Location: Santa Monica, CA
Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago founded thatgamecompany in 2006, after the success of Cloud, their award-winning student game project. TGC considers their products to be “core games,” meant to be universally accessible to serious gamers and non-gamers alike.
What to Expect
TGC is interested in taking a different approach to the game development process: Designers first conceive of the emotional experience the game should deliver to the player, and then enter rigorous prototyping and gameplay testing until the team agrees that they have achieved the goal. Ideas such as “We should make a first-person shooter set in World War II” do not come to the table; instead, TGC begins with the concept of an internal response or tangible experience that they want to create. Moreover, you won’t see M-16s or rocket-powered grenade launchers in a game called Flower. The signature elements of thatgamecompany’s titles are breathtakingly beautiful art, immensely large environments, and ease of play. Whether the gamer is well-practiced in Modern Warfare or just an Angry Birds dabbler, the point of constructing the game mechanics is to allow accessibility to a wide audience.
The independent game studio is a second-party developer of titles for the PS3 and PlayStation Network; thatgamecompany spent three years of incubation inside the Sony Computer Entertainment compound before eventually relocating to a new studio in Santa Monica. Occupying the second floor of a red brick building, the office is fully furnished in IKEA furniture and looks more like a location for The Real World than a business. There’s a fully stocked kitchen, a breakfast bar, and a lounge, and the vibe around the office is a much more mellow one than you might expect from the fellas at Blizzard or Rockstar. The dress code is casual, and so is the mood. Consider TGC the kinder, gentler side of console gaming development.
The TGC team consists of fewer than 20 employees, a group of highly educated individuals specializing in art, engineering, design, animation, and modeling. All employees have at least a bachelor’s degree, while most senior-level members hold master’s degrees in their area of expertise. Many within thatgamecompany hold hybrid positions; artists and programmers often dabble in both concentrations, so a diverse skill set is beneficial when seeking employment here. Currently, all roles within the company are full-time and consideration for hiring is based on a portfolio, résumé, and cover letter, which must be emailed to the HR manager. When vacancies exist, new jobs are advertised online at thatgamecompany’s website.
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