Obsidian Entertainment Reviews

Updated Feb 5, 2021

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3.4
59%
Recommend to a Friend
73%
Approve of CEO
Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart (no image)
Feargus Urquhart
17 Ratings
  1. 5.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Great place to work

    Apr 28, 2020 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Everyone is passionate about game development and easy to work with.

    Cons

    Sometimes quantity take precedence over quality.

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  2. 4.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Fun place to work

    Jan 21, 2021 - 3D Environment Artist in Irvine, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Great team, Great communication, fun workplace, Flexible, caring

    Cons

    Can be demanding at times.

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  3. 2.0
    Current Employee, less than 1 year

    Surprising

    Feb 5, 2021 - Quality Assurance 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    They promise a lot to you.

    Cons

    But then you find out on monday they're letting you go out of the blue.

    2 people found this review helpful
  4. 4.0
    Current Employee, more than 5 years

    Stable work environment and passionate coworkers

    Aug 5, 2019 - Senior Artist in Irvine, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Good place to cut your teeth as a junior entering the industry, or as a intermediate artist looking to grow. People who show initiative are often recognized and promoted. Mandatory "Crunch" is very rare.

    Cons

    Scope of projects can spiral out of control due to failures at the production level (bad data fed to directors) or project directors with good data making delusional decisions.

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    5 people found this review helpful
  5. 1.0
    Former Employee, less than 1 year

    I had an unpleasant experience

    Nov 6, 2019 - Technical Artist 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Bagel Wednesday.... that’s about it

    Cons

    Management hardly understands the artist mindset. Lead artist are set in their ways and to good to listen. Zero attention to reviews of performance. I had one 1on1 the entire year I worked there. No path to growth based on performance. Feels like developing a game with no plan..

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    8 people found this review helpful
  6. 1.0
    Former Employee, more than 3 years

    Bad Art Directors and Toxic Work Environment

    Oct 21, 2019 - Anonymous Employee in Irvine, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    - Good artists, designers and programmers in the trenches - The understand good story - The have a good understanding of RPGs, just not how to make a great AAA RPG (The Stick of Truth was 5+ years ago).

    Cons

    - Entrenched studio art director who doesn't want to further the look/tech at the studio, develop true pipelines for each of the art departments, or understands modern AAA studio art direction. - Highly political environment. - Art directors who don't listen. - A studio art director who is toxic. - Project art directors who cannot give clear direction. - Project art directors who only want to work with their friends. - No concept support of the actual levels for the artists to work from. - Complete chaos when it comes to when things need to be done or any coherent structure. - Entire parts of development left to the last minute - Tools constantly broken and ineffective - Development focusing on non-important functions and leaving important tasks to the last minute. -Bad Leadership from the top down. - Leads not understanding who work within standard workflows and blaming other departments when these problems creep up later. - Weak development and unrealistic budgets leave the end results falling short. - Lead who don't even want to be lead their teams. - Nepotism is real

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    15 people found this review helpful
  7. 5.0
    Former Employee, less than 1 year

    Fantastic Company

    Nov 16, 2018 - QA Tester in Irvine, CA
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Great company culture, good pay and great work-life balance.

    Cons

    There can be frequent layoffs.

    2 people found this review helpful
  8. 4.0
    Former Employee, less than 1 year

    Welcoming Environment, Good Devs

    Oct 10, 2018 - Intern 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Coworkers are very welcoming, great company culture Superiors eager to explain when you're stuck Very flexible with hours and life events

    Cons

    Lower pay than expected Would benefit from greater coding discipline across teams

    1 person found this review helpful
  9. 1.0
    Former Employee, less than 1 year

    Subsistence-level game development

    Aug 7, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    - You will make close friends in the trenches. - If you already live in Orange County and need a paycheck, you can earn one here.

