A couple of weeks ago Ken Ward provided some insight about what it’s like to work for Playfish and, in particular, our London studio. This week we’re following up with a conversation with Dan Fiden, who joined Playfish as General Manager of the newly opened San Francisco development studio.
For readers attending the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week, Dan will be speaking on panels at the Flash Gaming Summit, Monday, March 8, and VCON on Wednesday, March 10. Stop by and say hello to Dan if you’re there!
Hi Dan, how’re you doing?
I’m good, thanks! I’ve just got back from lunch, actually. Had a really great sandwich from a nice Italian place down the street.
Awesome. So would you let our readers know what do you do at the San Francisco studio?
I’m managing the studio in San Francisco and taking care of all of our staff’s needs as we expand our offices here, but I’m also doing a little bit of everything, really. We’re expanding fast so I’m interviewing lots of candidates for studio roles here – engineers, artists, producers, product managers – all of whom will be creating social games. I’m even doing a bit of games design in the background.
Talk about variety – sounds like you’re a jack of all trades!
It’s fun. I look forward to getting into the office every day. The location is super cool down on the waterfront near the San Francisco bay bridge. It’s one big open loft space – everyone’s always around. We take plenty of breaks to goof around and crank up the music, chill out in between lots of hard work. I’ve been to Playfish’s London studio too, and it’s the same there. Here, of course, at lunch, we get to walk around the bay. One of the nice things about being at Playfish is the positive atmosphere that is so collaborative; there’s a strong feeling of everyone working toward the same goal. Everyone has a voice in the creation of games too.
What excites you the most about getting into the office each day?
We’re just getting started on building some amazing game teams. We’ve already got an enormous amount to talent here. There’s lots of brainstorming and ideas coming from all around the studio. That’s one of my favorite aspects and it’s a really fun part of the game creation process and we encourage everyone to pitch in. We just throw ideas on to the whiteboard and imagine how various ideas would work in a game.
You mentioned you’re interviewing people. What kind of person are you looking to hire?
Above all, they’ve gotta be passionate about games, about making games and making really good games. They’ve really got to love games to do that well – it’s the single greatest criteria in my mind. It’s important that the people we hire enjoy the creative and collaborative environment we have here. The creative process is social – just like our games.
What’s your kind of game?
This is going to sound corny, but honestly, social games – the kind of game where the crowd gets involved and people are shouting to their friends about it in the background. Games people want to huddle around and poke their nose in. Those bring about great memories and are so much fun. That’s what Playfish games are like, too.
What final thoughts would you like to leave us with?
Just a great big thanks to our players! Keep talking to us through the forums and on our fan pages. We enjoy your feedback and love integrating your ideas into our games whenever possible. We hope you continue to enjoy Playfish games!