Vicarious Visions Reviews | Glassdoor

Vicarious Visions Reviews

Updated May 28, 2017
43 reviews

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43 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "A Relaxed Environment with Room for Personal Growth."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Environment Artist in Albany, NY
    Former Employee - Environment Artist in Albany, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Vicarious Visions full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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!


  2. Helpful (6)

    "Like being kicked to death by small children"

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

    I worked at Vicarious Visions full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good place to work if you plan to move on in a year or two - or if you're just starting out and enjoy an overbearing gestapo-esque work environment.

    Cons

    The name says it all. If you just want to work on other companies' games, creations and visions and put out games with little or no creative input - then this is the place for you. Vicarious Visions is run in a highly hierarchical fashion - with the people at the top knowing little to nothing about what is happening. Interaction between disciplines and even the attempt to expand tool-sets and techniques is sicouraged.

    Advice to Management

    Management is a joke here. It's basically a close group of buddies protecting their positions - the result is: well, Vicarious Visions. A company that makes other people's games poorly. My advice to management? Quit. Go find jobs in advertising.

  3. "Great Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Vicarious Visions full-time

    Pros

    A very strong culture. Great IP to work on. Lots of opportunity for personal development.

    Cons

    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.


  4. "Lots of room to grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Albany, NY
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Albany, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vicarious Visions full-time

    Pros

    Lots of flexibility in terms of what you'll be able to work on. Both in terms of projects and platforms.

    Cons

    Decision making is done exclusively. Project organization is very hierarchical.


  5. Helpful (8)

    "A company that believes in their management, not their content creators"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    A beautiful facility
    A management team that is attempting to calm people's nerves with many outings and parties
    A (currently) steady slate of titles to work on
    A current push among the rank and file to bring improvements from the bottom up
    Like most game companies, VV is filled with fun and interesting people

    Cons

    A bloated management group including multiple executive producers, producers, assistant producers, game directors, leads and multiple seniors that 'manage' others instead of producing content. This group of managers attempt to manage down with little understanding of the issues and almost all of them believe they're qualified to be the Lead Designer and attempt to push their ideas rather than support the team.

    A culture of cronyism; you had better be good friends with the producers and seniors that matter or you'll be relegated to grunt work and the management group will (like a hall-of-mirrors) re-enforce their own negative ideas about you quickly. It doesn't really matter if their ideas are reality; few people at that level actively seek information and understanding. This can take years to reverse, if it can be at all.

    A sense of entitlement is prevalent at the company. With no other major local game studios in the area the employees are free to get 'big heads' and compare themselves with the top companies in the industry. This isn't even remotely true. VV has yet to put out a project that differentiates it from the pack. This is partially to do with it's slate of sequels, ports, expansions and partially to do with it's management rewarding on-time-delivery far more than stand out products.

    VV still has the mentality that getting the project out the door is success enough. They're going to have a hard time breaking out of this mentality with the current management/lead designers. The hurdle that continues to provide a stumbling block on every VV project is the inability to design games with in scope with time to polish their content. The company has set a goal for itself to be influential and push the envelope; at the moment I've seen nothing to indicate an actual move in that direction.

    Advice to Management

    People don't leave companies, they leave bad management.


  6. "Better than most"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The Bala brothers who run this place know what they are doing
    Cool, fancy, studio
    Good relationship with nintendo
    Uppermanagment still trys to keep the studio feeling like it considers its employees family.
    Driving distance to New York City, and Boston.

    Cons

    Management other than the Bala's and executive producers are grossly miscast.
    Some senior level developers have bloated sense of purpose and ability and even worse people skills. Unfortunately these are the people that are also lessened to by senior management the most.
    If you tow the line at VV you will likely enjoy your stay, if you don't .... well it will be a short stay anyway.
    Albany really sucks in most every way imaginable.
    Cost of living it to high for what you get in the area.
    Snow

    Advice to Management

    Management isn't that large of an issue. Sure there are some miscast individuals but they mean well and want to do a good job. I think your best route for improvement is to remove, or at least counter some of entrenched senior development personal that are still there. Talk with some mid-level long term employees and even the senior groups on a 1 on 1 basis and ask them what is the biggest issue that they are concerned with in the studio. Something tells me you are going to see a common thread.
    I wish you guys all the best, hopefully i have written a fair review. I would be willing to return to your studio someday, but not until there is an equilibrium.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Mostly Good Work Life Balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY

    Pros

    Good work life balance. Interesting set of projects most of the time.

