Interview

How to get a job at Sega Hardlight

How to get a job at Sega Hardlight

Based in the heart of vibrant UK game development hub Leamington Spa, Hardlight Studios is Sega's dedicated mobile games studio.

Brought into the Sega family in 2012, the studio has brought established Sega brands such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Crazy Taxi to the mobile platform.

With more on the way, there are currently a number of positions vacant at the studio. 

As such, PocketGamer.biz reached out to Sega Hardlight's Operations Director Harinder Sangha to learn more about current vacancies, what she looks for in candidates and tips for breaking into the industry.

PocketGamer.biz: Could you give us some background on Sega Hardlight and what you do/are currently working on?

Harinder Sangha: Hardlight was an internal Studio formed in 2012 by a small group of developers who had worked for Sega for years.

The main focus of the studio is to develop mobile games, although we have dabbled in VR.

Sonic Jump and Crazy Taxi: City Rush are amongst the titles that we developed, while the most famous one is Sonic Dash with over 225 million downloads to date.

Today our headcount is just over 50. While we continue to maintain our back catalogue with the help of local developers, the main focus in the studio is new projects.

We have a huge 4X strategy title in soft launch - very different to what we are known for.
Harinder Sangha

We currently have a huge 4X strategy title in soft launch that we have been working on for the last two years - it’s very different to the games that we are known for.

We’re also working on a couple of projects based on popular Sega IPs - again, quite different and at various stages of development.

What specific areas/disciplines are you currently hiring in?

Our main focus is building up a live operations team, so we're hiring a Live Ops Associate, Games Master and Customer Support Lead.

We’re also actively looking for a Performance Marketing & User Acquisition Manger.

These are all newly created roles within Hardlight, so this is all new to us. We’re looking to bring in experts. We keep using the term “blank sheet of paper” as that’s what we see these positions as.

Sonic looms large at the Sega Hardlight studio

The job description covers off what we think this role needs to be, but for the right person, this is an opportunity to come and really mould what they think we should be doing.

As well as Live Ops, we’re looking for the System/Economy Designer to help balance our games' economies.

We’re also looking for a few support roles. That aside if you don’t see a position advertised that matches your skillset, we’re always keen to find the best - so speculative applications are encouraged too.

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

No two people are the same. We’re looking for the right person, but what is the right person?

We’re fortunate that we have such variation in our roadmap - we have something to appeal to most.
Harinder Sangha

Someone that is happy to be noticed for the work they are doing.

We understand that from time to time not everyone is going to be ecstatic about the projects they are working on, but they should be passionate about the work they are doing.

Although we’re fortunate that we have such variation in our roadmap, we should have something that will appeal to most.

Why do you think Hardlight is a good place to work? How will you be trying to encourage a strong company culture?

Company culture both at Hardlight and Sega has always been a strong part of the working environment.

Hardlight is definitely making the best of it. On top of competitive salaries, bonuses and a fantastic benefits package, we work hard to try and make this a great place to work.

We are very proud to have a team composed of different personalities from all walks of life.

The Hardlight kitchen

We like to do things as a studio, whether it’s our annual Team Building Day, summer BBQ, fancy dresses Christmas Party or just a simple evening in the local pub.

Everyone here is inclusive in general, making your first day less scary.
Harinder Sangha

We actually like each other, so socialising is easy! In recent years, we have a strong board games community, so if you join us, these guys will get you to join the lunch time board game session at least once.

I feel that everyone here is inclusive in general, making your first day less scary.

What advice would you have for someone trying to get into the games industry?

Passion is what should drive you.

Whether you are a coder, an artist, musician or any other kind of role, surely your knowledge and previous experience will count to get into the games industry.

But your personality and creativity will definitely make the difference.

The full list of vacancies at Sega Hardlight is available on its careers page.

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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