Hi-Rez Studios Reviews | Glassdoor

Hi-Rez Studios Reviews

Updated March 12, 2019
103 reviews

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2.5
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Stewart Chisam
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Free lunch is available sometimes" (in 10 reviews)

  • "Free food is always nice even though the true motive is to get you to stay extra late" (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • "Upper management is sexist against females" (in 11 reviews)

  • "It seems that some of the higher ups do change their mind quickly, and then those changes must be immediate" (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (5)

    "Not absolutely perfect, but really pretty great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alpharetta, GA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alpharetta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Hi-Rez Studios full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Hi-Rez makes some really cool games, and they are made by people who really care about the games themselves including their artistry, game design etc.

    Employees skew a bit younger than most game companies the same size, but that typically means a terrific enthusiasm for both the projects and for possibly trying new things.

    Recently, business decisions have been increasingly fueled by data (over the whim of the few) and while they may not be perfect, decision more match the reality of the industry and lead logically towards achievable long-term goals

    2018's studio split, while having a handful of structural growing pains, was overall a great idea with teams seeming to embrace their own identities and growing closer to the communities

    Leadership across the company is very approachable and open about addressing problems head on as needed. Employees at all levels have been very open to feedback and also offering their own wisdom to newcomers. Just takes a LITTLE elbow grease to make those connections and inspire people to action, but any good idea does.

    Morale is pretty good in my department as a whole, with challenges being met as a group when needed. A super friendly, fun atmosphere socially as well.

    Communication has improved quite well and is a priority at the company, whether its about day to day progress or bigger corporate goals.

    Cons

    Some decision makers are a bit hard to track down for last minute info because they are super busy with meetings.

    Work pace is pretty high. While that's a little bit good because there's little downtime and you can get a sense of accomplishment for completing tasks, there is sometimes not enough room for longer term planning or pivoting given dependency deadlines. My experience has been that there's not been any crunch to hit deadlines that's out of the ordinary for any job, but just that there's little downtime between tasks and projects.

    Advice to Management

    I would encourage yourselves and leaders in the company to take more time to celebrate accomplishments of teams more broadly at a more frequent pace. Internal emails, newsletters, roundups etc that laud teams could go a long way to visibility of the great stuff we do.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Started out rough but on the path to becoming better"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing in Alpharetta, GA
    Current Employee - Marketing in Alpharetta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Hi-Rez Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Awesome coworkers who are passionate about their jobs. They really do listen to the community and want to make the game better for everyone.

    With the changing of the guard at CEO, there has been a huge positive shift for all decisions made. Decisions are now thoughtful and backed by data and group discussion, and it is no longer a one man show.

    Being in a smaller team means you can work closely with everyone at once. If there is an issue with some aspect on the game, you can walk over to that team and talk to them in person to work out the issues.

    Some recent internal changes have really made me more excited for what's to come in the future. They all are positive changes right now, so it will be great to see how the public views them.

    Cons

    While communicating is a plus, sometimes people forget to share important information with relevant teams which can in turn result in last minute tasks. A plus is that all the teams can handle it, but it'd be nicer if these miscommunications didn't occur in the first place.

    Pay is lower than the national average, and sometimes it doesn't feel like there is room to really progress once you're put in your area.

    I believe in free speech, but sometimes it's best to leave politics and personal opinions outside of the workplace. We are here to do a job and to make the best games possible, so I don't need to constantly hear about so-and-so and what he / she /they did.

    Sometimes people forget that there are work hours and personal hours. Depending on your job, you may have to respond to the later messages and help fix them, but sometimes you get messages or emails that could have 100% waited until the next day. My best example is that I received a message at 3 AM regarding something that didn't need any attention. It was simply a message that "might be good to know." My suggestion would be to mute all notifications and tell your boss or coworkers on your team the best way to contact you when you're not in the office.

    Advice to Management

    Having Stew as the CEO is going to do great things for Hi-Rez. It's already been easy to see the positive changes being made, so keep on going!

    I would suggest listening to internal feedback more as well. We do spend a good amount of time reading community feedback and trying to find solutions, but there are times where there is some internal "uproar" regarding why certain things are being done. Being more transparent as to why certain changes or decisions are made would definitely help keep morale up.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Not for the faint of heart!"

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

    I worked at Hi-Rez Studios full-time

    Pros

    Many MANY benefits and employee perks - which is almost expected within the industry now. Company has a lot of talent, and continues to seek out the best. Overall - very friendly staff. Very cool to be a part of a company on the cutting-edge of an exciting and ballooning industry. HUGE rate of growth and expansion. Exciting times for sure.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, the mega growing pains canleave employees feeling like they're just "cogs in the wheel" a good bit of the time. Witnessed a lot of disillusionment and disappointment in over-heard comments - formerly a lot a separation between teams. Even with tangible perks and rewards, lack of genuine appreciation seemed to be missing in a lot of areas - looks like upper mgmt appeared to start working on this. Lot of teams burning the midnight oil here - a lot of "do what it takes thinking." So not for the faint of heart if you don't like working extra hard or late quite often towards finished projects, which could possibly go unnoticed.


