time studio project into a blockchain game. Regardless of your personal opinions on these types of games, the way studio management sprung the project on the devs was completely opposite to how projects had been announced in the past (almost as if they knew this was going to be a controversial decision). Studio leadership promised a townhall to discuss the issue. Instead, we were given a "Ted Talk" from the CEO of another studio working on blockchain games telling us how great it was and praising us for not asking "Avocado Toast" questions (don't ask me what he meant by this) A lot of talent is leaving this studio for various reasons. Leadership that is left is being promoted simply based on how long they've been at the studio, not their talent. The leadership that employs tactics such as gaslighting, ultimatums, etc to get employees to do work. A co-worker was screamed at by a fairly incompetent lead on a project in the past. I was told later that lead "Needed to be handled delicately" and that he was just "misunderstood" by multiple other managers... The culture may vary depending on your gender and racial makeup. Right now, the studio is pretty much a white boys club (granted, a fairly liberal, progressive white boys club, but actions speak louder than words IMO). There seems to be a commitment to change this, but I'll believe it when I see it. Studio Leadership is obsessed with creating original IP AAA games and have tried to do so multiple times to little success. They will not stop chasing this white whale, despite many many many failures. Know that if you're lured to this studio on the promise of CA working on their own game, you are standing on the bones of a dozen failed projects. The new health insurance was awful.

    Continue reading
    8 people found this review helpful
  4. 5.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Fantastic Team And Culture

    Jan 20, 2022 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Awesome people, amazing culture, fun projects, great compensation, and excellent benefits. Loving my time there so far!

    Cons

    New to the company, but nothing worth noting so far.

    2 people found this review helpful
  5. 1.0
    Former Employee, more than 3 years

    Toxic leadership culture destroys morale and keeps company from reaching full potential

    Feb 2, 2022 - Senior Engineering Director in Pflugerville, TX
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Certain Affinity is first and foremost a codev studio. They work on other company's games and not their own. If you're cool with that then there's opportunity here for you. As a new game developer you'll get the chance to work on some big titles. You'll also get to work with some seriously skilled talent. You'll be surrounded by great coworkers with a deep passion for their craft. Feel free to join on, learn what you can, beef up your portfolio, and move on to a bigger adventure. 3 years is a good stint.

    Cons

    The biggest con of working at Certain Affinity is the toxic culture at the senior leadership level. This toxic culture destroys leader morale, encourages politics, rewards unproductivity, and allows incompetence to flourish. The more productive you are, the less successful you can be as a leader here. The source of this toxic culture are the founders, Max and Mojdeh (a deeply distrusting husband and wife team). Neither one understands game development, nor do they delegate decision-making to competent lieutenants. Their ignorance of the business of game development affects every decision they make. Contrary opinions be damned. The best you can hope for is some lip service as they continue full steam ahead implementing whatever their next hairbrained scheme is. They don't lead... they micromanage, belittle, and otherwise cajole their leaders into executing ill-conceived plans that keep the organization perpetually off balance. This results in the company careening from one leadership crisis to another. There's never quite enough bandwidth to actually solve the issues that leadership faces. It's just fire after fire after fire. It's exhausting but it also ensures that the founders are front and center in any crisis. And they love that! This perpetual fire fighting is the main reason why Certain Affinity hasn't been able to ship their own games for over a decade. And, if you want to ship your own games, this company is absolutely not for you.

    Continue reading
    13 people found this review helpful
  6. 5.0
    Current Employee, more than 3 years

    Nothing but positive experiences for me

    Oct 22, 2021 - Designer in Austin, TX
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    -Fantastic communication to the employees about the company, I have always felt like they genuinely cared about me as an employee -Many opportunities to work on different big-name games -Very stable job with great work/life balance and decent salary -Quarterly evals with merit-based promotions and clear job ladders (if you are consistently performing beyond your expected level, then you will be promoted)

    Cons

    -I know people who have left who haven't had as positive experiences as me, but it's usually for better opportunities rather than a real problem with the company -While benefits are great, I haven't ever had a significant bonus

    2 people found this review helpful
  7. 5.0
    Current Employee

    What a difference!

    Oct 20, 2021 - Technical Operations in Austin, TX
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Amazing leadership. Great Team morale. HR Training is on point. Really supports employee growth. Takes pride in the work life balance.

    Cons

    New to the company. No Cons that I can report on.

    1 person found this review helpful
  8. 4.0
    Current Employee, more than 1 year

    Really good place to work.

    May 3, 2021 - Lead Environment Artist in Austin, TX
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Great people and fun projects

    Cons

    Some projects are too short in duration.

    4 people found this review helpful
  9. 5.0
    Current Employee

    Great Company!

    Apr 20, 2021 - Senior Character Artist 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    -Work environment is great. -Work/Life balance is amazing.

    Cons

    Most projects are co-dev elopement, but that is the nature of the company.

