I have been working at Vicarious Visions full-time
A very strong culture. Great IP to work on. Lots of opportunity for personal development.
The Albany area won't appeal to everyone.
Advice to Management
Stay focused on continuing to develop a strong talent base. Stay true to your passions.
I worked at Vicarious Visions full-time (More than 5 years)
VV has a relaxed vibe with flexible hours and easy-going personalities. As an artist, I was able to work with management/leads to develop the skills that I wanted to. I was able to try my hand at many aspects of game art and didn't feel slotted into just one thing. Communication between disciplines was never an issue for me. Generally, other employees were all to happy to help or even teach/explain what they knew. VV also does their best to maintain their workers even after shipping titles whereas many other studios might be looking to downsize. Compensation at VV was pretty good, especially considering the cost of living in Albany.
Albany is a smaller city and if you aren't used to the climate in the north-east it might be a shock. There is a bit of separation between upper-management and content creators. Most of the games made at VV are part of an existing franchise and the work does have to support that franchise.
Advice to Management
Start an original IP!
Vicarious is a studio that has collected and grown some of the best talent I've ever seen in the industry. They foster a very relaxed atmosphere, while still encouraging us to push, and SUPPORT each other to become the best we can be. Our projects are actually rather special in that we get to work on unique branches of game titles (i.e. we don't do space marines and shooters). This allows us to spread our wings a bit and foster some experimentation in our work!
Our benefits package is great, as well as an extremely reasonable time off policy. The only occasion where time-off would be denied would be during crunch time. Speaking of crunch, the studio seems to do all it can to avoid crunch time...understanding that we get our best work from people when they are at their highest levels of energy (not when they're worked to death). Of course, crunch DOES happen...but it's made to be as painless as possible.
Another benefit, from a developer standpoint, is our tools. The company really takes great pride in our internal tools, taking the pain out of game development so our creative people can focus on what they do best...CREATING!
Finally, the people are great here. I've never worked in a studio that has such a LACK of ego and inter-competition. Everyone seems to have the same goal....getting better to create better games.
Salary may be lower here than at other studios. It is, however, somewhat less expensive to live in upstate New York vs someplace like southern California...so it balances out. But the pay could use a little boost.
Advice to Management
Trust in the talents of the team. Keep fostering creativity, training, and tool development. Maintain confidence in your culture, your people, and your projects.
Excellent stability here. Executive staff always busy finding the next opportunity, which leads to unusual stability for the games industry.
Invests in training and growth of employees
Incredible tools and tech. Cutting edge rendering technology. Extremely supportive engineering and tools staff.
Great place to have a family and be in the games industry.
proximity to NYC and Boston without the cost.
Advancement, while definitely available, is a bit of a confusing process at times.
Area might not appeal to everyone.
Pay is only ok for the industry, however, it's not bad for the area.
Advice to Management
Clearer incentive programs would be nice.
This place is wonderful! The studio cares about it's employees and their families. The people who work here have great senses of humor and work ethic. We're all crazy together, but know how to get the job done. I've never felt more at home in work environment.
Sure every company has their things that can be improved upon. I think we could work a little bit more on our scheduling and management of scope, but otherwise the place is amazing.
I worked at Vicarious Visions full-time (More than 8 years)
Engineering Dept was well run and focused on improving the work of the content teams, not just making 'the next cool piece of code.'
Training is encouraged, and family is a focus. Most people leave at 6pm every day, when not crunching. Hours are a bit flexible (you can leave as early as 5, and come in as late as 10). Taking time off (I once took 4 weeks off) wasn't really a problem for them, so long as it was coordinated.
Seems like there's always 'something cooking' in addition to the 'big project,' which is nice if you get burnt out on it.
A little more 'corporate' compared to other game companies. Winter parties are held at clubs around Saratoga with a Jazz band, for example. You wouldn't see a company sponsored trip to Las Vegas for shipping a game, for example.
Sometimes, getting opportunities to grow (i.e., leading a big 6 month endeavor) are hard to come by, if the project's don't need them.
A stable studio - been around for many years
Good working environment
Good studio culture
Opportunity for career progression
Opportunity to develop new skills
Encourages creativity beyond the core products
Very family friendly with excellent core values
Good work/balance although there can be some crunch periods
Located in capital region upstate NY which is excellent place for people with a family
Are always extremely helpful and supportive
Good remuneration and benefits
Location of the actual studio has limited amentities
Albany is a small city with limited nightlife for those people
There can be some crunch periods
I have been working at Vicarious Visions full-time (More than 5 years)
I currently work for VV and I can honestly say that it's awesome! VV spends a great deal of time and effort into maintaining the studio culture. They are very accommodating of employee needs both inside and outside of the studio. They also go above and beyond with free perks such as happy hours, yoga classes, meals and snacks, and swag - especially when a project is in full swing.
Not only is the culture top notch, their games are fun and innovative. VV encourages its developers to work on things that interest us. Because almost everyone works on things they enjoy, it really shows in the quality of work and craftsmanship.
The studio is owned by Activision and working with ATVI can be challenging at times. It's also worth noting, however, that many, many other studios have this same dilemma.
Also, VV is located in Albany, NY. While the area is actually really nice, the winter months are really cold.
Advice to Management
It'd be nice to have fewer meetings.
It'd also be great to invest more in equipment and hardware like 24" monitors, battery backups, stand up desks, etc ...
Lastly, we shouldn't ever run out of coffee. We need a more robust coffee station/system like you see at nice hotels.
I have been working at Vicarious Visions (More than 5 years)
We are always striving to remain in AAA IPs which still exploring unique ideas
It's a company that supports local colleges, community involvement, and sharing local culture
Benefits packages are good and promote healthy living with fun competition
There is a strong mentoring program here that helps us all develop as individuals and leaders
Fun work environment with lifetime relationships
Culturally open to a wide variety of individuals
Everyone can be involved in internal tools development which helps us all grow our quality of product
Heavy creative involvement from the exec team can pose both positive and a negative at times.
Need for healthier options for food catering and breakfast bar
I have been working at Vicarious Visions full-time (More than 10 years)
Fun environment to work in. Fellow developers care about each other.
Suspect game industry pays less than other comparable engineering opportunities.
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