Developers of Spymaster, an espionage-themed strategy game, Helsinki studio PlayRaven was founded on the belief that mobile strategy games can - and indeed should - offer more originality to their players.
And with a Spymaster sequel, strategy MMO Winterstate, and soft-launched RTS Robocide all on the cards for 2016 and beyond, it's a philosophy the team is sticking to.
It's an exciting time for PlayRaven, then, especially as it looks to add new faces to its ranks with openings in user acquisition and UI design.
As such, we reached out to CEO Lasse Seppänen for insights into company culture, breaking into the industry, and tips for anyone sending an application his way.
PocketGamer.biz: Could you give us some background on PlayRaven and what you do?
Lasse Seppänen: Based in Helsinki and founded in 2013, PlayRaven is a melting pot of international developers hell-bent on changing the face of the mobile gaming industry.
The team at PlayRaven is currently 24 strong and you might be surprised to know that Finns are actually a minority in the company! We currently have nine nationalities from all over the world.
We have three independently working games teams, and are about to launch three unique and original strategy titles in 2016.
PlayRaven will launch three unique and original strategy titles in 2016.Lasse Seppänen
I serve as PlayRaven’s CEO and Co-Founder. I’ve worked in both mobile and triple-A since 1998, and might be best known for my role as the Executive Producer for the Xbox 360 game Alan Wake.
Many people at PlayRaven actually share a similar background that combines both platforms.
What specific areas/disciplines are you currently hiring in?
We’re currently looking for User Acquisition experts to help us with marketing for our upcoming launches, as well as an experienced and talented UI Artist. Both are full-time positions.
In the new year we will start ramping up our live ops and hiring across multiple disciplines including game design, programming, art, marketing and so on.
As you're overseeing recruitment at PlayRaven, what do you look for in candidates?
Our existing team consists of veteran developers who have worked in the past in companies like Rockstar, Remedy and Supercell. So we’re primarily look for exceptionally talented with shipped titles under their belt.
This means that a potential hire will have likely worked with at least one or two game companies before, but sometimes there are also very talented budding developers who may be an exception to that rule.
In addition to that, all of our recruits join with a shared vision: that they want to create a game that’s completely new, they want it to be successful, and they want enough control to make it happen.
Why do you think PlayRaven/Helsinki is a good place to work? How will you be trying to encourage a strong company culture?
Our goal is to create wildly successful free-to-play games that don’t already exist on the App Store, and that requires a bit of fearless innovation and determination.
That’s usually the main motivator for people to join PlayRaven - they want to create something new, and they want to feel like they are working on something that potentially could be huge.
It’s not much of a stretch to say that this approach is embedded in the culture of the company and if that appeals to someone, then they will most likely think that PlayRaven is a very good place to work!
Our other core values include things like openness, autonomy, quality of life and ensuring a healthy work/life balance for everyone. We value openness highly and avoid creating information barriers based on an organisation chart.
For example, any member of the team is welcome to join an interview for a prospective new employee; we also keep our meeting room doors open so people can join ad-hoc; our games are never kept under wraps from press and other developers, and so on.
We believe that by being open we can get the maximum amount of honest feedback, which helps us make the best games we possibly can.
Take any games job that you can get, even if it isn’t your dream job.Lasse Seppänen
What advice would you have for someone trying to get into the games industry?
Don’t be picky! I would simply recommend taking any games job that you can get, even if it isn’t your dream job.
Breaking into the industry is tough, we’ve all experienced that. However, you should realise that after spending at least a year in that first games job, and having shipped at least one game, it’s a lot easier to get the next job.
At that point, your CV will open many new doors that were previously closed to you.
For the full list of vacancies, along with information on how to apply, visit the PlayRaven jobs page.