11.4.2021

The message, the mission & the manufacture of fun

11.4.2021

The message, the mission & the manufacture of fun

This is the very first blog I’ve written for Timbre Games, and I really thought long and hard about what I wanted to talk about, and how to balance learnings for myself, learnings for Timbre, and everything in between.

Over the past few months, one of the things that really struck me is how our message has been getting out there, and how people are responding to it. Unlike every other game company that I have worked for, we are leading with who we are, what we are, and where we’d like to go. Now rest assured, we are more than just a club of people hanging out and having fun on Zoom (which we actually do), but we are also working hard on Timbre’s very first AAA project with a major publisher. We have a lot to prove on our journey to releasing it. A lot to prove to our publisher, our parent company, our players, and ourselves.

The marketplace has become incredibly competitive and employees are looking for different things that are important to them. Of course, competitive pay and benefits are one thing, but it’s the other things that people are looking for that tend to provide a longer lasting relationship.

What is your culture like at your company? Do you talk about being diverse or do you really put your money where your mouth is? All those comics you are always writing, is that who you really are or is that just clever marketing?

The short answer is what you see in our social media is truly who we are. A diverse company that listens to all voices and a team of people with different backgrounds and experiences as we head into 2022.

As of this writing, Timbre is made up of 67% women. While we are proud of that, we still have a long way to go to better support more diverse groups from different backgrounds and identifications. We are taking this very seriously, and it’s the most important part of our studio vision.

Together we will redefine the games that we’d like to make. A team of veteran game developers such as Zoë, Keith, Geoff, and myself is only going to get you part of the way. It’s the new talent that you hire that brings in new perspectives. Those who enjoy games in different ways and different formats. Those are the people that are going to change the future of entertainment, and if we are not listening to them, we are going to fail.

There are hundreds of companies to work for in video game land, and Vancouver is rife with amazing studios that make some amazing games. We are honoured to be part of that group. But every single studio brings their own set of values and approaches to creating the entertainment that is so voraciously consumed today. So, while our core leadership team has been doing this for a very long time, Timbre Games is going to be a test kitchen for different kinds of experiences and different ways to enjoy them, even when it comes to the tools we use in actually making those games.

We use Slack more than email, we are deciding which video conferencing system we should be using to stay in touch, we are evaluating everything from HR software to project management software because we truly have a clean slate. Equal parts terrifying and exciting, or as Lidi says (who heads up operations at timbre) “terrexciting”.

What I will tell you though, is I have never felt more at home and connected with a group of people than I do today. The number of slack channels that discuss everything from Le Crueset launching a line of Harry Potter cookware, to our shared learning channel where we discuss taking indigenous studies through Coursera, and much more is astounding.

I have been so fortunate to have worked alongside some of the best people in the industry whether at Electronic Arts, Capcom, Microsoft, and even getting my start at Radical Entertainment a long time ago.

The one thing I took away was to be human and have fun on this journey, and I promise you we have so much fun getting the work done. Our meetings are usually filled with laughter in equal part to serious work and I believe that is a formula for success. Games will come and go, and trends will come and go, but the people you make these products with remain with you for a lifetime.

And that’s really what Timbre is all about, great people working together on great products and having a great time while we do it. Because if it’s not like that, it’s just a job…..and who wants “just a job”….

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Joe Nickolls
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