Sledgehammer Games Reviews | Glassdoor.co.in

Sledgehammer Games Reviews

Updated 11 April 2018
52 reviews

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Aaron Halon
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52 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "We get paid to play Call of Duty" (in 14 reviews)

  • "Depending on your department, the work-life balance can be good" (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • "Pay was poor considering the cost of living" (in 6 reviews)

  • "Well below average pay for similar Software Engineering positions in the San Francisco Bay Area" (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (11)

    "A Company in a Transitional Period"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    - Dev teams are made up of mostly good people that are passionate about making the best games possible

    - Studio has a culture of playtesting and sharing feedback

    - Learning opportunity to work with a large team on the biggest AAA franchise around

    - New studio head has more trust from people on the ground. There's a lot of work to do to reform studio culture, but I think he's pushing in the right directions.

    Cons

    - Industry low pay for the area, underwhelming bonuses

    - No company pride; people bond/gossip over their mistrust of HR/Recruiting/Leadership/Activision as there is little transparency. There is often a discrepancy between our stated company values and our daily practices.

    - Contract system is predatory. Many contract employees are strong contributors, but are kept on contracts for 1-2 years and then let go.

    - Staffing per department is inconsistent and teams generally run lean due to headcount limitations; some teams have very bad crunch while others have more manageable schedules. Crunch is never "mandatory" but it's pressured by the culture, which creates the same result.

    - Management has scoping issues, which caused us to ship a buggy game with broken features and damage the company reputation. Constant content updates create a myopic mentality of cramming in changes at the very last minute rather than focusing on stability.

    - Philosophy of downsizing after every project and reloading for the next game limits ability of company to retain talent in order to make the leap from making 80% games to 90% games.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Four years at this place and no advancement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Artist in Foster City, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Artist in Foster City, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Extremely nice coworkers, very family friendly, very supportive, decent bonuses every three years, stable job, emphasis on fair and healthy work environment, no racism or sexism or homophobia is tolerated

    Cons

    will under pay you if at all possible, it's rare/ well near impossible to get a promotion, loves to put people on contract and extend the contract for as long as possible without hiring permanently- this is stressful for both the contract employee and the other employees. As soon as someone is trained and you get used to them... they have to leave.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the promotions and the pay. We've lost so many seniors and will continue to lose them without attracting any back because the bay area is too expensive to pay so little. Please stop the endless contract cycle. It's very stressful to everyone involved.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "An Opportunity to Work on one of The Largest Video Game Franchises"

    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 Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    -The people are amazing and talented. Sledgehammer is an opportunity to work with some of the most talented video game developers in the industry.
    -The work-life balance is better than other roles I have had (with Crunch being the exception, but not a new thing for anyone who has worked in the industry).
    -Charity of the Month is an opportunity to give back
    -We get some pretty sweet swag
    -Employees get discounts on Activision / Blizzard games (plus a few free ones each year)
    -Happy Hour every Friday
    -Dinner provided during Crunch time
    -Free Gym Membership (and an on-site fitness center)
    -A focus on building diversity within the studio population
    -There is a slide to get to the Cafe
    -A balcony with a great view
    -They throw pretty amazing parties for Holidays and when the game ships
    -Free snacks, coffee, soft drinks, and donuts on Friday
    -We get paid to play Call of Duty

    Cons

    -Crunch can be intense, but it is fairly minimal considering the entirety of the development cycle. Stress levels can run high.
    -Sometimes management can appear slow to make decisions. However, I have observed this as being a result of adapting for rapid studio growth while ensuring the standards of one of the largest franchises in the industry are being met--it can be overwhelming at times.
    -Working with an elite team that has high standards can be challenging. Those who work here need to be open to feedback and able to work at a rapid pace.

    Advice to Management

    Growth can be challenging. Empower your teams to be able to make decisions quickly while embracing what we learn through failure.


  4. Helpful (8)

    "Attitude is important"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    -really talented and helpful individuals
    -you can propose an idea and it has potential to create an impact*
    -some disciplines have exceptional synergy between each other which makes a big difference in the development process
    -starting to actively pursue a more diverse workforce in terms of ethnicity and gender
    -free food, etc..
    -good employer sponsored health insurance.
    -hard work is recognized*

    Cons

    -teams are separated in a way that makes it more difficult to function as a single studio
    -too many management positions in some disciplines while not enough in others.
    -hard work is recognized but on management's terms. Your voice will be ignored if you give off the 'wrong' attitude.
    -Ego tends to get in the way of making the best decisions for a project.
    -Last minute decisions are often made due to general indecisiveness by management. this goes unpunished time and time again and as a result causes delayed deadlines and long term damage to team morale.
    -cost of living is insane, but this is more of a side effect of having a studio in the heart of the bay area.

    Advice to Management

    -Being confident of the team is important but don't let it get in the way if there are better ways of doing things that aren't necessarily 'home grown' .

