Xaviant Reviews | Glassdoor

Xaviant Reviews

Updated January 31, 2019
12 reviews

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3.5
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Michael McMain
10 Ratings

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  1. "Enjoyed my time at Xaviant very much!"

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

    I worked at Xaviant (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great environment to work. Very large and comfortable office. Nice location north of Atlanta away from the busyness and craziness of downtown. Very competitive salary and set of benefits. Exciting projects with tons of challenges thrown at you constantly. Given lots of space to grow and contribute.

    Cons

    The northern location in Cumming may seem a little too far for those that want to be closer to downtown Atlanta, as you almost always need to use GA 400, which seems jammed packed all the time, even if driving in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic.

    Advice to Management

    Provide a bit more oversight and guidance for employees, especially new ones, for their projects and responsibilities. Otherwise, I think you do a great job.


  2. "It was okay company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - 3D Designer in Cumming, GA
    Former Employee - 3D Designer in Cumming, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Xaviant full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great environment to work. Very large and comfortable office.

    Cons

    Your Mileage May Vary So Be careful

    Advice to Management

    Provide a bit more oversight and guidance for employees.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "High school all over again"

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

    I worked at Xaviant full-time

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits, up to date hardware and software, extra training

    Cons

    The studio is run like an ADD child let loose at school. 8 years of development, 2 engine switches and countless designers fired, it's amazing that we were able to ship Lichdom.

    Oh and not to forget the "boys club" operation of the studio. If you are a brown noser or back stabber then you'll do well. But keep in mind what your back


  4. Helpful (19)

    "Caution: Your Mileage May Vary"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Was In A Leadership Function in Cumming, GA
    Former Employee - Was In A Leadership Function in Cumming, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Xaviant full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Xaviant is privately funded which is advantageous. It affords more creative freedom during development. When things are going well they tend take care of their people. Especially those they are closet with.

    Work/Life balance is pretty forgiving here. Everyone leaves at six o'clock, no exceptions.

    For newcomers to the industry, it's a great place to grow and learn. Lots of freedom to experiment, to make mistakes and there's enough industry acumen at the place that you could learn an awful lot as you plan your long-term career track.

    Xaviant is very strong in engineering and production. They have pipelines that allows the team to iterate quickly and effectively. Bar none, these are the strongest assets at the company.

    Cons

    I was part of the second round of mass layoffs at Xaviant. I wanted to wait a few weeks before writing this review as surely leaders at Xaviant will try to brush it off as "understandably emotional reaction to a terrible situation all around, not representative of the day-to-day here." So here's my account of the company free from emotion and after many iterations and a great deal of thought and reflection.

    On the day to day, Michael (The CEO and Creative Director at the studio) is rarely to be seen. He's about as absentee a leader as you could imagine. He's also the CEO of other ventures which keeps him away from the office the majority (greater than 50 per cent) of the work week. And when he's there, he takes what represents many days and sometimes weeks of his staff's work and judges it on a whim, and sometimes fundamentally changes the entire feature without being privy to the days and weeks of iteration the team had put into getting the feature to that point. This armchair leadership is directly responsible for a great deal of the scope creep and schizophrenic design principals that result.

    Michael fancies himself just about every role. He's been directing the design for over a year, for example, despite that being someone else's job. Michael's autocratic management style wouldn't be so bad if he were around for an amount of time proportional to that type of leadership. When you get down to it, he's actually a half decent game designer despite his lack of industry experience. He's a smart and perceptive gamer, which makes him a creative asset when he's contributing. But given how little he's present, his "I spend my money the way I want" attitude is hurting the company.

    Other directors tend to struggle with communication among the team. The autocratic management style can clearly be seen trickling down from the top. It's a common pain point communicated anonymously from all parts of the lower organization. Big decisions are made over lunch, dinner, and at the gun range as opposed to in conference rooms with consulted and informed team leads. Executive leadership appeared to hear this feedback, and mitigated the problem with a leadership and communication summit for all the directors. But I can't say a lot has changed aside from some minor incremental improvements, and a bunch of inside jokes forming within the directors group themselves.Though now that the team is much smaller, this will probably be less of an issue.

    There's a fair bit of nepotism at play at Xaviant. More than 4 instances of "protected status" have been half-joked about in my time at the company. This ranges from stepchildren to nephews to good buddies. To say nothing of the "inner circle" of a dozen or so guys who have been prowling around the Atlanta-based software development community for the better part of two decades. You'd be wise to join this inner circle as quickly as possible at Xaviant. Granted, some semblance of this has existed at most of the large AAA game studios, so it's not that atypical. Just worth noting, this company isn't above it or immune to the cultural problems that are associated with cronyism.

    It's worth noting how the layoffs were handled, as I think it is representative of a level of professionalism and grace (or lack thereof) that impacts a great deal of Xaviant's core business. With how frequent layoffs are in the games business, it's shocking to find anybody could handle them so insensitively. It speaks to how disconnected Xaviant's executive team is from the real industry.

    During the most recent round of layoffs, where they laid off just about everyone but the lifers, they literally threw a pizza party for everyone they were letting go. I kid you not, they brought in pizza as some petty offer of condolence as most of the floor packed up their desks. Sorry fellas, nobody had an appetite that day. They also announced over the PA the names of "the survivors" much like the reaping. They read off a dozen names and asked them to proceed to the conference room to quote "discuss the future of the company." Followed by "anybody who wasn't called just sit tight." Which sounded an awful lot like "the rest of you are crap out of luck!" One by one we were taken into rooms and offered severance packages. At least there was that.

