Wargaming Helsinki is a relatively new name for a studio that has in fact been around for almost six years.
Formerly known as Boomlagoon, the developer was acquired by World of Tanks developer Wargaming in December 2016 as the publisher seeks to supercharge its mobile games strategy.
The studio has previously worked on titles such as Super Soldiers and Monsu, and the 20-person team is now at work on more free-to-play mobile titles, details of which are currently under wraps.
To get a glimpse into the studio culture, based in the heart of one of the leading global games industry development hubs in the world, PocketGamer.biz caught up with Wargaming Helsinki GM Antti Sten to find out what the company is up to and how job-seekers can impress potential employers.
PocketGamer.biz: Could you give us some background on Wargaming Helsinki and what you do?
Antti Sten: Wargaming Helsinki is quite a new studio in its current form. However, our industry peers might remember us as the former Boomlagoon studio.
This year I will be starting my 15th year in the gaming industry and the studio itself will turn six years old soon. All in all, as a team we have worked on a great variety of projects - ranging from memorable runners to midcore battlers - and we are very proud of our heritage.
Today we use our experience to work on action packed, immersive, free-to-play mobile games, and we love games that can entertain players for years.
Just keep in mind that while we’re still a small power house, we have all the support from the almighty Wargaming.
How many staff are you looking to take on and what specific areas/disciplines are you currently hiring in?
Helsinki is the epicenter of mobile industry in Europe. Everything moves fast here: new trends enter the scene, gamers become pickier and more demanding.
For a team to keep up with the pace and be successful, we are always on the lookout for skilled and enthusiastic people. Our development team is fantastic – experienced, bold, passionate.
Right now, there are a variety of key technical positions available. We’re about 20 people and plan to keep the team small and efficient.
As you’re overseeing recruitment at Wargaming Helsinki, what do you look for in candidates?
We’ve always had the luxury of, and felt that we have the responsibility to, emphasise cultural fit while building the studio. This is something I’m constantly keeping an eye on.
I’m super happy to see that this approach has worked really well and we have a fun, diverse, calm, cool and collected team that works brilliantly well together.
Of course, we expect a certain level of experience and skills from our candidates. If you are always wanting to learn more, being obsessed with the quality of your work and are ready to be part of the team sharing responsibility for the project, together celebrating successes and learning from failures – those are the qualities we would definitely be looking for.
Why do you think Wargaming/Helsinki is a good place to work?
Wargaming has a pure games company attitude and we love to see similar attitude in our candidates as well.
What I mean by that is the common desire to make great games that make players happy. Games. For heaven’s sake, make games like you mean it. Helsinki of course is a wonderful place to live and work, and the weather is not nearly as bad as they say.
What tips do you have for an eye-catching job application for aspiring developers?
Just be honest and true to yourself. We never really cared about “rules” and “hot tips” on how to make a killer CV or how to impress an interviewer.
You are who you are. If you've got good enough skills, want to make games and fit well in our team, that’s pretty much what’s needed. I’m not going to ask you to sell me a pen. I’m not going to ask trick questions to test you in some strange ways.
What advice would you have for someone trying to get into the games industry?
This is an advice I often give to some of the awesome trainees we’ve had: Keep following the industry, study the market.
That way you’ll find out what interests you, and have a good understanding on how the games industry “works”. It’s much easier to have that great attitude when you have the insight to the bigger picture.