  4. Helpful (63)

    "We keep making the same mistakes"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Developer in Alpharetta, GA
    Current Employee - Developer in Alpharetta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Hi-Rez Studios full-time

    Pros

    - A great opportunity to get a foot in the door, since the studio hires a lot of new talent out of college and offers paid internships.
    - The studio is more diverse than most game studios, and some of the studio leadership seems to really care about diversity. However, this value is not yet reflected in dev team leadership, which is almost all white men.
    - When there are team conflicts, the studio tries to move people to better fits, and there are many opportunities for lateral moves.
    - There was talk of a "shark tank" for pitching game ideas. Maybe that'll be a thing someday?
    - Many of the other game studio norms: some catered lunch and snack options, company events and milestone celebrations
    - Good benefits, compensation, and bonuses.
    - Stew emails the whole studio with quarterly status reports for all of our projects, mostly focusing on the financials. This transparency is great! We used to have townhall meetings too.
    - Good people and camaraderie that emerges from sharing some of the cons below

    Cons

    - Erez likes to tinker on projects more than he likes to lead the company. Leadership responsibilities fall on Stew and each project's GM. This means inconsistent direction, standards, and values, which infects everything.
    - Dev teams are junior. Most designers come from streaming and esports instead of other design jobs. With few exceptions, esports bros make bad, overconfident designers.
    - Leadership and HR boast about a crunch-free workplace, yet some teams schedule 60-70+ hours worth of work in a week. Managers don't always notice, and junior devs don't know to speak up. In some teams this crunch is known, but leadership hasn't addressed it (here's to you, UI and Rigging).
    - In other teams, laziness is accepted. People show up late, leave early, and play games during lunch. This is demoralizing when your own team is on the grind.
    - The camaraderie comes with salt. Being able to say "I told you so" seem to be more important to some people than making a good game.

    If you are on an Erez project, things get messier. Most low-score reviews on Glassdoor come out when Erez projects are at their worst:
    - Expect to work faster than producers can track. No jira, trello, no pre-production or design docs. Whatever the producers use is always too slow.
    - Expect multiple course corrections in a day, and expect to hear about them through rumors about late-night emails, or by seeing a reddit post with a screencap of comments Erez made in a streamer's chat.
    - Expect to build production quality content for internal testing, with the likelihood of throwing it out. Erez won't look at prototypes and wireframes.
    - You won't have input on decisions, even if you know they are bad. Because of this, the team has a "fail fast" mentality, and sometimes this means the team self-sabotages, which is a waste of everyone's time.
    - Having a big hit chasing a new trend seems more important than adding a strong product to our lineup or improving our relationship with an audience that doesn't trust us.

    But most projects aren't Erez projects. If you're starting out your career in games and can get onto one of the established teams, the pros outweight these cons.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the leadership team. Identify the studio's goals and values, and communicate those down through the team managers. Communicate those values in the hiring process to avoid bad fits. If a course correction is necessary, tell everyone in the studio about it and explain why it is necessary. Work to retain seniors, and believe them when they raise concerns.


  5. Helpful (13)

    "Horrible Place"

    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 Hi-Rez Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    1. Co-workers are friendly, (most of them that is)
    2. Free Food + Snacks (Not very healthy)

    Cons

    1. Upper management is sexist against females.
    2. The CEO sits on his butt making stupid decisions like he's Donald trump.
    3. Upper management leech off of the CEO or higher ups so they can be promoted, and they don't even work for it.
    4. Upper-Management are abusive and make you work 60-70 hours a week on a project that if you work more time on you either get fired (because they're rude) or you get publicly embarrassed.

    Advice to Management

    Care more about your employees.


  6. Helpful (13)

    "Don’t be your own person."

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

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

    Pros

    The benefits are fine, if you’re entry level you can get into the door, sometimes people forget you exist, small company feel, free food like... twice a week. Nice coworkers most of the time.

    Cons

    I have never dealt with a company who cares less about you as a human being than Hi-Rez. You are a machine. Even HR has no idea or empathy toward anyone who wants to be their own person and raise concerns over how they or others are treated. Mental health is not accounted for, you get yelled at both for working too much and not enough. You are EXPECTED to work on your day off/off hours to make the company more money. It’s genuinely amazing that the mediocre severance is enough to cover up the words of so many people screwed over for almost no reason. Rampant personal issues, harassment, abuse, politics, cluelessness, and more run this company. The production side is even worse. I do not see this company lasting long at all past the coming years, especially if the upper management doesn’t get expelled. Notice how none of them go anywhere, they just ruin your life for years and years at a time? That’s because they make a ton of money to do nothing of value or impressive results. No other company in the gaming industry would hire them.

    Advice to Management

    Your company isn’t revered enough in the industry or the community to treat your employees like this. You are just another mediocre game studio who overworks their employees. Grow up.


  7. Helpful (26)

    "Ok place to start a career, try not to stay here more than a few years"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Hi-Rez Studios (More than a year)

    Pros

    Most successful game dev shop in Georgia

    Catered meals several days a week

    Ok benefits

    Will hire people with little experience if you want a start in the industry

    Management has gotten better about obscene crunch hours in the last year

    Cons

    Game team leadership frequently has very little experience outside Hi-Rez

    CEO is unpredictable and micromanages all game decisions. It's cool that he's passionate about games, but he needs to act more professional. I ask that he only interact with the players and streamers through the people who have been hired for this purpose. But, that would be like asking the president to stop tweeting.

