Interview

How to get a job at Canadian powerhouse Hothead Games

How to get a job at Canadian powerhouse Hothead Games

When Vancouver-headquartered mobile studio Hothead Games expanded to Canada's Atlantic Coast with a new studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it established itself as a coast-to-coast company.

Primarily focused on live ops for flagship FPS series Kill Shot, this new studio brings the total headcount at Hothead Games to 130 - and growing.

Indeed, with Hothead currently hiring in both Vancouver and Halifax, we got in touch with Chris Pink, Producer at the Halifax studio, to learn more about the sort of candidates he's looking for.

It's an exciting time for Hothead right now, and those looking to apply for any of the curently vacant positions should heed Pink's advice.

PocketGamer.biz: Could you give us some background on Hothead Games and what you do?

Chris Pink: Hothead Games is one of, if not the, premium Canadian mobile games developers. We aim to make the best titles in world in every genre we work in. With our first person shooter and sports titles for phones and tablets we are doing just that.

The company started in 2006 releasing console and PC titles until a conscious decision to develop on mobile only was made at the end of 2010.

The studio has now grown to 130 employees and we recently announced the opening of our new studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Hothead Games is one of, if not the, premium Canadian mobile games developers.
Chris Pink

This new team of 25 has expanded our capacity and talent to create best-in-class mobile games.

I am a producer at the Hothead Halifax studio working on Kill Shot Live Ops, some other secret projects as well as exciting core technology for the company and our games.

Are there any specific areas/disciplines you're currently hiring in?

For Halifax, we are looking for game designers and artists. That is not to say if a resume came in from someone that was excellent in another discipline that we wouldn’t consider them. We want to have the best team in the world.

In Vancouver we are seeking a Data Architect and Analytics Programmer to join our fully operational Analytics team, to support further development of our proprietary analytics technology used in all our games.

Hard at work at Hothead's Halifax studio

Our studios are culturally diverse - we have employees from all over the world including the US, UK, Spain, Germany, Philippines, Hong Kong, China and New Zealand.

However, for these two roles in particular, we are interested to hear from other potential candidates who are willing to relocate to this fantastic city on the west coast of Canada.

There are other open positions listed on our website but these are the priority positions at both of our studios at the moment.

As you're overseeing recruitment at Hothead, what do you look for in candidates?

We are looking for a passion for video games, a love of mobile video games and a desire to produce the best free to play games in the world. Plus an education or body of work that shows what you can do will always help.

We are consistently looking for A-grade candidates for positions as we strive for excellence in all aspects of the mobile gaming business. Hothead is a company that wants to invest in their staff, so a willingness to develop and improve yourself is a key trait we want to see in an applicant.

Why do you think Hothead is a good place to work?

Hothead just does things right. We look to have the best people working at all levels of the company.

Hothead just does things right. We look to have the best people working at all levels of the company.
Chris Pink

We have a level of transparency in the company that is greater than any I’ve seen before (in all my years in the industry).

There are organized events that get everyone involved, helping to form a family-like bond. Lunch and Learns each week showcase the work being done inside the company and knowledge gleaned from the industry at large.

Beer Fridays at the very end of the week are fueled by our famous kegerator, making this the perfect time for everyone to unwind a little before they go home.

Looking at Halifax and the province, it’s a great place to be with the excitement of a growing games industry (350+ people across 19+ companies) and tech sector in general, plus a strong set of local universities.

Competitive bubble hockey at Hothead's Halifax office

The studio is very close to the waterfront area in downtown Halifax making Hothead a truly coast to coast company in Canada now.

The team in Vancouver just moved to a new office in the downtown area of the city, between the ocean and mountains. That studio now has a fully equipped gym on the first floor, which is used by employees throughout the day. This is just another way in which we want to invest in our team.

And of course let’s not forget that we have a bubble hockey table that gets a lot of use and generates some healthy competition!

What advice would you give someone trying to get into the industry?

Have a strong portfolio that shows your ability in your discipline (art, coding, design, audio, etc.) and your passion to work in the games industry.

That doesn’t mean that you just play games, but that you understand what it is that creates the compulsion for you to play the games you do and what it is that stops you playing other games.

If you’ve made your own game before that always helps, too. 

Check out Hothead's vacancies here

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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