    Cons

    At the heart of Obsidian is a coterie of apathetic underperformers propped up by a slow churn of overworked, underpaid developers held to higher standards than senior employees. - You will not be able to afford to live near the office. - Highly political work environment. - Obsidian’s development strategy is to expect as few developers as possible to achieve more than is humanly possible, in as little time as possible, with as little support as possible: insufficient management, multiple roles per developer, limited QA, penny-pinching and corner-cutting (no bonuses), and highly scrutinized productivity. Positive feedback is infrequent. The belt is tightened further when success is limited, as though success will increase with fewer resources - however, game scope is allowed to inflate indiscriminately, sometimes by owner demand. - Absolutely no learning occurring from project mismanagement. If someone insists the next project will be ‘better’, don't fall for it. - No training for management positions (or any position). There is an unspoken expectation that employees accept, cope with, and compensate for inadequate management/production. - Continuously changing tasking pipelines as though the problem isn’t that that each producer is expected to manage multiple departments as well as adapt to shifting goalposts from owners. - The highest paid, most senior people demonstrate the least accountability and, in some cases, the worst behavior. - Regularly practiced "cannibalism" where developers are 'borrowed' from one project to fill a void in another team - however since Obsidian is reluctant to hire anyone even when necessary, managers on the borrowing team get sneaky, cut deals, and slide work under the table to hold on to the borrowed employee. - There is no female leadership, and Obsidian has driven away the majority of its female staff in recent years. Women may not experience sexual harassment at Obsidian but their expertise will be ignored, their work will not be acknowledged (in quality or quantity), they will not receive the privileges reserved for the owners’ friends (promotions), and their longevity at Obsidian may be hindered by owner bias - regardless of their value as a teammate and their contributions to the company. Owners/Upper Management - Owners seem to be in a perpetual cold war. For better or worse, decisions happen when one them gives up fighting the other. - People’s experiences at Obsidian will vary dramatically depending on how much the owners like them. For example, leadership positions and promotions are reserved for friends and people who the owners “like” regardless of obvious red flags. - Hiring preference goes to friends or acquaintances despite qualifications. - Owners are far removed from the actual work of making games and seem surprised by everything that takes longer and costs more to make than it did in 2006. - Juvenile antics from owners including playing favorites, holding grudges, defensiveness, passive aggression, avoiding problems, fair-weather friendliness, withholding or being coy with feedback and expectations, and neglecting people they don’t like. - You will see senior employees and leads refusing to collaborate, ignoring direction, sneaking in content, ignoring feedback, avoiding confrontation to the detriment of the project, being defensive, failing to communicate, going behind the backs of other leads and departments, etc. - Owners describe Obsidian as a place of innovation and creativity but shoot down anything outside their narrow comfort zones, scrape the bottom of the same barrels, and avoid risk to a degree that borders on cowardice (yet all the while absorbing any collateral cost accrued by their poor leadership picks and mismanagement). - Owners regularly ignore projects. Other times they procrastinate playing projects until the eleventh hour, then demand changes. - Owners will not lift a finger to retain valuable employees, who are jumping ship at a regular pace. - Owners claim to have open-door policies but bringing issues to their attention only wastes your own time - the most serious problems are of their making, or the making of one of their untouchable favorites. - In the interest of 'transparency', the whole company gets to hear about who an owner chats with at trade shows, which at best foreshadows dead ends and at worst foreshadows bad deals, but wastes everyone's time either way. - A history of inaction and even retaliation from upper management results in reluctance among lower-rung employees to bring up issues. - A complete deafness to company morale and emotional health of employees.

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    29 people found this review helpful
  10. 2.0
    Former Employee, more than 3 years

    Your team will keep you going when it gets rough... but doesn't make up for the deep-rooted problems

    Apr 8, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Really friendly and caring people Monthly birthday treats Parties and holiday activities are fun when they happen

    Cons

    Company has been around 15 years, run by people who've been around 10 more. You'd think they'd know how to run a business by now, but you'd be wrong. Leadership is completely entrenched in old ideas and micromanagement. Despite several close calls in the past, the company has not structured deals in a timely & effective manner to prevent massive layoffs. Any sense of "open" structure is an utter farce - leadership has no time for you on a personal level (despite the facade of an 'open-door policy) meanwhile getting involved on a microscopic level on projects and not allowing the talent they have to shine. Pay is below average, no bonuses. Zero career progression/promotions, spare in-the-trench or if you're a friend or family of an owner. Massive nepotism. HR is utterly incompetent. Owners have explicitly said they don't read reviews and decide raises based on their opinion of you. Due to micromanagement, leadership causes massive delays in projects due to midnight hour decisions or pivoting. Company strategy is to do the same thing for the next 5+ years with little innovation. Executive producer holds all the power.

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    14 people found this review helpful
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