    But I tell you, that's the very least. No more than the very least was offered. My recommendation to every prospective candidate is to negotiate a contract with a strong exit provision in the event you find yourself expendable. This was not the first round of mass layoffs for the company, and unless there are key leadership changes it won't likely be the last.

    Geographically, Atlanta is a very small games market. Be prepared to relocate again if taking a chance on Xaviant. Because should it not work out, it is unlikely you'll find gainful employment within the severance period you are offered.

    Advice to Management

    "Stick to the casino business" - I read that in another disgruntled review. It's a little harsh and reactionary, but it drives at a key point. You're in over your head in the AAA games business. I realize you're trying to be more true-indie with these latest layoffs, which is probably an apt decision all things considered. That, or hire people who actually understand the business, and seek out their advice with big decisions like these. I feel like you hired a few such people, but don't get the impression they were consulted in this decision with very much lead time to influence the outcome. Knowing what I know about the factors that influenced this decision, and the pending business opportunities on the horizon, this was a bizarre move to make even had your funding been drying up (which it wasn't). There were other options as opposed to going nuclear that were certainly worth exploring. What about selling the company? Selling the IP? Licensing IP to develop? We were a fully functioning, fully staffed development studio. That has to have value in the industry that management never explored before lopping off the majority of that talent, which they spent over seven years and I don't know how many tens of millions of dollars assembling.

    Michael's obsession with his appearance at the cost of the company is also not helping. Spending $X Million on CG trailers for a PC only first game was not necessary, and was strictly vanity rearing its ugly head. Spending $X00,000's of dollars on massive trade show booth experiences was also not necessary. If it wasn't so important for Michael to be perceived as some successful games industry person, maybe he'd actually be one by now. Had instead that money been re-invested in people or product, maybe we'd all still be employed right now.

    You hired advisers who I'm sure were telling you these things, but you always vetoed them. Stop vetoing them, and take a dose of humility is my advice to you. I bet "how humbling of an experience this has been" will be a part of your new pitch to prospective talent as you try to rebuild some version of the studio. Actually make it mean something if you want a different outcome this time around.

    To Xaviant's executive peers, stand up to Michael more. You have some strong fiscal ideas and business intuition. Yet somehow you tolerate Michael's excessive spending at the expense of other operational or fiscal investments you know would have positioned the studio more strongly in the marketplace. That, or just keep quiet and keep collecting your casino riches.


  5. Helpful (11)

    "Worst place I've ever worked"

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

    I worked at Xaviant full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Besides the paycheck, nothing. This place is filled with wolves. Management does not respect the contributions of their employees. Employees live in fear because of a lack of transparency from upper management. Blame is always deferred away from management. When suggestions fall on deaf ears, and then those suggestions become criticisms in media reviews, guess who falls on the sword? Certainly not the powers-that-be. Management once fired half of their animation department on the day of a team building exercise. Talk about an awkward day of whirly-ball!

    Cons

    There are so many I don't know where to begin. Awful work culture, awful management,lack of transparency, nepotism, poor communication between departments. Xaviant has the worst office culture of any studio I have been employed with.

    Advice to Management

    Stick to the casino gambling business.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Favorite games industry employer."

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

    I have been working at Xaviant full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I've worked at several large game studios and so far Xaviant has been my favorite. This is a group of people that care about the quality of their work, and that really want to make a great game.

    Cons

    This isn't a problem for me as I live very close to the office, but commuting from downtown would be rough. If you want to work here don't live downtown! The area near the office consists of several growing Atlanta suburbs with top rated school systems.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to empower your employees and we will continue to make awesome games!


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Most cohesive game company I have worked at!"

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

    I have been working at Xaviant full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    *Executive management actually cares about the product and the day to day concerns of the staff.
    *Get to work with a stellar team of industry veterans that enjoy working with each other.
    *Great pay in a low cost of living area with high ranking schools.

    Cons

    *We do a couple of social events throughout the year, but more would be better. It would be nice to get to know the devs on the other side of the office.

    Xaviant Response

    Jul 21, 2014 – HR Director

    Thanks for your review! We're glad you're loving it here and we appreciate the advice. We are currently organizing some Summer and Fall social events. Feel free to email Scarlet in HR or Jamie with... More

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Committed to Excellence"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Xaviant full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Xaviant is a really amazing place to work!
    - A healthy approach to game development: Organized, equipped with the tools needed for the job, committed to employee quality of life (no mandatory team crunches)
    - A mix of games industry veterans and folks with experience in other fields of software development has led to the strongest adherence to best practices I've ever seen and a truly great team to work with
    - A fun but professional atmosphere and a very nice office
    - Self-funded means we're not beholden to the whims of publishers or licensors
    - Company founders are a couple of really great guys who care immensely about the studio and its employees
    - Good pay and benefits

    Cons

    I can't think of anything harsh to say. Like any new studio, Xaviant has experienced some growing pains, but it has emerged from that process and is poised to ship its first title, which promises to be excellent. The Atlanta game development community is relatively small, which may worry some people considering a move to the area. Don't let that deter you, it's worth it!


  9. Helpful (1)

    "The best game developer experience I have ever had."

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

    I have been working at Xaviant full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Competitive Salary, Great Atmosphere, Independent Developer.

    Cons

    Location is in a very suburban area. Great schools and low taxes but attracting new talent can sometimes be a challenge.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Every game studio should be like this one."

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

    I have been working at Xaviant full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Xaviant is hands down, the best company I've ever worked for. I work with some of the most talented, passionate, and creative individuals in the industry. Not only do I get to work on cutting edge technology making amazing games, the people here are top-notch, good people. Truly family. Every day I feel lucky to work here.

    Cons

    It's located about 45 minutes north of Atlanta, which can mean long commute times if you live far away!