Sledgehammer Games Reviews

Updated Jan 10, 2020

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3.5
73%
Recommend to a Friend
100%
Approve of CEO
Sledgehammer Games Studio Head Aaron Halon (no image)
Aaron Halon
5 Ratings
Pros
  • "If you able to work on Call of Duty, it is a huge resume booster(in 18 reviews)

  • "Had" some of the most talented people in the industry(in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • "Crunch can be intense, but it is fairly minimal considering the entirety of the development cycle(in 15 reviews)

  • "cost of living is insane, but this is more of a side effect of having a studio in the heart of the bay area(in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (4)

    "Exciting work, great co-workers"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Foster City, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The best part of working at Sledgehammer are the people. Some of the industry’s best and most talented artists, designers, and engineers all under one roof. Everyone is very humble, approachable, and willing to help. Yes, the work required to produce one of the best-selling games of 2017 was demanding, but the excitement surrounding the process and launch is just as rewarding. Recently, the leadership change has been a huge breath of fresh air. Despite the (rather significant) challenges, the culture is evolving for the better. There are still some items that need addressing, but the Leadership team is exceptionally transparent, have all worked their way up through the ranks, and seem to be aware of the specific needs.

    Cons

    -Projects are driven by inflexible deadlines. Be prepared to work long hours to get the game out the door. -Fans can be brutal, sometimes game criticism can be tough to read. -The Bay Area is expensive. This is openly acknowledged, but investment in the people seems to be tightly regulated by Santa Monica-based Corporate. Compensation is heavily supplemented by shipping bonuses—which makes for three long years on a shoestring budget. -Finishing the game and starting over with a new development cycle is tough and has led to very senior/tenured people leaving.

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    Sledgehammer Games2018-11-13
  2. Helpful (5)

    "A Mediocre Studio Which Despises it’s Own Culture."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    -Access to many toolsets. -If you able to work on Call of Duty, it is a huge resume booster. -Learn/collaborate with top-tier studios, such as Treyarch.

    Cons

    -Don’t come here if you like putting in extra effort. It will not be rewarded. -Studio despises the Call of Duty franchise, frequently using the insult "bro gamers", and doesn’t have a clear understanding of hardcore content. -Rampant office politics. -No room for growth. You will be expected to be here at least three years before any promotion, regardless of exceptional talent. -Bosses exercise favouritism and are impressionable. -Most people here are uncomfortable working on a pro-American subject matter.

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    Sledgehammer Games2020-01-10
  3. Helpful (7)

    "The future has never been brighter"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Foster City, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    - Our former "head of development" and co-studio head Michael Condrey is gone. His departure in 2018 has been celebrated to this day. Probably the worst person to have lead a studio. - New studio head is great. He's about giving folks the tools to make great games and not standing in their way. - We're realigning the business and the future of development is exciting, unexpected. - New leadership is clear about their vision, is honest and transparent. Nothing shrouded in secrecy and we're finally free to build the games we want to play.

    Cons

    - There's still a lot of baggage that we have from the "old way of doing thing" and will take time to heal from former leadership. Little challenges all the time when it comes to process and streamlining - Salary is low for the cost of the Bay and can use some improvement (seems on par with all the reviews here, but worth mentioning) - Not everyone is down for the "new future", there's been decent attach rate but there are fence sitters out there. Unfair to the others when you don't fully commit. - The coffee isn't great.

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    Sledgehammer Games2019-09-30
  4. Helpful (12)

    "From Premiere Studio to Dumpster Fire."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Developer in Foster City, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sledgehammer Games full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    "Had" some of the most talented people in the industry.

    Cons

    All the AAA talent has left. No Longer COD studio = No Bonuses to offset Bay area Cost. Most of remaining leadership is arrogant and self absorbed. They lack proper focus and guidance. Underqualified leaders. Poor leadership, the studio is a rudderless ship. Three better career options in the bay from the fallout.

