This time next week I will be back amongst the ranks of the employed. I have accepted a contract position with Radical Entertainment. The contract runs until November, unless something crazy happens again. If you’re not aware, this is the second straight contract I’ve accepted where Activision is paying my salary. Whereas UFG was just being paid by Activision, Radical is wholly owned by Mr. Kotick’s company.
I did not take this position without great consideration. The things I were doing on the last two games I worked on weren’t exactly exciting (at least for me). On Fight Night Champion, I really had no choice in the matter. On True Crime: Hong Kong, I took that job as foot in the door at UFG so I could stone step my way into a more fulfilling role. Of course, things didn’t go so well at UFG. As such, I became extremely wary of the next job I would take. I know the current state of video game development in Vancouver seems to have this air of desperation around it, where too many unemployed developers are scrambling for too few jobs. Even so, I was not prepared to just take the first thing that came along. Financially, I was and I guess still am, in a position where I could have spent all of the spring and summer without working not be stressed about it. I was mentally prepared to take a few months off to relax, do my own thing, and in general, have a wicked awesome time.
I actually turned down a full-time with benefits job offer last week because I didn’t feel like the fit felt exactly right for me. The offer was very decent with regards to its terms and I thought about it a lot. In the end though, there were a few things I realized I wanted from my next job and those things weren’t there for me in this offer (and no money wasn’t really one of those things). So even though the market is tough out there and there’s tons of competition in the city, I walked away from a sure thing. I will admit there were moments during my deliberation where I was asking myself if I was being foolish. I wouldn’t hesitate to apply to that company again though. They seem to have a stable plan for the future and it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.
My application process with Radical wasn’t exactly straightforward either. I have no problem telling you that I was actually their second choice for the job. On Friday, they told me I had grabbed silver but there was a consolation prize of sorts. Instead of the job I applied for, they said another job was available for me to take if I wanted. This other job entailed doing stuff I did on the last two games I worked on, mainly UI work. As you know, I didn’t really enjoy that type of work. They gave me the weekend to think about the decision. It was nice of them to offer me the position but I didn’t really need much time to decide. So on Monday, I told them thank you for the offer but I was going to decline. I felt quite content with my decision and then proceeded to look online for vacations to Palm Springs.
Later that day though, I got a phone call from Radical. It was explained to me that their original pick had received a regular full-time position elsewhere so he turned them down. The position was mine to take now. Rather than accept on the spot, I asked to think about it overnight. The reason I did that is because I put some job-related plans into motion on the weekend and I wanted to think about how those might play out in the near future. In the end though, I accepted the offer after some more additional consideration.
So you might be wondering why I took a contract job over a regular full-time position and what I’ll actually be doing on the game. On the first matter, I made it a priority of what I was going to be doing for my next job. I decided a job that fit my interests and passions first was going to be more important than any type of regular, full-time commitment from a company. On the second matter, I’ll be helping out the missions team on Prototype 2. If working on missions tech for a large, open-world game sounds familiar to you, it should, because that’s exactly what I did for over three years on the skate franchise. I loved working on the skate team and this is really my first job that gets me back to doing that type of work since leaving Black Box. This in itself was the biggest factor in my decision to go with Radical.
I am cautiously optimistic about this new start with a new company. I feel like I’ve made an informed choice. Though after what’s happened to me in the last year career-wise, I don’t think anyone would blame me for remaining guarded for the next little while.