Resource manager Nick Duncombe talks about Playground Games growth and the studio’s new triple-A project, for which it’s looking to hire around 100 developers

Recruiter Hot Seat: Playground Games

What differentiates your studio from other developers?

Playground is an especially exciting place right now. With the release of Forza Horizon 3, we’ve had our best year, both critically with a Metacritic score of 91, and commercially with over 2.5 million units sold. With the recent announcement of Playground starting a second triple-A project, there is a buzz both in the studio and press as to the future of Playground.

How many staff are you looking to take on?

In addition to our normal growth, we’re looking for around 100 developers to join us on a new, non- racing, open-world action project. We’re currently hiring across most disciplines, particularly our engineering and art departments, and at all levels, too.

What perks are available when working at your studio?

Aside from very competitive salaries, private healthcare and a contributory pension scheme, it’s very important to us that our team shares in the success, so every member of staff at Playground receives royalties. We’re really proud that we’ve been able to pay royalties to our team every quarter going on three years now. Working here has lots of day-to-day perks too, including flexible working hours and 25 days holiday, increasing with every years’ service.

On top of this we have an additional 2 ‘duvet days’ a year taking holiday allowance to 27 days for new starters. ‘Duvet days’ are particularly popular with the team as they can book a day’s holiday that very morning, perfect for emergencies. More common-place perks include, free breakfast, drinks and fruit, subsidised snacks, extensive game library, the much-loved pinball machine, pool table, retro arcade machine and not forgetting the obligatory ping-pong table… 

We have a great community spirit bolstered by studio events including, ‘Pub Thursdays’, the Playground Christmas Party, Summer BBQs and, of course, the wrap parties! 

Not everyone at Playground is a
petrol-head. Our
common thread is a
passion for games 

Nick Duncombe, Playground Games

What should aspiring devs do with their CV to get an interview?

Go the extra mile. Tailor your application to the role matching the requirements within the job advert to your experience. This makes reviewing your application much easier and ensures we don’t discount you for any lack of experience on your application. 

We also like to see not just industry, or University, projects but your personal projects too. They help show us that you’re passionate about this industry and it’s not just a job to you.

What advice would you give for a successful interview at your studio?

Preparation is key, do your research on both Playground and your interviewer. Understand the role profile and how your past experience, or knowledge, makes you suitable. We make racing games, but not everyone at Playground is a petrol-head. Our common thread is a passion for video games, so applicants who really familarise themselves with our games, and can talk proficiently and offer opinion on them, always impress.

If you have recruited internationally what is the process like?

We recruit globally and Playground Games is made up of many nationalities. International applicants follow the same process as domestic applicants with an initial Skype video call, followed by an interview at our studio in Leamington Spa and then potentially an offer of employment. To help, and in addition to securing a visa, we offer relocation allowances, use of the company apartment and the services of a specialist to assist new staff with familarising themselves with the local area and schools, if they have children.

How have recruitment needs change at your studio?

With the announcement of our second triple-A project, we are looking to hire around 100 developers in 2017, but we maintain a high-bar and only hire the most talented developers. With the nature of the open-world games we create, in addition to the technology we develop, we’re especially keen to increase headcount on our technical art, rendering, lighting and online engineering teams.

Playground Games

Location: Leamington Spa, UK

Hiring: Playground is looking to hire around 100 devs, across all disciplines to work on a new, non-racing, open world action project.

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