Big Viking Games Employee Reviews about "bvg"

Updated Sep 5, 2020

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Found 15 of over 64 reviews

2.3
44%
Recommend to a Friend
32%
Approve of CEO
Big Viking Games Founder and CEO Albert Lai
Albert Lai
37 Ratings
Pros
  • "There's catered lunch every day, RRSP matching, plenty of vacation time and there are never any qualms about needing to take sick time(in 8 reviews)

  • "BVG is great if you are looking for a job from scratch or starting your career(in 8 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "BVG is not a game company anymore(in 11 reviews)

  • "Upper management still seems out of touch with the rest of the company(in 7 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

    Reviews about "bvg"

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Great place to work, fun culture

      Feb 24, 2016 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Lots of independence on the projects I work on - Great team at BVG, hard working, very passionate - Lots of personal growth opportunities. Many people on my team have been there for over 3 years and continue to move up - Lots of time for mentorship and 1:1s with my manager - Growing very quickly - Good work environment, team often games over lunch hours - Breakfast, lunch and snacks provided

      Cons

      - Company has grown a lot and sometimes it's hard to know what the other divisions are doing, but they're getting better with more frequent "town halls"

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      4 people found this review helpful
    2. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      BVG is no longer a game company

      Sep 5, 2020 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      -Awesome people, some of the best I’ve ever worked with. -We used to have breakfast and lunch before covid. -Depending on department/team you wouldn’t be micromanaged or asked to work extra hours

      Cons

      -BVG is not a game company anymore. There are two games, they are 10 years old and Flash will die in 3 months. I don’t know if BVG will survive this. They have announced that they won’t be making any more new games. They plan to buy failing games (....) and link them up with outsourcing companies. So if you want to be a glorified carrier pigeon, this is the place for you! -Because they won’t be making games anymore, they fired a ton of people, including half of the art team. I assume the lay offs will continue and will take out the remaining creative roles (art, qa, and even dev). The only roles that will remain are administrative/HR + entry level “content people” (because they can’t outsource English-speaking stuff) -Middle management is as much in the dark as the rest of us. The higher ups will spring stuff up on them out of the blue. Example: they will hire a “super star” who will “fix everything”, and then this person will leave within two months, without anyone every knowing what happened to them. -They will hire and retain terrible people despite many employees voicing their issues. Recently, we had some amazing devs quit because of this terrible tech director who turned out to be a hack. He was eventually fired but by then we had already lost really good people. -The CEO is either someone who’s incredibly oblivious and naive, or just plain incompetent. Or both. He’s the type of person who will make a 20 minute speech and say absolutely nothing. Bit of an art form, that.

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      23 people found this review helpful
    3. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      They gotta build trust...but maybe it’s too late

      Sep 4, 2020 - Anonymous Employee in Toronto, ON
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      I worked at Big Viking Games full-time for more than 3 years Pros BVG is great if you are looking for a job from scratch or starting your career. Unfortunately, there are severe problems that will start to cost you after 1,5 years. Some of the Pros: - Stable Employment - Great Perks, Breakfast and Snacks - Remote work. - Hardly ever had to do overtime. - Amazing people and capable employees. - Some team Lead’s intentions are genuine and those are some of the best leaders I've ever worked with.

      Cons

      - Lack of trust. Upper management does not seem to be aligned with the staff. Tries to be transparent but act inconsistently with their word and treat employees as expendable resources. - Career advancements here are scarce, no mater what they say, which makes BVG a very competitive and toxic workplace. Upper management is always putting obstacles to not give raises and promotions and contradicting their word. You'll get nice compliments but only get decent monetary recognition if you threaten to leave. - Fast paced production pipeline and turn a blind eye to quality consistency (might be costly to mental health, depending on which position/team you are at) - Company at low maintenance mode for years and mostly interested on fast revenue return. - Culture used to be great at the beginning but then became toxic.

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      10 people found this review helpful
    4. 4.0
      Former Intern, more than 1 year

      Great opportunity for junior developers

      May 15, 2020 - Software Developer Co-Op in London, ON
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Amazing, friendly co-workers - Culture. While I'm not sure how it stacks against other game studios, I did get a sense of family and belonging at BVG that I did not get at my two co-op placements in government. Not only was everyone in the office nice, but I also found them interesting to talk to. It helps that video games are a common ground for most of the devs and artists. - Very talented co-workers to learn from. It was amazing to be a part of the Platform, Tools, and R & D team learning from some of the sharpest minds in the company, and being encouraged to learn new things and also to take the time to do things the right way rather than sacrifice quality to get things done quickly. - And of course the simple perks that go a long way to making the office a comfortable and inviting place to work. Catered lunches, as well as breakfast food, snacks, coffee/tea, and even a beer on a Friday afternoon really make the office feel like a second home. Allowing dogs in the office has a very similar effect and I think it helps bring people together.

