Hothead Games Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Hothead Games Reviews

Updated 18 April, 2018
32 reviews

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3.2
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Ian Wilkinson
23 Ratings

32 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Hot head is a great company, they have a solid community, and have a great work life balance."

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

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

    Pros

    It's always the people, at any job. Hothead is no different. They have successful games, so it's rather stable. They push for health, and well being. After work activities, all that good stuff.

    Cons

    Like a lot of mobile companies, they've got some growing pains. Theyre structure is one part hierarchy, 1 part flat hierarchy, which I've never seen work well.

    Advice to Management

    My only real crit, would be to push for unity among the broader company.


  2. "A bit too hotheaded"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - 3D Artist in Vancouver, BC
    Former Employee - 3D Artist in Vancouver, BC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    + Incredible co-workers

    + Enormous amount of creative freedom

    + Office Manager makes everyone incredibly comfortable and motivated with fitness classes, yoga classes, delicious fruits and beer Fridays!

    + Lunch and Learn Thursdays, you get to have a free lunch while learning what's happening in the company with all the different teams. This is quite important because it's easy to become isolated working on the project, and when there are multiple projects happening in the studio with around 150 employees working on this it can really motivate you.

    + A nearly fully equipped gym downstairs

    Cons

    - A focus on monetization. This is understandable to a certain point, but it's my feeling that Hothead has let it get the better of them.

    - Human Resources.

    Advice to Management

    I'd prefer to keep that private. I loved my time at Hothead Games, I wish it could have ended differently. It will be hard to find another employer with so many talented and awesome individuals to work with.

  3. "Not what I hoped this would be"

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

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

    Pros

    Great people to work with. Very talented and passionate. There is free food, which helps a lot. The office is in a nice location right by the waters.

    Cons

    No transparency and a revolving door practice. People are fired constantly. There should be some more transparency all around. Also, the hours can be long.

    Advice to Management

    Try a little harder to be honest about the company and the plans.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Programmer"

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

    I worked at Hothead Games full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Co-workers were friendly, helpful and inspiring.
    One free lunch every week.

    Cons

    Very low job security.
    Layoff seems to be a very easy decision for the management.
    No warning or notice period, release letter on the table with little explanation.

    Advice to Management

    It does not look like a company on which you can bet your long-term career.
    For everybody else, if you happen to have a mortgage in Vancouver, go get a mortgage insurance while you still can.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Incredible Incompetence"

    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 Hothead Games full-time

    Pros

    -Free lunch sometimes
    -Nice office space (but crap furniture)

    Cons

    -Incompetent management
    -Disingenuous transparency. They'll claim to be transparent with you but routinely hide information
    -Questionable financial future. For the first time in ~7 years, no bonuses were paid. This year has apparently already been 'marked' as a loss and so no bonuses. Ownership of company was transferred to a shell company and all employees forced to sign or told to not come back
    -Major layoffs recently
    -There is no concept of collaboration. People will steal credit for your work and be praised for it. Other teams will throw things over the fence and go out of their way to screw you over to make up for missing deadlines
    -Terrible corporate policies and an HR department that hasn't learned what empathy is
    -Management makes decisions at a glacial speed. If you ask for something, you will wait 6+ months for it
    -You will be risking your job if you attempt to question a managers decision. Virtually everyone that has stood up to a manager with a valid concern has been let go. Keep your head down and shut up
    -There is no work life balance. You'll be expected to work long hours, for free, but at least they'll order you dinner
    -There is no career growth potential. Your job is your job. The people who are in senior positions have been here 5+ years and aren't going anywhere. You'll never be brought into that circle and left to rot in your role
    -During your hiring they'll pull out all the stops but during your orientation they'll tell you that if you don't like things here, you should just leave now. First time I've heard that

    Advice to Management

    Find another industry where you're not responsible for managing people.


  6. "World class dynamic place to leave your mark"

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

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

    Pros

    Competitive pay, too many benefits to list, willing to go the extra mile to get the best talent from around the world, aggressively persuing excellence across the board.

    Creative freedom, everyone has a voice, lots of upward mobility.

    Cons

    Milestones are short resulting in bugs and less development time.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you are doing, it’s refreshing


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Says one thing and does the other...or nothing"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Hothead Games full-time

    Pros

    Fair salary and benefits.

    Often prefers to hire full time.

    Fairly decent people to work with, excluding management.

    Full gym and tries to appear to care about employees.