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    Sledgehammer Games2019-07-04
  5. Helpful (5)

    "A company in transition"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Foster City, CA

    I worked at Sledgehammer Games full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Talented team in a beautiful location.

    Cons

    The loss of the founding leadership has left SHG rudderless and subject to the whims of Activision.

    Sledgehammer Games2019-05-01
  6. Helpful (1)

    "Lots of growth and potential"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Food Eating Champ 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Sledgehammer Games full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    The people that you work with are some of the most passionate people you will meet. The people that you become friends with are some of the best people you will have in your life. There are lots of interesting things going on and so much growth for individuals that I will not be able to see firsthand.

    Cons

    External management can get in the way.

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    Sledgehammer Games2019-03-02
  7. Helpful (1)

    "Change of leadership makes work better"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    With the change of leadership it feels like teams have been given more creative control over their work. This has made working at sledge a much more enjoyable place. They are also taking transparency to heart and letting the team know what is happening at a higher level. Even if it isn’t always good news. This does a lot to give us facts and not circulate rumors on the floor.

    Cons

    We have lost a lot of great talent due to the change of leadership.

    Continue reading
    Sledgehammer Games2018-12-25
  8. Helpful (4)

    "Changing for the better"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Foster City, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    Sledgehammer is a company that is turning around when it comes to treating employees better. The old studio head (it was one I am talking about in particular) ran the studio with an iron fist that nobody saw, but everyone felt. I can safely say that this is no longer the case and the little things we were missing or rules that didn't make sense but hurt the culture are slowly but surely changing for the better. Even HR has improved 10 fold since the change of studio head. I used to feel like HR was only a resource when someone messed up, but now honestly feel like I can go to them for any type of support without worry :) The bi-weekly studio all hands are wonderful for keeping everyone up to date and helps Even though you will be working on Call of Duty at Sledge, don't let that be a negative. NOTHING outside of whatever Rockstar makes these days carries the same amount of energy and cultural impact as this franchise does. It is a spectacular experience to be apart of a team that gets to deliver one of these Blockbusters and it looks great on your resume as well! Working in the bay area is awesome. As many game studios are leaving due to the cost of being here, it is nice that Activision is willing to keep a branch up here. However, you will have to find roommates to keep the cost of living down. Despite this, living in the bay as a positive. Especially if you haven't been before as there is so much to do. Crunch can get bad, but compared to previous studios I have worked for and stories I have heard at other studios the crunch is very minimal. You might be asked to stay later on launch year, but it wont be by much and it is usually voluntary. So it is possible to balance work and life here as long as you let yourself. I wish I can give Sledge a 4.5, so I will round up.

    Cons

    Lot's of people are leaving. Some people view this as a sinking ship. However, I see it as a way to come in and prove yourself early. As awesome as a lot of things are, we still don't have a lot of the perks other game studios have as far as quality of life items present in the studio. Recent decisions regarding future workloads are starting to be really, really worrisome... With more fans comes negativity among the fans. For every post about how great your game is, expect another about how lazy and awful the studio is. You will have to get used to it.

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    Sledgehammer Games2018-10-30
  9. Helpful (3)

    "The glory days are over."

    3.0
     

    I worked at Sledgehammer Games

    Pros

    Amazing studio Putting Call of Duty on the resume Some remaining talent are the best in the industry, those same people being also the nicest, most understanding and hardworking.

    Cons

    Non-competitive pay for the area. Bonuses are underwhelming. Studio is at the mercy of shadowy corporate direction. The drive and passion that drove the studio to great heights seems diminished.

    Continue reading
    Sledgehammer Games2018-10-29
  10. Helpful (3)

    "Worst time to join - Run!"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    * You get to work on Call of Duty * The people that still work here are cool

    Cons

    * Everyone that knows how to make games quit * Non-Competitive Wages * Untrustworthy Leadership and HR * No direction toward future * No real studio management * No perks * Mass attrition * No real culture

    Sledgehammer Games2018-10-04
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