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Respawn Entertainment Reviews

Updated 9 February 2018
15 reviews

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4.7
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Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella
Vince Zampella
13 Ratings

15 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Q.A Tester"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Tester
    Former Employee - QA Tester
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Respawn Entertainment full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very good location and a great studio to work for.

    Cons

    Not much opportunity for growth if you are a Q.A Tester and want to explore other areas of game development. However, other big studios do the same.

    Advice to Management

    Please look internally at your Q.A Testers for talent in areas of Art and programming. They may surprise you! Also please give a guided tour of the entire studio. I worked there for almost 1/2 years as part of the Q.A team and never got to see the entire studio.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great people, great games, more "improv" than "on script""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Respawn Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -Transparent leadership, esp. about big movements.
    -Know-how to ship great games with a smaller, more intimate team, in less time
    -Not a cog in a machine, "Family" vibe
    -Great ideas come from anywhere culture
    -Everyone pulls their weight (I don't think this is an exaggeration)
    -No heavy politics where people are gunning for your job
    -Collaborative culture, everyone is there to help everyone else out
    -Great place to grow, management helps you pursue your interests
    -EA has not negatively affected Respawn's dev culture
    -Leadership and production are there to support, not let processes disrupt
    -Leadership culture is humble and dedicated to becoming better at leading
    -CEO takes care of his people, has a good track record, and I trust him
    -Get to work on cool IPs!

    Cons

    -Not a strong emphases on top down communication (still transparent though)
    -Relies heavily on individuals asserting for answers, reactive communication
    -Bias towards being light on processes, means communication can break
    -Small teams mean big scope reduction if direction isn't solved quick (e.g. no SP)
    -"Laying the tracks while driving the train" sometimes means wasted work

    Advice to Management

    -Figure out how to get a solid plan into place before production starts. (Macro)
    -Make sure the (new) producers are looped in so they can communicate for you.
    -Keep up the great work and keep being humble and willing to improve!

  3. Helpful (3)

    "A New Guy's Perspective"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Graphic Designer in Chatsworth, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Graphic Designer in Chatsworth, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Respawn Entertainment full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Since I am new to the company, I am writing from the perspective of someone joining a culture where everyone has been working together for some time. This can be really intimidating, especially with the amount of collective experience everyone has, but I have never felt more welcomed by any previous employer or team.

    The hiring process was a great experience, although felt pretty lengthy as it usually is with most larger studios. However, HR was very personable and kept in touch throughout, ensuring that there was still interest in the position.

    Once I received an offer and accepted, I requested to start as soon as possible and was given two weeks before my start date which worked out great. After the first week of working there, I noticed a great deal of transparency between the leads and those working on the project. There is a great deal of trust and respect everyone seems to have for each other and even though I am a new hire, I already feel like my opinion carries some weight.

    I was also able to get caught up on the team's workflow and status of the project relatively quickly. The amount of freedom to work on different areas of the project was also a big plus to me since I have many interests within design.

    Because my experience has been so positive, I felt compelled to give a review from the the new guy's perspective to anyone considering joining the team. I am hoping Respawn is a place that I'll be able to call home well into the future.

    Cons

    I feel like there wasn't much emphasis on job title or what that means, which I know could be an issue for some, but not for those who prefer a more flat structure.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you are doing and cultivating the culture and talent that is there.


  4. "Managment"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Respawn Entertainment full-time

    Pros

    plenty of perks and benefits

    Cons

    Really unhapy w/ mangment, otherwise great place.

    Advice to Management

    talk with employees as far as reprimand , use write up before letting ppl go


  5. Helpful (10)

    "Tricky second act"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Graphic Artist in Chatsworth, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Graphic Artist in Chatsworth, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Respawn Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Respawn has some seriously talented veterans at the middle of both their development teams. Each team demonstrates a completely different personality so choose the team wisely if you get the chance.

    Easy working environment as long as you get the task completed, you can come and go as you please and start or end as you see fit.

    Incredible flexibility for Designers to add, change or delete features on a whim. This flexibility if used wisely is what allows great games to be made. If you're in a reactive department you'll pull your hair out as Designers have no filters or checks to their whims, fortunately the majority are well meaning and their track record stands.

    Almost unlimited spending on whatever you want. Just ask and it appears with very little in the way of justification or push back. Not as many people abuse this as you'd expect which is a good reflection of the people that work here.

    You get to make ambitious products, a rare luxury these days.

    Flat structure.

    Cons

    The original core of the company are cliquey and they protect their own interests and positions as you'd expect. It's best to just keep your head down and not make a noise as limited review will be taken against your concerns.

    Production skills on the old project teams are non existent (see clique above). Burnout is very real and usually lasts the entire second half of the project as Designers thrash and flip without being pushed to make a decision. This can have terrible effects on your time despite best efforts.

    The internal tool-chain is archaic and no time will be opened up for engineers to fix or replace what is sometimes a command line tool that's nearing a decade old.

    Royalties have always been based on a non existing formula so who you're friends with is seen as a significant contributor to what this number will be.

     Little career advancement is possible.