    Cons

    Upper management really has no clue what they are doing half the time and tend to follow trends in other games instead of doing something new.

    Solely money and data driven as opposed to making sure their games are enjoyable, (lots of microtransactions and loops to get players to spend more).

    Artists are left with no leader and direction that can range from decent to useless. The higher ups end up calling most of the art shots.

    Sets up a lot of things that make them appear as a forward thinking company but tend to just be surface and nothing ends up changing.

    Tends to overhire and purge people when their plans don't turn out perfectly.

    Keeps people who have been around for a long time out of 'loyalty' or something even when they are not useful or out of touch with current trends.

    Advice to Management

    Take some risks and let some ideas that make your games fun stay.

    Get rid of dead weight in the company, there are some people who have been around forever who are useless or in positions they shouldn't be.

    Innovate rather than follow.

    Actually help your employees grow as opposed to talking about it but not doing anything.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Grows on you"

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

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

    Pros

    I am deeply enjoying working at Hothead, it's a great environment for passionate people. It's also a company that is teetering ever so close to making amazing games.

    Unfortunately, Hothead is not perfect.

    While making admirable strides to improve itself, Hothead suffered a few growing pains in recent years. Recent successes had fractured some of that initial spark that had interested me the most when I first joined. Efforts of HR are greatly appreciated, as things are showing improvement with time.

    * Great work-life balance. Very little mandatory crunch if workload issues are raised early and to the right people. People are still free to come to work anytime, and some even work remotely.

    * Amazing projects that I can genuinely be proud of, and even shill to all my friends or play for my own enjoyment .

    * You get out what you put in. Loads of room for self development, with flexible job descriptions, and loose hierarchies of command.

    * Teams are relatively independent of each other, with little crossover, with the exception of generalized tools and the occasional loaner artists and programmer.

    Cons

    Not all teams are created equally with Veteran teams getting the most autonomy and resources. Micromanagement can start appearing if targets aren't met. Newer teams are not freely given full control, which is sometimes setup for unavoidable failure. Happiness within a team is very project leader dependent.

    * Lots of hotshots and egos, but most are open to contesting their ideas. Just pick your battles or you'll burn yourself out. Be prepared to defend your own ideas and opinions, preferably with rational arguments.

    * High-level decisions are often overly emotional or based on gut reactions rather than proven data. Dependent on project leader; feedback, solutions and creative decisions are not always taken into consideration.

    * Focus on results seems futile at times, as success of projects hardly seems up-to the individual teams. Support for teams seems arbitrary at times, as often resources are split unfairly between teams.

    * Culture is immature at times. The senior employees rarely make an effort to integrate new people. Company has developed cliques, which can be hard to break through for new employees. Whole experience is very intimidating.

    Hothead Games Response

    7 Jun, 2017 – HR Generalist

    Thanks for your review. I agree that the rapid growth we recently experienced has caused some growing pains. We’re committed to acknowledging our mistakes when they happen, and most importantly... More


  9. Helpful (3)

    "One of the best video game companies in the world; certainly the best I've ever worked for."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Designer in Halifax, NS
    Current Employee - Lead Designer in Halifax, NS
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Hothead is company that clearly wants to be among the best in the world, and I admire their passion for making great products that connect millions of players across the world.

    The main strengths that I've seen in my 2 years here are many, but to summarize:

    - Hothead is unafraid to take risks with projects and target emerging trends in the market. This has led to a suite of titles poised to release in 2017 that are at the cutting edge. The main example of this fearlessness is its long-term commitment to real-time multiplayer technology and PvP. This decision alone, I believe, will secure its place in the market for years to come.

    - Hothead believes that anyone can contribute in a meaningful way to the company's current and future direction. This is the first and only company I've worked for that genuinely takes the opinions of its employees seriously; and even better, it acknowledges and rewards those employees. I have seen this firsthand, many times, over my two years here.

    - Hothead believes in hard work, but it truly knows how to unwind and have fun. It's an awesome place to work with great perks.

    - Hothead can own up to its past mistakes and use those moments as an opportunity to reflect and learn. That level of humility is critical to growth and success. Most leaderships teams that I've worked with suffer from a kind of institutional arrogance. It is simply not the case with Hothead - they could really have a big head about their past successes in the mobile market, but the leadership of this company is remarkably clear-eyed and grounded.

