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    1. #1
      Child of Stars's Avatar
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      Exclamation KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      So many of us have been concerned or positive about the fact that KI and thereby W101 is on the decline. Recently we have also had a lot of problem such as glitches or game changes that hasn't been too popular with many of us players. By the means of a simple google search I came across a website where employees can leave anonymous reviews of the company they work for. These reviews (Of which almost half are negative) may give us a clue as to what is happening behind closed doors. I picked my favorite critical ones (Many of the positive ones are from around 2012). that I think give us some intel. Note that these opinions are not mine. I have highlighted things to notice.

      “If you are an experienced game developer...then don't work here ”

      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

      Pros
      Kingsisle had an golden age where people were happy and felt respected by the upper management. Game developers there were awesome to work with as your peers. The job felt cushy, people were very talented, and you had leads who will have your backs and fight off the company owners and their very none creative management style. That all went away.

      Cons
      The company feels like a prison now, there's someone leaving every week, and you look longingly at those who get to. The owners and those hired to play with papers and numbers don't care about games, don't play games, and don't know anything about making games. Yet, they make decisions and place unrealistic expectations and time estimates on these projects. You will feel no respect, no steam for the projects, and under appreciated while shackled with ball and chain to your desk. Further, now everyone who spoke up had left the company, you ended up with no leads to have your back. You ask how can a game company feel this bad? Well, it does.

      Advice to Management
      Stop listening to yourselves, and actually listen to the game developers you hired. Consider the guy who plays with papers and counts numbers, whom everyone hates, and every creative leader tried so hard to fight off, and determine what place he should really have. Seriously, forget the billion you want to make, this guy will ruin your company first.

      “Directionless ”

      Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

      I have been working at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)
      Pros
      Employees are nice to one-another Nice, central location Currently hiring

      Cons
      Exec and production have no idea how to stick to schedules. They are constantly saying KI is an, "iterative company" so that is why nothing gets done on time. Milestones are constantly pushed, releases delayed, and then they wonder why all of the employees are straight worn out. It probably has something to do with the fact that we have been crunching for 1-year plus. Recently swapped from software to mobile, moving a lot of people around and putting them in roles they aren't equipped to handle, nor were hired to do. As such, the company is bleeding people. The CEO has final say in everything, even though he has zero design experience. His constant input corrupts good game design decisions because he "doesn't like it" or "doesn't understand". He needs to take a back seat and let the people he hired to make games, have full control of that process. He has ruined many a mechanic or entire game because he wants it s certain way, even if it was designed an entirely different way.

      Advice to Management

      Figure out what your goals are, and stick with them. Use people for what you hired them for, not what you want them to be. Stop allowing the CEO to be the Creative Director, while the actual CD is relegated to "exec pleaser".

      “Company In Decline ”

      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

      I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time
      Pros
      There used to be pros. Now that the company is transitioning to mobile games and all the competent people left lead and management positions, the best I can say is you can live paycheck to paycheck with the below industry wage they give you.

      Cons
      The most sycophantic and nepotistic management I've experienced. The HQ is located in Dallas and has no clue or cares little about this issue. The company is scrambling to transition into mobile but is too cheap, incompetent, and unorganized to do it effectively. Be prepared to be treated like a child with every move you make being questioned. Managers and executives are more concerned if you took a 16 rather than a 15 minute break than your actual work. Clock in like an hourly employee even though you're salaried. Horrible PTO policy. KingsIsle purports to be a family-friendly company but they are just as dysfunctional and irrespective of work-life balance as any other AAA. Enjoy snide comments and abusive behavior from your executive producer. Passive aggression is the MO. Try making sense of their bonus system. It’s like they want to pay you just enough so you don't leave but to also say they did something. Despite meetings and talking with coworkers I still couldn't make sense of it.

      Advice to Management
      This is more advice to the CEO. You need to clean house from the executive down to the management level. There's a reason so many people are leaving. The ones who stay are burned out and your company suffers for it. Your company's reputation is really bad. Production has little to no experience in mobile, let alone the game industry, and is more concerned with pretending to put out fires behaviorally than actually doing their job. The mobile market is saturated and highly competitive so start employing people who know what they are doing. Stop treating your talent like children. Be transparent. Allow working from home. Pay industry level wages. People here are living paycheck to paycheck, so be compassionate and pay every second Friday instead of dead center of the month or after the weekend is over. There are new business models out there which you can train and certify for like Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). It may steer your company in the proper direction.

      “Find another employer ”

      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

      I worked at KingsIsle Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)
      Pros
      Getting a job here may get you into the industry. The salary might be competitive, but you don't get quarterly bonuses even if projects are profitable. You'll also know exactly what not to do when you leave this company. If you do as little work as possible or you are just interested in getting a job in games to boast about it, you'll make lots of lifetime friends here. They have fun days once in a while (but you'll need to sign a waiver because you are a child that cannot be trusted).

      Cons
      Worst middle management team you'll ever encounter outside of fast food. Non-art creative decisions are often made by people who shouldn't be creating games. When it comes to really important gaming mechanics, no one wants to risk actually making a decision if it can be put off. Hard work is rewarded with more work. Two faced managers and leads that will never stand up for you. Insanely stupid workflow and deadlines that management pulls out of thin air with no real quantification or technique. Management watches you at all times and probably monitors chat logs. (Lol just had to point that out-CoS)

      Advice to Management


      Leave the industry and find a job selling insurance or some other low tech field.

