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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Interview with Remote Video Game Producer & Developer

Jon from Somerset has always been an avid gamer, if he’s not not developing them, he’s either playing them or reading about them.

Jon is one of many in UK who are embracing a new type of work-culture, working from home on a remote basis. Arizona based game development house, Running With Scissors is no stranger to controversy – but this time it appears it’s taking controversy in a different direction. The company produces some of the most talked about games, and do not shy away from taking a jab at themselves, and making commentary about our society wherever possible. They even had an entire movie made in collaboration with the notorious Uwe Boll.

Running With Scissors had started it’s remote only work style some time ago, where working from home was seen as a taboo, now as more and more businesses embrace the work from home culture, Running With Scissors is taking a lead. We sat down with Jon who’s been working with the company for quite a number of years to ask him more about his hobbies, and what he does at the company and what it’s like working remotely.

What is your current role at running with scissors?

I and the VP of Game development, who works as a producer and also as a developer on level design.

How did you find out about RWS and how did you join them?

I’d never heard of RWS until I picked up a copy of POSTAL 2 on a whim because I thought it looked interesting. I’ve always been an avid gamer, although prior to POSTAL 2 coming out I had little to no interest in video game development. After playing P2 for a while in 2004, mostly the Share the Pain Multiplayer add-on, I decided to try my hand at making some custom maps and running multiplayer servers. In that time I made friends with other modders and we worked together on improving the overall multiplayer experience.

Less than a year later, I joined a modding team called Resurrection Studios who were working on a total conversion project called Eternal Damnation – a single player Zombie game based on P2.  Shortly after joining, RWS had asked the team if they could feature ED on their upcoming ‘Fudge Pack (a completion of all RWS games and notable mods at that point in time). The project lead had to leave for personal reasons,  and I didn’t want to see the project die so I took it over despite having zero experience leading a remote project . I expanded the team by bringing on members of the Multiplayer modding community and by now was well known by the RWS team for my community work.

Then one day I saw they had posted an advert for a level design to work on POSTAL III on their website. I applied, more for fun than anything else. I didn’t expect to get the role given I lived in the U.K and had only a year’s worth of experience in game development. I did get the job however, and the rest is history

How do you find it working remotely with an international team?

It’s great. I’ve worked this way with the modding community since day one, and we’ve been working remotely at RWS since 2012. At first there were fewer than 10 of us, although these days we have a team 30+ strong, all working remotely.

We’ve gotten more streamlined over the years and now we worked very effectively, often surprising new team members who have come to us from AAA Studios. There are a few downsides, sometimes being in the same office would speed some processes up, and timezones can be difficult to navigate, but there are plenty of upsides too. We can literally recruit from anywhere in the world – meaning not only can we find great talent, but also those that are fans of the franchise and will enjoy working on the project. And the flexibility means that team members can work the hours the choose, and they often will have fewer distractions than they would in a busy office environment.

You can find the official company website here to find out more about the company, the team and see their latest video game releases.

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