    - Hothead is unafraid of making tough decisions for the betterment of the company. They do not make these decisions lightly, and they can sometimes be painful, but they always do so for the right reasons. These decisions can range from shutting down a project to letting employees go that are not up to their standards. These are never easy decisions to make, but to Hothead's credit they go about these difficult moves in a classy and professional way.

    Ultimately, working at Hothead is like working for a professional sports team that is hungry for a championship title. If you share that passion and hunger, and can back it up with results, you will LOVE it here. And you will be rewarded for your efforts.

    Cons

    No company is perfect, and Hothead has a few things to focus on improving:

    - I think most teams would admit that the pace of work can feel overwhelming at times. Hothead is an ambitious company that wants to succeed, and it demands a lot from its teams. Simply put, if you don't have an internal drive to succeed and make great games, you may feel like the pace is too much at times.

    Having said that, I believe that the company is aware of this, and they're actively seeking to course-correct here.

    - I don't know if this is a "con", per se, but Hothead has a lot of strong personalities at every level, from leadership right down to each game team's junior programmers. This is a natural consequence of creating a "fighting spirit" in the corporate culture that wants to win. I've seen it rub certain people the wrong way, and that can admittedly be uncomfortable for some types of people.

    Is it a true "con"? I don't know. I think it depends on your perspective. I personally love it. It's a refreshing kind of change for me. But be warned: if you don't like confrontation or having your ideas challenged, you may not feel comfortable working here.

    - There are, admittedly, certain key areas in the company that are not quite world-class yet. It's an ongoing challenge to determine how we can improve them, and sometimes it runs against the dev teams' work. Having said that, the company is aware of where it must improve and is CONSTANTLY trying to improve them.

    Advice to Management

    This company is by far the best I've worked for. It genuinely wants to achieve global success, and I feel privileged to be a part of it. I don't know that I have any advice to impart to the leadership team that they're not already aware of, honestly.

    Instead, I'll just say that focus is going to be the key for this company moving forward. We need to find ways of eliminating the distractions that can surround our dev teams, and enable them to identify and hone in on the work that truly matters. I believe that the team I work on currently has enjoyed most of its success through eliminating distraction, finding a clear focus, and executing against it at a high level. I truly believe that if this company can incorporate an almost-Apple-like focus into its products, it will be met with worldwide success. And it's up to us as Hothead's employees to speak up and point out where and how we might direct this focus.

    There's a lot of great, talented people working here - it's a really amazing group of skilled game devs. We have all the pieces in play that we need; focus will help us to make the right moves.

    I felt obliged to write this review as a defense against some of the negative reviews I've read on here. No one asked me to write this review. I just think that some of these reviews are grossly misrepresentative of the company, and that bothers me a lot. This is a truly great company.

    Hothead Games Response

    7 Jun, 2017 – HR Generalist

    Thanks for your review! Hothead strives to be world-class and we recognize that we may not be perfect, but we're committed to making the necessary changes and improvements to be the best in the... More


  10. Helpful (5)

    "A solid company that is getting better."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Environment Artist in Vancouver, BC
    Current Employee - Lead Environment Artist in Vancouver, BC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Hothead Games full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good co-workers
    A nice office
    Thursday lunches
    A sense of ownership in projects
    Talented employees
    Transparency with management

    I'm writing this review in response to a lot of other reviews for Hothead. In my 8 years working here I've never experienced any bulling or had a sense of toxic culture, so I was very surprised to read about it on Glassdoor. I've come out as transgender at work and felt nothing but acceptance and encouragement.
    This is a really good company that expects a lot from its employees.

    Cons

    Projects are over managed
    Games are all shooter based
    Overtime is normal
    Socializing between teams is rare
    Lower than average pay

    Projects that don't meet expectations tend to be shifted and re-worked on almost a monthly basis, which can be really hard on the devs. Some times the projects can feel either aimless, or have too much micromanagement from the top down.

    Hothead has gotten better every year I've been here, but it still has a lot of room to grow.

    Advice to Management

    I know mitigating loss is important, but it shouldn't be the driving factor behind the choices we make as a company. It feels like we're playing it too safe some times and that our games end up designed by committee, rather than letting the talents of your individual employees shine through.
    I want to restate that I think this company is better now than it ever has been, and I do see it getting better, slowly but surely.

    Hothead Games Response

    28 Mar, 2017 – HR Generalist

    Thanks for writing us a review! We certainly agree with you that we have an amazing bunch of talented professionals at Hothead - they are the backbone of our company and we recognize that by offering... More


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