      Cons

      I was only at BVG for a year and never had any problems, but listening to others who have been there longer, it seems it's not all sunshine and roses. Upper management did seem out of touch sometimes, and the lack of concrete plans for any new ambitious games meant there wasn't much to look forward to. The focus was understandably on keeping up with new content in existing games and also developing solutions to support them after Adobe Flash is removed from browsers. As a member of the tools team, this challenge on the horizon was exciting albeit a bit frightening. But many of the employees were either on a content treadmill for YoWorld/FishWorld or working on derivative mobile games.

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      Big Viking Games Response

      Human Resources Generalist

      Feedback is very important to us - thank you for taking the time to complete a review of BVG! We are also grateful for the people you mention with sharp minds, and those who make our culture welcoming. We're proud of the progress we have made on strategic priorities since May, which include improvements on areas you mention. Again, thanks for your feedback.

    5. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      A Depressing Place To Work

      Aug 31, 2020 - Software Engineer in Toronto, ON
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      If you ask any veteran what the best part of working at BVG is the inevitable answer is "the people". I would echo that. My peers tend toward the practical, the affable, the patient and the friendly. The balance of professional and passion has probably slid more toward the former in the past few years but that's not necessarily a bad thing. As with any company with a lot of churn, career advancement opportunities can present themselves if you can tough it out.

      Cons

      It's sort of a miserable place to work. There are three big problems: the management, the CEO and the technology. HR reps fall somewhere between being tone-deaf cheerleaders charged with celebrating failures and professional hatchet men given the Sisyphean task of covering for holes in the system. I think you can learn a lot about a company by the way it treats it's most vulnerable employees. The lowest people on the totem poll (temps, executive assistants, junior employees) are consistently mistreated. And I'm not talking about asking them to stay late to finish stuff. I'm talking about being told to use their own funds to cover work expenses when their financial situation is tenuous. Being fired right before holidays. Being strung along on fleeting contracts before being unceremonious let go because a cheaper option came along. The disparate levels of treatment and the lack of compassion exhibited when the other shoe drops is... extremely disheartening. The constant churn of updating process and creating personnel pipelines and HR initiatives do more to point out the unhappiness of the employees and the inefficiency of the administration than to address any real problems. Occasionally some new "superstar" is brought on to right the sinking ship but with predictable and typically short-lived results. It's unfair to lay all that blame at their feet though. The people that work directly for the CEO spend too much of their time trying to keep his wildly speculative ideas in check which leads to significant churn within the senior leadership, further impeding the company's ability to be consistent with their development and vision. Finding people to work closely with him requires that they have a modicum of competence but don't mind working directly for someone who doesn't. I imagine it to be a tough sell. The CEO, well, I think it's not uncommon at companies like this that the best work tends to happen when the CEO is distracted. Thankfully he tends to be frequently so. When he jumps into the fray it tends to be both awkward and frustrating. Which may have something to do with why this company hasn't shipped any new games in over two years. Promising prototypes are beholden to unrealistic expectations. Every little project has to either change the world or be labelled a failure and canned. Teams crunch to hit a deadline and then... nothing. There's no communication about the significance of that deadline. The senior managers pass the buck until it lands at the CEO's office door and he's always out raising money or pitching or working on side projects. Crunch is bad but it's worse when it didn't mean anything. The teams are so hungry for real work, though, that they'll keep doing it. Anything to not just be treading water for another year. All this may be a moot point when Flash finally gives up the ghost in 2 months. There is no real solution to let people keep playing the only games that still earn this company any money. This is one of those problems that might have been avoided if not left until the 11th hour. Now it's a mad dash to get something, anything in place before the money machine gets crushed beneath an obsolescence that has been coming for 7 years. Time will tell if any of the panicked solutions being thrown at the wall actually stick but it's wildly typical of the lack of foresight and follow-through. It's become a sort of dark meme that there is a Chrome-shaped clock attached to the gallows that this company has its head in.