    Advice to Management

    Go back and fix the basics, great people work here. They need a new model of contribution that is based on production, measurement and respect for peoples time.


  6. "Contract Employee"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The studio has a great work environment and lots of opportunities to learn from co-workers.

    Cons

    On Contract and not yet knowing if you may be offered a Permanent Full-Time position.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Stand on the shoulders of giants"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Designer in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Designer in Los Angeles, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Respawn Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    1 - Talent: Everyone thinks they work with the most talented people in the industry, but Respawn has the highest percentage of industry vets who've all worked on the biggest titles. I'm surrounded by geniuses in every department. The hiring standards are so ridiculously high, you know everyone who works here is the best at what they do, or has great potential to be.

    2 - Ownership: We're a lean team who make big games, which means your individual contribution to the game is enormous. There is plenty of room for self expression. The company is also a very flat structure with little management, which means your ideas are not just welcomed but heard.

    3 - Substantial Royalties: Because our numbers aren't bloated and we never miss deadlines, our dev costs are a fraction of other large titles - which means our profit margins are higher too. If the game sells well, you'll be handsomely rewarded for your passion, dedication, and contribution to the project. You even get your royalties should you decide to quit after the release of the game.

    Cons

    The company is a very flat structure, so if title and position mean more to you than the quality of the game you work on, it's probably not a good fit.

    There is no micromanagement and everyone is expected to be self motivated and innovative. If you need a lot of structure, it's probably not a good fit.

    There is only one way to make good games: iteration. We iterate a lot and throw out a lot. We probably throw away 50% of the work on any given project. This leads to releasing only the best quality product, but it can be extremely frustrating to people.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Fantastic team/company!"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Respawn Entertainment full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Really skilled team. Talented leadership. Smart leadership. Small, close teams with lots of collaboration. Incredibly kind and generous company management that values employee's well beings and families as well as the games we make. I don't think you'll find generosity like this elsewhere in this industry. The talent and chemistry of the team is incredible. That includes devs, HR, management ect. Very transparent atmosphere where everybody is in the loop and conversations are open and informative.

    Cons

    Limited tech makes creating visually competitive games difficult. Smaller scope of the games can feel limiting for some. Pre-production is under utilized.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the fantastic work. Let's figure out how to spend more time in preproduction creating a more solid foundation on some of the games.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "Striving to be the best"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Design Lead in Chatsworth, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Design Lead in Chatsworth, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Respawn Entertainment (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    First, a little background. I have been here since the beginning. Respawn exists to perpetuate the magic. By the magic, I mean the team that shipped a best-in-class game every two years like clockwork. The magic that was able to make Call of Duty into a mainstream phenomena.

    Through the struggle of creating a new IP and tech amidst lawsuits, we lost important players. We have been very fortunate to fill the gap with world class talent. I mean the best of the best. Our team has evolved, and our potential is higher than ever.

    Pros:
    Work alongside the best in the business. The level of talent and passion here never ceases to amaze me.

    The opportunity to do your best work. Respawn devs work on the things they're passionate about and they're great at.

    Stability and friendly, caring co-workers. Many here think of Respawn as the place they will retire from, not a place to get a sweeten their resume. They hang out together on the weekends (outside the office!). They're outgoing, and welcoming of new hires.

    Great work environment. We own our buildings, and they're nice. Devs planned the layout, not suits.

    Best compensation plan out there. Your contribution percentage for a game is permanently locked at ship, and your bonuses for that game are directly proportional to sales. The way it should be.

    A passion for shipping. We care about deadlines. We get our games done on time, and they get the biz support they need to be reach their potential. Don't work on a game with no end in sight that might get cut.

    Fantastic publisher support. Throughout Respawn's existence, EA has been abundantly supportive. We couldn't have done this with any other publisher.

    Opportunity. Respawn is doing multiple teams right. You can still get in on the ground floor.

    If you desire to ship the best games on earth and you have the talent and passion to perform at the highest level, then you belong at Respawn.

    Cons

    A goal of Respawn is no mandatory or scheduled crunches. We know we must continue to improve the scoping and scheduling of our projects.

    Respawn believes in a very high level of self motivation. New hire onboarding could be better.

    Some at the devs have worked together for almost two decades. That much shared experience has its own pros and cons.

    Advice to Management

    Keep the talent bar high.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "World Class Team"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mar Vista, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mar Vista, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Respawn Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The people and culture are the real heart and soul of this company. With the drive and will to do their best, the talent comes naturally. Respawn is comprised of seasoned industry veterans that innovate and push standards to a whole new level. Creativity and innovation are encouraged and the environment is very nurturing to these two attributes. Everyone operates at a very high level and that pushes the less experienced developers to breakthrough. The team has worked together for years and treat each other like family.

    Cons

    Interdepartmental communication is one attribute that can be completely improved upon. Decision making and committing to a direction is one huge problem for leadership. The iterative process is hurting the team more than motivating it. There's a better way to achieve this. Luckily the team is experienced enough to make educated decisions and mitigate risk.

    Advice to Management

    Let good people do good work. Put the right people in the right place and good things will happen. Trust the team and trust the process.


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