    2 people found this review helpful
  10. 3.0
    Current Employee, more than 3 years

    Good stable place to work at with good people but needs change at the leadership level.

    Sep 27, 2020 - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Stable place to work. No mass layoffs since they have been in business. They genuinely seem to care about keeping everybody working and not laying people off. Decent benefits and they do seem to care about employees health and doing the best they can to protect their workers. They are accommodating for health events like children and major illnesses. They do seem to try to make it a nice place to work. The people there for the most part are genuinely nice. It's a good environment most of the time and a fun team to work with. Very little crunch ever. They do their best to avoid it. You can potentially work on multiple titles within a year or two to put on your resume. They seem to be really good about always having deals in the work so that there are always multiple projects to go onto. It's usually the problem of too many options to pick than not enough. Friday treats where they bring in some sweet or savory snack for the afternoon or breakfast every week and open up the beer fridge.

    Cons

    They are cheap. Negotiate your salary whatever offer they start you off with, ask for more. (This is known internally as the CA Discount. You take a lower pay in exchange for stability, with the complete lack of realization that lower pay is a type of instability.) If there's software you need to do your job it may be a real hassle to convince them to get it. There are no cost of living raises, and raises are based only on performance or promotions and even then it seems really random about who gets them when. I’ve heard people going multiple years without raises. They are great at doing codev and partnering with other companies to make art, animation or levels. They can't make their own games for the life of them, and are really bad at game design and pre-development. A complete lack of whiteboxing and everything has complete art before it's been tested. I would not describe designing gaming systems or UI as a strong point of the studio. But if somebody else has done the hard work to figure the foundation and you want them to art it up, they are great at that. Complete inability to admit their own failures, particularly upper management I’m not sure if it’s just giant/delicate egos that are being protected or if they just feel it’s better for business to keep employees in the dark about those things. Project updates are given like everything is awesome and amazing with no mention of partner concerns or areas that could use improvement. It’s very odd because perception of other studios' work/games can be hyper critical, but the ability to review internal work the same way just is not even present. When a project goes well, they will over credit their contributions and how much they "saved the project." even when their contribution was very small. When a project goes poorly, there's an inability at very least to admit to anything the company could have done better, and even worse they don't even seem to recognize it. If anything goes wrong it's all the partners fault, despite missing deadlines, iterating way too slow, floundering game design and over spending because of all those things. The people that do recognize this seem to leave between not being able to affect change, or being accused of being difficult, passive aggressive or throwing the team under the bus. It's impossible to make a situation better if there's an unwillingness to even acknowledge it. Or listen to any of the people they hired that know better. On one hand this behavior can protect employees from worrying about bigger business decisions. On the other hand, those that understand the business of it become un-confident in leadership's abilities to handle those situations, or unsure if what they are told about situations are even true or not. Top talent tends to leave after a year or two because of the things above. Which generally leaves whoever is left to float to the top. Peer reviews only go sideways and down. You can’t review your leadership to say if they are doing a good job or not. Thus there’s not a ton of consequences for how they do their job, especially if you feel you have poor leadership at any given time. Teams are split between projects and people often get shifted around when new projects come in. This can make things difficult as you lose some of your best people to whatever just came in. You may even be reporting to somebody who isn’t even on your project and be accountable for things they aren’t experiencing day to day. Projects you work on may never be announced or Certain Affinity may never get to say they worked on it.

    Continue reading
    14 people found this review helpful
Viewing 1 - 10 of 45 Reviews

Certain Affinity Reviews FAQs

Certain Affinity has an overall rating of 3.8 out of 5, based on over 52 reviews left anonymously by employees. 74% of employees would recommend working at Certain Affinity to a friend and 77% have a positive outlook for the business. This rating has improved by 1% over the last 12 months.

According to anonymously submitted Glassdoor reviews, Certain Affinity employees rate their compensation and benefits as 3.8 out of 5. Find out more about salaries and benefits at Certain Affinity. This rating has been stable over the past 12 months.

74% of Certain Affinity employees would recommend working there to a friend based on Glassdoor reviews. Employees also rated Certain Affinity 4.5 out of 5 for work life balance, 4.0 for culture and values and 3.8 for career opportunities.

According to reviews on Glassdoor, employees commonly mention the pros of working at Certain Affinity to be career development, culture, benefits and the cons to be management, senior leadership.

Popular Careers with Certain Affinity Job Seekers

JobsSalariesInterviews

Work at Certain Affinity? Share Your Experiences

Certain Affinity logo
or

Certain Affinity Photos

+ Add Photo
Certain Affinity photo of: CA Summer Party @ High 5
Certain Affinity photo of: 2019 Bike to Work Day!
Certain Affinity photo of: Main Conference Room
Certain Affinity photo of: Second Studio
Certain Affinity photo of: Neighborhood
Certain Affinity photo of: Games Library
Certain Affinity photo of: Workspace - Open office
See All Photos