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      7 people found this review helpful
    6. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Insecure About Job Security at Big Viking Games

      Jul 2, 2020 - Games Team Member in London, ON
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Comfortable Physical Work Environment, Good Location, Snacks & Beverages, Dogs!

      Cons

      Management's poor decision making and favoritism is unprofessional and results in a lot of resentment and very poor morale. Management avoids confrontation, doesn't take things serious, but overly casual and will tell you what you want to hear and always without any follow through. Lack of professionalism, no leadership and questionable behavior by CEO are major concerns. The future of BVG looks uncertain with no concrete plans for new games or new projects. There have been no exciting or new projects to work on or look forward to, just continued constant pressure to keep releasing new content in the two outdated (10 years plus) Flash dependent games that are the cash cows upon which BVG relies. Tensions continue to rise as the final deadline signaling the removal of Adobe Flash from all browsers quickly advances. Unrealistic expectations/demands to find/create a workable solution necessary to remedy the Flash problem from management that has no understanding of the complexity of such an undertaking has added chaos to an already frantic work environment. With the management/staffing and human resource issues combined with the significant technological issues required to solve the Flash situation, it is not unrealistic to have significant doubts or concerns about Big Viking Games future.

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      11 people found this review helpful

      Big Viking Games Response

      Human Resources Generalist

      Thank you for your feedback. We really do value each comment and discuss them at the leadership level. We have been working hard to share our plans and progress, including the items you list, regularly through internal communications (newsletters, semi-weekly video calls, and quarterly townhalls). We have several updates coming in the weeks ahead that will improve on employee career planning process and how we're improving day to day work experience, as we continue to navigate the virtual workplace since COVID began.

    7. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Great learning opportunity! Poor overall experience.

      May 10, 2020 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      BVG employs some of the hardest working, most creative, and helpful people I've ever met or had the pleasure of working with. A good chance to get your foot in the door and learn the ins-and-outs of game production, while making some great (and smart) connections along the way. Work-life balance is strong in my role.

      Cons

      Buckle up, folks! Your work as an individual will not get recognized, causing both career and personal growth to stagnate. This is especially true if you are working on the company's lesser-played product, or work in a non-development or non-production role. There is no path of growth/success given to employees. None. Nata. When asking management what can be done to grow in the company, you are only given vague responses and unclear goals. From some perspectives, it seems this is to ensure that promotions and raises are kept to a minimum. BUT DON'T WORRY! If you want a raise, all you need to do is threaten to quit! It seems as though BVG does not appreciate their employees until they threaten to leave or have another job offer on the table, at which point they are happy to remember past promises made and finally show an appreciation in the work you provide. Don't expect to get a promotion without threatening to leave first. Note to management: This is especially hurtful for those employees who (rightly) may not have the emotional strength to stand up for themselves but still wish to continue to support the company. It rewards toxic attitudes and a desire to move on. Great job! Management does not know how to deal with internal team conflicts or issues. Problem employees are left to their devices for years on end until the right manager comes along to take some brief action before moving on to another task asked of them by the senior leadership team. We pride ourselves in being a "World Leader in LiveOps" but our Live Operation teams are the least supported in the company. The Art, Development, and Product teams have strong management and team structure, where the LiveOps (including customer support and community) team is is lacking entirely. We are perhaps only a "world leader" in mid-level employees responding to mistakes caused by an over-worked and under-supported LiveOps team. Due to the above, this is not a great place to want to stay and grow your career. It IS a great learning opportunity, especially to see how poor management and lack of growth structure can mar an otherwise productive and creative team of people.

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      17 people found this review helpful

      Big Viking Games Response

      Human Resources Generalist

      Thank you for taking the time to write this review - feedback is critically important to us. The issues you've raised here are concerning to us, in particular the view that some of our teams are less valued or supported than others. We would value the opportunity to hear more about these issues, as well as any ideas you have for how we could do better. Our People and Culture team is working hard on implementing a new job matrix and core competencies, which will help with career path conversations and growth planning as well as a more solidified performance review cycle. We are actively working on improving other topics you mention, and would welcome your input to these. We encourage you to reach out to HR, a member of the Leadership team, or the anonymous dropbox to tell us more.

    8. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      One of the greatest places to work! (in 2015..)

