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How to get a job at Deep Silver Fishlabs

Senior HR Manager Christoph Hillermann shares insights
How to get a job at Deep Silver Fishlabs

Deep Silver Fishlabs has been a mainstay of the mobile games industry for more than a decade.

Founded in 2004, the then-independent outfit launched the the first entry in its flagship space combat and trading sim series Galaxy on Fire back in 2006.

Its scope and production values were unprecendented for a mobile game at the time, with our sister-site Pocket Gamer writing that the game would "change the way you think about mobile phone games forever".

In late 2013, the developer was acquired by Koch Media and integrated under the Deep Silver banner as the firm's in-house mobile game development and publishing arm.

And it's still pushing to be at the cutting-edge, with the ambitious Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore currently in soft launch and Sacred Legends, the first mobile outing for the action RPG series, launched in August.

As the firm is currently hiring in a number of areas, reached out to Senior HR Manager Christoph Hillermann to discuss company culture and what he looks for in candidates. Could you give us some background on Deep Silver Fishlabs and what you do?

Christoph Hillermann: Deep Silver Fishlabs is the Koch Media Group’s dedicated mobile studio, operating under the Deep Silver label.

Before we joined the Deep Silver family in December 2013, we had been active as an indie studio for almost 10 years.

“We currently employ 92 staff working on in-house productions and publishing.”
Christoph Hillermann

Headquartered in the beautiful city of Hamburg in the North of Germany, we currently employ 92 staff members working on in-house productions and publishing projects alike.

Our portfolio covers a broad diversity of titles and genres, ranging from elaborate 3D blockbusters such as Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore to charming 2D indie gems like Stranded: A Mars Adventure.

The one thing we all strive after, regardless of our job title or field of expertise, is creating truly outstanding gaming experiences “on the go”.

What specific areas/disciplines are you currently hiring in?

Generally, we are always open for top talent across all areas. In our opinion, hiring the best of their fields of expertise will always result in rewarding fusions - for both sides.

But we do, of course, also have more precise targets. Since many of our projects are powered by our proprietary Abyss Engine, we are constantly looking for new additions to our Core Technologies team.

With so many high-class development tools on the market, staying ahead of your competition is an ongoing challenge. Therefore, we are always eager to welcome new Tools Programmers and Graphics Programmers among our rows.

The Deep Silver Fishlabs team
The Deep Silver Fishlabs team

Here, we are specifically looking for people who bring a lot of hands-on experience as well as a profound theoretical knowledge of engine development to the table.

Furthermore, we are looking for seasoned professionals in the fields of art and design - especially UI Artists and Level Designers.

And then there is another position we, and seemingly all other companies in the tech sector, are assiduously looking to fill, namely that of Java Backend Developer.

“We are always looking for people to improve our backend architectures.”
Christoph Hillermann

Since Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore as well as our second big in-house project (which has yet to be announced) are both online games, we are always looking for people to set up, maintain and improve our backend architectures.

If you read this and happen to be an expert in any of the named professions - please get in touch!

As you are overseeing recruitment at Deep Silver Fishlabs, what do you look for in candidates?

Usually, this depends on what role we are looking to fill. The required education, experience or participation in relevant projects can differ significantly from one job to another.

But there are also things we cherish in all candidates equally, like an inherent passion and love for one’s profession.

Sometimes, the dedication of a candidate is worth more than their diploma.

Private projects are good indicators that people really enjoy what they are doing, while enthusiasm for games is the common ground over which our team members meet, unite and bind.

Considering how crazy this industry is, a little madness will often come in handy as well.

Why do you think Deep Silver Fishlabs/Hamburg is a good place to work? How will you be trying to encourage a strong company culture?

A harbour town with a vibrant history, Hamburg is - and always has been - very open-minded, multi-cultural and many-faceted.

No matter what kind of person you are, you will find the right space and environment here for your personal development, freedom and creativity.

Deep Silver Fishlabs' surroundings
Deep Silver Fishlabs' surroundings

And essentially, that is what Deep Silver Fishlabs stands for as well. Our colleagues enjoy working here because their jobs allow them to turn the things they love and are good at into thriving careers.

At Deep Silver Fishlabs, we encourage all team members to make contributions, voice opinions and take ownership to whatever degree they deem fitting.

And we always do our best to help them improve their skills and broaden their expertise. Within the given confines, all fish in our ocean can come just as they are.

Also as a company, we never stop looking for ways to improve on our culture and make working here an even better and more rewarding experience.

Day by day, we come a little closer to finding the perfect sweet spot between personal freedom and needed productivity.

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

While a solid education is always a good basis to build upon, the games industry is more open to career changers than most other lines of work.

“Do not let that fact that you have not worked at a games company before discourage you.”
Christoph Hillermann

So do not let that fact that you have not worked at a games company before discourage you. There are countless jobs in this industry that require fresh perspectives, broad horizons and widespread stocks of knowledge more than anything else!

Besides your education and experience, your passion can also be a very strong plus.

Let us know about the small game you have programmed on your own, the character you have animated in your spare time or the app you have designed on the side.

After all, there is no better way of showing us that you are burning for a certain profession than doing it just for the fun of it.

Oh, and once you have submitted your application, keep your fingers crossed. ‘Cause when you are going after your dream job, a bit of luck will never hurt!

A full list of vacancies at Deep Silver Fishlabs is available on its jobs page.