    Cons

    Middle Management is blotted, needs some sort of bottom up evaluation of employees to executives, in house technology is holding them back. Some politics. Not as open and transparent of an environment as it used to be.

    Advice to Management

    Vicarious is a good place for starting out, but they tend to panic on 'bigger' projects, and forget what made them great. It is not that they can't handle big projects it is just the company gets self-conscious about them. Upper management also needs to listen to the employees from the bottom up, even the stuff that might be difficult to hear. Many of the recent problems could have been avoided if the Management had listened to the teams about the projects

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Good as a first job in the industry, but get out before your feelings get crushed or the studio falls apart."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, NY
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - fun, young people
    - games with a lot of potential

    Cons

    - you are unappreciated and never recognized nor rewarded for doing a good job
    - middle managment is more into themselves and trying to climb hire in the ladder
    - mediocrity seems to be accepted at VV, unfortunately
    - good ideas from team members are usually shut down for no apparent reason or picked up by a lead that will claim them as their own
    - pay and pay raises are too low
    - Albany is not a fun place to live
    - Studio is dark (you're working under neon lights all day) and constantly shaking (poor building structure)

    Advice to Management

    Middle management needs to be shrinked and trained to treat others as human beings and needs to stop lying to people when there are problems.


  9. "Worked my ass off, got great reviews and bonuses for 3 yrs. TODAY, was axed along with 50% of staff/ Guitar Hero is dead"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Albany, NY
    Current Employee - Engineer in Albany, NY
    Recommends

    Pros

    grreat as long as Activision is making big . The little guy is dead here!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Cons

    Don't expect loyalty from this employer


  10. Helpful (5)

    "My advice to anyone interested in vicarious, learn as much as you can, don't plant roots."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Art in Albany, NY
    Former Employee - Art in Albany, NY
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    *Hand Held leadership in game development
    *Good place to learn if you're new to the industry
    *Strong and talented production teams
    *Honest and extremely likeable upper management; executives are friendly and approachable
    *Decent bonus plan when the company does ship titles.

    Cons

    *Albany
    *With the Atcivision buyout the atmosphere is becoming more corporate
    *Middle Management does not respect the experience of it's team members
    *Performance reviews can often times come across as negative and insulting as opposed to being constructive.
    *Middle management avoids taking responsibility by scapegoating lower level employees
    *Leads and producers often base performance scores on what they percieve on the surface instead of following up and getting the proper information on what an employee contributes to a team
    *Large and talented enigneering staff but poor tools quality across multiple teams resulting in a large number of broken tools
    *Through out the company their is a senes of elitism despite always playing catchup in the industry
    *Two major issues that lower morale:Middle management/Leads often focus on the negative while neglecting to offer praise or incentives for good work; Advancement which was once based on skill, hardwork and overall knowledge, now feels more like a popularity contest
    *Guitar Hero is in a state of decline in popularity, for ATVI's sake I hope the next iteration does better than the last few have.
    *It seems that those who can talk a good game advance faster than those who do the actual work.
    *Senior title means very little as some people seem to be able to attain it while never having completed the requirements for doing so.

    Advice to Management

    Vicarious has had it's ups and downs. There are a lot of good talented people across all the discplines. Upper management does an excellent job planning the company's future. Middle management seems to be where the bulk of the issue are, too much kissing up and not enough honesty. I would cut down on the number of producers and associate producers, I would also start to value the opinions of those working in production, your leads tend to be single minded and care for nothing but career advancment.


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