      Jul 31, 2019 - Production Staff in London, ON
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - A lot of passionate people at Big Viking, not as many as there used to be, but there still remains a healthy amount of talented and passionate workers keeping our top performing games together. - Decent perks. Not necessarily competitive, but respectable for the industry. Catered lunch is nice, although budgets keep getting trimmed and quality has dipped.

      Cons

      - Huge disconnects between employees and management, and especially employees and the CEO. - Favoritism is a very serious issue here and always has been. Someone with 3 years working hard in their role will be overlooked by the new hire simply because the new management team hired the new hire and may not have hired the senior. Very common practice at BVG as of late. The longer you're here, the harder it is to get any recognition. - Most managers favor "yes men" rather than the hard working employees that get their work done. The biggest slackers may be getting the biggest raises or the best promotions, simply because they can focus on overselling themselves in closed door meetings with managers/etc. Often times leaving the teams perplexed as to why some of the worst performers are getting recognition. - Managers in Toronto, workers in London. Often times one vocal worker will have more face time with their manager and that one vocal worker will shape what happens on a team, etc despite them not being the most logical or valuable voice. Just the loudest, or the only one that gets a chance to voice their feedback. - CEOs vision does not align with the vision of his VPs, Directors, etc. He will say one thing in a "town hall" but in reality things are much different, he has just surrounded himself with a senior management team that refuses to admit any wrongdoing and loves to shove blame to the older game teams.

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      20 people found this review helpful

      Big Viking Games Response

      Human Resources Generalist

      Thank you for your feedback. We take your concerns seriously and have shared them with leadership. We have been working hard to improve transparency and communication across the company to ensure Vikings know where we are headed, how their work contributes to that vision and that they have a solid trajectory within the company. Thanks again for taking the time to leave a review, and we wish you the best in your future endeavours!

    9. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      SAVE Yourself and Work Elsewhere .... Anywhere.

      Oct 10, 2018 - Anonymous Employee in London, ON
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      I worked at BVG for 3 years, with some of the best people I've ever worked with. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I'll echo most of the pros in other reviews - great coworkers, dogs, snacks, etc. Unfortunately for the good people that work there, the cons by FAR outweigh the pros at BVG. "Free" lunch, dogs and wearing hoodies to work doesn't make up for the fact that the absolutely preposterous CEO is a nightmare to work for, the games are dying with nothing new on the horizon, and the overall morale is about as low as it can go. The exception to that of course is the inevitable few people with their heads blissfully in the sand .... hence some of the 'glowing' reviews below, no doubt nudged by Marketing or HR to write something positive.

      Cons

      - An absolutely deplorable, reckless and just plain godawful CEO that should never be in a position where other people rely on him for their livelihood. There is just no way to accurately convey Just. How. Horrible. he is to work for, it must truly be seen to be believed. - Management ... not great, so don't expect to learn how to be a good leader, or to be mentored. It's next to impossible to sucker in strong, knowledgeable industry senior talent to a company with a reputation as bad as BVG's. - No security - if you have a family, are thinking of buying a house, or a car, or have any major life goals .... don't work at BVG. There will never be any new games, and the two that are currently the ONLY revenue generators are old, built with dying technology and are on life support. If you're a developer, it's a career killer. - Working at BVG will likely over time make you feel hopeless, indifferent, or angry. This is not an exaggeration. - Your career will not benefit from working at BVG. It doesn't make you better to be there. What it does do very well is make you truly appreciate your NEXT job. Silver lining? Trust your gut. Don't work here, unless it's part of some sort of masochistic social experiment, or if you're in a position where you can quit at a moment's notice because you will likely want to every day.

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      36 people found this review helpful
    10. 1.0
      Former Employee

      The worst place to work... ever

      Nov 20, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The people there are great, I enjoyed working with the vast majority of my co-workers.

      Cons

      It has all been said before: - There is no work/life balance working here, I worked many, many unpaid hours and I never had a day off while I was there - Albert should not be a CEO. He is very difficult to work with - I would describe the culture at BVG as poisoned - There is virtually no recognition of a job well-done

      27 people found this review helpful

      Big Viking Games Response

      Human Resources Generalist

      Hello, thank you for taking the time to leave feedback. We are working hard on a number of initiatives to address concerns in your review, especially around employee recognition/growth. We're sorry to hear you felt there was no work/life balance during your time at BVG. As a company we have purposefully never had crunch time as many others in the industry do, and we have a generous vacation policy. We encourage Vikings to take much needed time off to refresh and spend time with family and friends. Thanks again for your feedback!

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