When game developers started packing up last spring to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I suspect we all knew it was going to be a bumpy ride. Sure enough, there have been game delays galore over the past year as many studios found the adjustment to be a challenge. On the bright side, some seem to have really taken to it. Hi-Rez Studios, the folks behind Smite and Paladins, say “the pandemic has taught us new ways to work that we believe are superior to our previous way of operation.” They’ll be encouraging 80% of their 435 employees to work remotely if they choose to.
“We want to offer employees a great balance between work and life, while also offering the best opportunities to create great games with amazing people, sharing their creative work with tens of millions of players across the globe,” says studio CEO Stewart Chisam. “Our games are global, and we should be as well.”
“This is a talent-based business, and we want to meet the best talent where they are as we build a culture of freedom and responsibility for our creative staff so we can achieve victory, together,” Chisam also said.
Hi-Rez will be keeping office spaces in Alpharetta, Georgia in the US and Brighton, England in the UK. For those that want to work away from the office, Hi-Rez say that employees can work from “most locations in the USA or UK, with work being done to expand the program across Europe.” They say that most of their jobs will allow flexible work options. Presumably there are some roles that are genuinely difficult to perform off-site. They also mention rethinking how meetings and studio social events are run to better accomodate remote employees.
Hi-Rez aren’t the first to announce plans to extend remote work past the pandemic. Square Enix have made similar plans, for one. As a trend, this honestly seems pretty grand. Hi-Rez have the right of it. Allowing employees to be located anywhere in either country has real potential to increase the diversity of their talent pool. That’s good for all of us.