    Management. Upper management comes two groups. The first group is former tech experts from the CEO's previous non-game related IT companies. The second group are his close friends who he enjoys putting in management and game design roles. Many other reviewers have complained about office politics. I think most of that comes from a power struggle between these two groups. The first group is actually pretty good at software development, but neither group knows much about game development.

    Development process. The CEO exclusively designs large budget games himself, with his inner circle occasionally trying their luck with smaller solo projects, and as middle managers in his projects. Many other reviews go into this in more detail, so I will only say he uses a chaotic process of iteration that causes 90% of all work done on the game to be discarded. Doing this with tight deadlines is painful and leads to a buggy, low quality product. When you are redoing something for the fifth time to meet another random deadline you kind of stop caring. I understand it is necessary to iterate if something is not fun, but some more upfront design work/wire framing and deciding what you want in advance would go a very long way to showing appreciation to the developers.

    Sometimes designers try to micromanage art direction, but since they don't know anything about art or level design they tend to just say "make it more like this popular game with 5x our budget". This can be frustrating because they want you to redo something but, can't explain what it is they want.

    The studio tends to under-appreciate artists, and I would like to see someone from an art background get a chance to lead a prototype game team. We were promised this opportunity with a Shark Tank every quarter for game pitches, but management backed out of that promise.

    Advice to Management

    Give people outside the inner circle real opportunity to influence high level game aspects and stop micromanaging. Too late for me, but this could be a really great studio with some changes.

    Make more games.

  8. Helpful (15)

    "Critique falls by the wayside"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Artist in Alpharetta, GA
    Current Employee - Artist in Alpharetta, GA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Hi-Rez Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    A lot of talented individuals at the senior level, or lower. You get a chance to learn from some incredible peers if you come in as an associate, or mid-level employee. This studio has gotten incredibly lucky with talent that has experience a multiple incredible studios.

    Cons

    Almost all of this talent is ignored in favor of reddit feedback, or whims that seemingly come from nowhere. This precedent set by the CEO influences others in positions of power to act similarly.

    A lot of people who have been here for over 5 to 8 years have almost no experience anywhere else and make broad generalizations about other studios' practices in order to dodge good feedback given from veterans who have been at many successful studios.

    Many seniors and leads have refused to learn new programs, or workflows with proven success.

    For instance, there is a refusal to properly gray-box levels, because the CEO doesn't want to play prototypes that look bad. This destroys the pre-production phase of art completely.

    Advice to Management

    Quality sells, it has been proven to sell. Please stop insisting that slight numerical tweaks to gameplay, or creating 6 skins this month instead of 4 will improve sales at all.

    You're consistently building distrust with the playerbase when patches often do more harm to the actual functionality of the game than good. Please slow down and think about quality in every facet before it's too late.


  9. Helpful (55)

    "Enjoyment depends greatly on luck and team culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Alpharetta, GA
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Alpharetta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I was really lucky to land on a good team whose culture is quite different from the general company culture at Hi Rez Studios. We have vastly more freedom and fewer stressful crunch periods, and is mostly a pretty nice subspace within the org.

    Cons

    There's a good reason the reviews on this site are so polarizing, and it's really not because one side is wrong. There's simply two very different cultures within Hi Rez, and where you end up is mostly up to luck.

    Sadly, the majority of the teams are quite stressful (and sometimes even toxic). Yes there are quite a number of managers who will enforce required overtime and belittle employees while having zero clue of leadership or technology, who in fact only earned their role by being buddies with senior management. This I believe is the biggest problem within the company, that leadership roles are given to immature and incompetent power-tripping people. Multiple complaints of harassment against a single person will be discarded depending on whether that person has friends in the leadership chain.

    It's hard to be happy and appreciate your own good team when you see your coworkers being mistreated (which again I find to be the majority), and givenhow hectically positions and developer roles are being shifted among projects recently, who knows how long this sanctuary will last?


  10. Helpful (55)

    "Mixed bag of frustration"

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

    Pros

    Catered Lunches, working with fun and cool non-management teammates and co-workers, depending on the department you can easily get promoted, and the benefits are pretty good. A 40 hour work week isn't too bad either (does not apply to the entire company depending on your department)

    Cons

    Management, design process, serious lack of concern for console platforms (which is funny because console brings in the money and it's the main reason Hi-Rez is profitable), 2 week sprint cycles, promote too quickly and put people who shouldn't be a leader as leads, in general, you are a cog and are easily replaceable, Managers can use intimidation, such as giving bad reviews or preventing raises, or promotions, to motivate you to work harder. Compensation is pretty meager when you first start.

    Advice to Management

    Micromanaging doesn't make things better, allow your team to grow and be more supportive to them, being able to communicate with your team is also pretty important. Learn how to use your team to the best of their abilities and skillset. Crazy thought, encourage your team to be better than they are rather than discourage them.