On 16 Feb, 2011 we had the opportunity to visit Gazillion Entertainment’s studio located in San Mateo. Being a studio solely dedicated to creating MMOs and backed by some big names, we were curious to see what they were all about. Our interaction between them not only informed us about their studio but also some important pointers on the industry itself.
After being greeted by Brandon from their recruiting team we finished our NDA formalities and were taken to a spacious conference room. I was already impressed by the openness of the space and this even translates to their attitude. After finding our seats we were given an introduction to the company and the products Gazillion is creating and has released. Bo Daly, a CMU ETC alumni, took a short question and answer session about what he does and how that ties into what the studio does. It was clear that Gazillion wanted to take MMOs to new audiences and were not just trying to get a slice of the existing pie.
After our interaction with Bo, we met Jeff, the studio director of Secret Identity. We had an interactive session with him about his career in the industry. He provided insight about what it was like working for a big company as compared to a smaller startup. He also indicated that Gazillion was unique in that it incorporated the complete chain from production, publishing and marketing. Yet the attitude through the studio was that of a startup. Jeff spoke highly of CMU ETC and that his association with students from this institute runs back many years. He informed us about the internship opportunities available over the summer and what they were looking for in their candidates. He then gave the floor to our next speaker.
Robert Gutschera was the third speaker for the day. He was a Lead Designer at Gazillion. He talked about his career and the how he got where he is today. His journey from board games to the digital format was really interesting. Through his anecdote he explained about how a good game that failed still helped create good reputations within the industry. He also explained his perspective on what he looks for in designers and how one should tackle interview questions regarding soft skills.
We then had the opportunity to walk around the studio and it was really spacious. We also helped ourselves to food and drink, they had a vending machine that required no money! All indications are that this would be an awesome place to work. Thanks to Brandon and all at Gazillion for a wonderful visit.