Raven Software

Location: Middleton, WI

Founded: 1990

Website: http://www.ravensoft.com/default.aspx

Brian and Steve Raffel turned a compulsive Dungeons & Dragons habit into a demo game for the Amiga in 1986; armed with an enthusiastic gang of buddies and just enough self-taught know-how, the brothers built Black Crypt and eventually talked Electronic Arts into publishing it in 1992. Since then Raven Software has grown from four employees to nearly 200, and it all started with an idea: “We should make our own computer game.”


Notable Products

  • Singularity
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

 

What to Expect

Quality assurance (game tester) positions rarely become available, but paid internships are offered, and upon successful completion can lead to full-time employment. Artists and animators must be highly proficient with 3ds Max, Maya, or ZBrush, and Photoshop; experience developing models and textures for Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 is necessary. The studio has a motion capture stage and uses laser scanning systems to enhance the realistic quality of art assets. Cinematics and audio production are done in-house, and the studio has an on-site Foley suite. Programmers should be well-versed in C/C++ scripting, familiar with the Unreal engine, and have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field; a master’s degree is preferred. Additional positions exist in business development and licensing, sound design, and marketing, among others.

For those looking for a slower pace, life in Wisconsin may be ideal. Crunch time at the office certainly calls for long hours, but it’s far removed from the California game-dev scene; the environment at Raven is casual and relaxed. Cubicles are standard on the development floor, but desk flair is encouraged. The studio houses a gym and locker room facilities, a lounge with HD televisions and an Xbox gaming station, and free coffee and fountain soda to keep the caffeine flowing. Launch parties for new game releases and the annual Halloween party are legendary events at Raven; company picnics for the family, paintball weekends, and regular movie outings help encourage a healthy work/life balance.

Industry:

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