"Without the maintenance of our culture, Gram Games cannot succeed"

Gram Games' Erin O'Brien dishes out advice on studio structure

"Without the maintenance of our culture, Gram Games cannot succeed"

Cultivating a studio culture that promotes constant communication between team members, a familial environment and a place to make and learn from mistakes is key to Gram Games' success, says the company's Culture Developer Erin O'Brien.

Speaking during the Big Indie Awards 2017 in association with indieSky, O'Brien explained what her role as a Culture Developer at the company behind titles such as 1010! and Merged! entails.

She is responsible for maintaining and iterating a culture at the studio in the same way anyone would iterate and maintain a game.

This means being vigilant to how the team is working together, testing how the studio operates on a regular basis and paying attention to what people say.

"Without the maintenance of our culture, without actively making sure it's functioning as efficiently as possible, Gram Games cannot succeed," said O'Brien.

She added that Gram views the culture of the studio as important as any other part of the company, and without keeping it actively maintained, it would ultimately fail.

Cultivating culture

To create an environment where Gram's staff can fulfil their potential and the studio can succeed, O'Brien said the developer has created an environment similar to the core concept of its games - a fun place to be.

She added that If an employee feels creatively fulfilled they will contribute as much as they can to make sure the company is successful.

O'Brien said to ensure this, it's important to create a space where employees feel they can be themselves, be honest and put themselves out there by suggesting new ideas to the team.

One way Gram Games does this is through its flat structure, meaning staff can act more autonomously. Everything at Gram is team driven and the product of collaboration.

The only boss its employes have, said O'Brien, is the data - the feedback from users.

The studio also encourages staff to be willing to fail, as this can give team members the perfect opportunity to learn and grow.

"If we didn't overreach sometimes... our company would never become greater than it already is," she said.

You can find out more details about the Big Indie Awards in association with indieSky and who won right here.

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Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.