    -Make a decision and stick with it. Period.

    -Don't prioritize studio image/presentation over the well being of employees. This is a development studio, not a showroom.

    -Stay involved in the development process for the entire duration of the project.

    -


  5. Helpful (13)

    "Negative culture driven by poor leadership."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - The work I get to do is often very fun and rewarding.

    - It's great getting to work on such a big franchise with so many fans.

    - People I worked with directly were friendly and do good work.

    - It feels like the company culture is slowly trending upward and improving.

    Cons

    - In my experience the higher up a person is at SHG the less pleasant they are to work with.

    - Top down "my way or the highway" attitude from upper management. They seem to prioritize their own feelings over the needs of employees below them and the studio as a whole.

    - Big talk of "door always open," "trust," and "diversity," but managements' actions convey the message that speaking up is discouraged and frowned upon, that they don't trust their employees, and that they just need a diverse group to check the boxes and use those minority groups to inflate the company's image of diversity.

    - HR feels like a puppet that is used by the studio heads to do their dirty work when shutting down employee complaints or frustrations.

    - Due to how a significant portion of the leadership behaves in manipulative or toxic ways, it trickles down the workforce making it seem like the only way to move up or stay with the company is to behave the same way. (It feels like this could be related to "bro culture")

    - It doesn't really feel like there is any way to grow at SHG. There's no one I feel I can look up to nor any position I can strive towards, and the general vibe at the studio is one of satisfaction with stagnating at the level one is at. No one seems really excited to grow or expect to have those opportunities (just grumbles from the people that aren't happy with that).

    - Overall it doesn't feel like a place where creativity and critical thinking can flourish.

    Advice to Management

    Improve at communicating in healthy ways as leaders. Listen to the concerns and frustrations of employees. Don't take criticism personally, but hear it, understand the message, and try to act on what they are saying to improve the studio. Encourage dialogue and discussion rather than create an air of mystery, confusion, and fear surrounding issues.

    If the studio truly lived up to all of the cultural pillars that it says it promotes then it would be a great place. However, as things currently are, the studio falls significantly short of those pillars.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great Place to work"

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

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    -Challenging Work
    -Great Team
    -Open to change/Progressive
    - Benefits are great
    -Openness about diversity and team supports continuing to push our company creatively and culturally

    Cons

    -Pay feels a little low for the high cost of living
    -Getting a raise can feel odd. There seems to be a lot of procedures that are not shared or followed by everyone.

    Advice to Management

    Be more open to advancing your employees. There's a tendency to throw an Activision link/ generic answers or ignore a want to continue a future with the company.


  7. "Great team shouldn't be the exception, but the norm"

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

    I have been working at Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    Work with industry leaders that are always pushing the edge.

    Cons

    Sometimes you won't feel appreciated, but secretly they do.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "slave labor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    free snacks and food. co-workers

    Cons

    voice isnt heard. made to take shorter lunches


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Good time for a while"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sledgehammer Games full-time

    Pros

    - Lots of talented people, had a great time working with them.
    - Depending on your department, the work-life balance can be good. For me it was great most of my time there, though Sledgehammer is pretty heavy on crunch for some disciplines.

    Cons

    - Pay was poor considering the cost of living. Bonuses were just large enough to keep me happy, but not large enough to help advance me financially.
    - Management is pretty "top down" and often feels disconnected from the rest of the employees and production. Weird requests and expectations were not uncommon.
    - There is an almost fascist attitude/culture regarding the work, depending on who you talk to. The higher up the person, the more they tend to advocate or expect that CoD is more important than your outside life, relationships, kids, etc. This is especially true of the COO.
    - This is a CoD studio. Half the people there believe CoD does everything right and the other half is frustrated at how resistant to change/growth the company is.
    - More or less true everywhere, but especially at sledgehammer I found that the longer a person was there, the more jaded, grumbly and unhappy they were. It is just abundantly clear that you are a disposable employee, not someone that they care about.

    Sledgehammer is fine for a while. It looks good on your resume, and most of the cons I described are a 'slow burn'. If you just want to be there for a year or two, I think it's good. Sledgehammer has a high turnover rate though because it's just not worth staying there.

    Advice to Management

    Empower your employees instead of getting in their way. Too many weird decisions, restrictions and requests just bog down productivity and make people frustrated.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Getting hired and working at Sledgehammer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Level Designer in Foster City, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Associate Level Designer in Foster City, CA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    The hiring process was very smooth and took place in a little over 2 weeks. I was living on the east coast at the time and Sledgehammer worked with my schedule to fly me out for an interview. After working here for a little over 6 month I am very happy here, I am able to set my own hours have never feel like I am being micro managed. Sledgehammer also helped me find a roommate, someone who was already working there and looking to move, which was extremely helpful since I was moving all the way across the country

    Cons

    I feel like the pay for my position is a little low given the cost of living in the area. I also don't like that I don't get any vacation days or paid holidays.


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