What a week!

I really rather hope never to go through another week like this again. But I’m still here. Everybody I know is still here. The world hasn’t exploded. Yet.

But in a week where not only is my employer is looking to restructure, the entire games industry clearly had the same thought. Bigger studios such as EA, Sony and 505 Games have all announced layoffs this week too. Last year saw around 10,000 made redundant from the video game industry and we’re already approaching around 7,000 this year so far and we’ve only made March. It’s absolute carnage.

Would I like to stay where I am? Yes, of course I would – and I will try to fight the good fight along with my colleagues to argue the point all of us are needed in the department. But at the same time I need to ensure that if things do not go the way I think they’re necessarily going to go (I’ve been through redundancy a few times already), I need to get a job lined up and ready to go.

Then we have the question: if I interview for a job and they like me, and I like them enough to leave SMG on my own accord – where does that leave my colleagues? Would they be safe because I’ve thrown in the towel voluntarily? What happens if one or more of my colleagues leave? I believe that could cause considerable damage to the company. Which is not my intent, since – as I mentioned in my post about first anniversary there – I work with some of the greatest people in this industry. I do not want to harm the company that has looked after me throughout the year, nor the people that remain there. But on the other hand, I have mortgage and many bills that need paying.

This is very complex situation – and as I’ve said, I’ve been through redundancies before. But not at this kind of scale or complexity.

But I am not panicking just yet. I have a couple of interviews lined up already and the CV is circulating nicely. At the moment, however, there are still unknown variables floating about. As Donald Rumsfeld once remarked:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones

Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

And finally, I leave you with a video that makes me grateful for whatever time I may have left working for the company. Needless to say, I cannot comment on ANY of the content.

Happy 1st work anniversary…

.. meeeeeeee!

Today marks my first full year working for Supermassive Games. I didn’t think I’d even get to this point because I’d applied for the same job in 2022 and wasn’t sure if my Windows skills were up to par. I tend to go through phases where I feel much more like a Linux sysadmin than anything else. Now, I’d describe myself more as a tech generalist than anything specific. I try to be platform agnostic, but I do have a soft spot for Linux and macOS! So, I declined to go further with the original interview. However, I re-applied in 2023 and surprised myself by getting the job.

The one thing this job has taught me is that continually getting out of one’s comfort zone is a good thing. My Windows skills (in particular) are constantly improving, and I’m currently deep-diving into Microsoft 365 for fun and… a quiet life at work when people ask me about SharePoint and Teams! Just kidding – or am I?! As for my health, things are much easier now that I have to go into the office every day, which is doing me a lot of good. I think working from home does have its benefits, but I stagnated during the pandemic – not leaving my house for long periods – which definitely affected my health. Plus, there are some seriously cool projects that I’m getting to work on.

Then we’ve had people like Ted Raimi, Hideo Kojima, and Nicolas Winding Refn visit our office, which speaks volumes about just how much this company is valued by gaming and film industry professionals. Occasionally, when I’ve mentioned to random people who I work for, they’ve told me how much they love our games. And when I’ve played our games (The Quarry in particular), I’m astonished at just how brilliant they are, and that – along with Death Stranding – narrative-focused games have become extraordinarily entertaining for me and are now among my favourite genres. There’s definitely something in this whole cinematic gaming malarkey, oh yes. Oh, and did you know that one of the games we’ve developed for Sony is being turned into a feature film?

I feel extraordinarily lucky to work with an amazing team – all of whom are extraordinarily talented and hugely knowledgeable about their field. And friendly too. It’s a company that really does care for its employees and their well-being. Very rare for the creative industries. It’s also the company that made me buy and love the PS5. I really do think it’s an amazing console.

But it still strikes me as amazing that when I was working in the VFX industry, I worked on a film based on a computer game (Tomb Raider 2 and the Cradle of Life – with the fictional Laura Croft living in Guildford of all places). Now it’s vice versa (working in Guildford on computer games). Madness. But I like it!