      All of these reviews are from 2015, i find these very interesting note that there are positive reviews too you can check out for yourself.. What do you guys think does this confirm some of the theories that have been circling around lately. Can this be a explanation to why Polaris felt rushed and not finished and of course is this the explanation to the seemingly lost book 15. Note that these reviews are to be taken with a grain of salt as with anything presented on the internet. I hope and believe KI might break out of this supposed situation and come out on top! But what do you guys think?
      Last edited by Willowdreamer; 1-2-16 at 11:58:41 PM. Reason: removed outside links


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    2. #2
      Child of Stars's Avatar
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      I've done my fair share of research and source checking on the internet and the website on which I found this seems very legit. Also (which I also mentioned) these are only the negative reviews I found which are relative to subjects being frequently discussed on this website.
      Last edited by Willowdreamer; 1-3-16 at 12:01:15 PM. Reason: removed quote of deleted post/reply, removed direction off-site


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    3. #3
      Lord Voldemort's Avatar
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      Every company has it's ups and downs. If every job was perfect there wouldn't be a such thing as an unhappy employee. However, reading the reviews do give you an unsettling look at what goes on behind the curtain. From the looks of it KI has a serious CEO problem with the heads pushing down those who actually have real gaming experience. I also noticed several reviews stating that people are leaving, this is also troubling since people don't up and quit a job for no reason, especially when people are leaving every week as one of the reviews stated.

      This could explain the problem with Polaris and how quickly it jumped from test realm to live (with so many bugs included as well). But there's always two sides of the coin so we can't really say entirely what's going on at KI.
      Last edited by Lord Voldemort; 1-2-16 at 7:51:53 PM.


    4. #4
      Child of Stars's Avatar
        Child of Stars is offline Initiate Wizard
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
      Every company has it's ups and downs. If every job was perfect there wouldn't be a such thing as an unhappy employee. However, reading the reviews do give you an unsettling look at what goes on behind the curtain. From the looks of it KI has a serious CEO problem with the heads pushing down those who actually have real gaming experience. I also noticed several reviews stating that people are leaving, this is also troubling since people don't up and quit a job for no reason, especially when people are leaving every week as one of the reviews stated.

      This could explain the problem with Polaris and how quickly it jumped from test realm to live (with so many bugs included as well). But there's always two sides of the coin so we can't really say entirely what's going on at KI.
      That is true the reason I chose to highlight these reviews is because they're relevant to discussions on this website right now. I do see these reviews as possible reasons to why things lately have been a bit messy, as you said.


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    5. #5
      Hollywood's Avatar
        Hollywood is offline Grandmaster Wizard

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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      Disgruntled former employees complaining about their old jobs. I used to work at Taco Bell and griped about it from the day I started until months after I quit. Obviously they're still in business.

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    6. #6
      Simpumba's Avatar
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      Hopefully they fix the inside issues. This is one of my favorite games, and I've highly respected KingsIsle over the years because of how much they cared. And it's somewhat unsettling that they are somewhat becoming like EA(It's a big publisher/company. They usually force developers to put content out in a short amount of time, which seems to be happening)

      Good post OP. Hopefully this is sorted out soon.

    7. #7
      Novical's Avatar
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      It seems as if anyone can add a review onto the website I think I found. Do they do some type of background check on you/moderate post or something?

      Novical~A Fancier Way of Saying Noob
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    8. #8
      Simpumba's Avatar
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood View Post
      Disgruntled former employees complaining about their old jobs. I used to work at Taco Bell and griped about it from the day I started until months after I quit. Obviously they're still in business.

      Working in the video game industry shouldn't make you angry as a employee, there's no excuse to treat it's employees poorly, or for people to be leaving. Trust me, you don't join a big company, get paid, but leave just "cuz" It's frustrating sometimes yes, when you try to accomplish something that's very difficult to pull off, but by no means should this line of work make people so angry, that they leave.

      Experience: Level designer.

    9. #9
      Child of Stars's Avatar
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      Quote Originally Posted by Glaceon Master View Post
      It seems as if anyone can add a review onto the website I think I found. Do they do some type of background check on you/moderate post or something?
      Getting a membership there seems to be a process as the only option I saw was a 10-day trial (Which probably doesn't let people leave reviews). Also from seeing a lot of the reviews had things in common both negative and positive only strengthens my belief that these are legit.



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    10. #10
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      Re: KI employee Reviews, KI on the decline?

      Put your pitchforks down people.

      Lets all take a step back as players. Yes, we all want to see the game be the best that it can be. But lets stop jumping to the conclusion that KI is "on the decline", "failing", "dying", etc. There are issues in the game for sure, as there is with any game with such a colossal playerbase. You can't please everyone.

      But what we can do as players is voice our frustration calmly and respectfully. We know from past experiences that KI does not tolerate being lectured or yelled at, and from these reviews I would hate to be the one yelling "GIVE ME A REFUND FOR THIS HORRIBLE GAME" at someone who is already clearly disgruntled by their job.

      There's 2 sides to every story. Personally I think some people are just going really overboard and utilizing their slippery slope ideologies to rally people who don't fully understand the issue.
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