Hi everybody! For this Dev Blog I sat down to chat with Eros, Hoplon’s Head of Studio, and he told us about all the challenges, responsibilities and joys of taking charge of Heavy Metal Machines’ development. Check it out:
What is it like to be the Head of a game development studio?
Being Head of a game development studio is a dream come true! Simple like that. Yet, it’s not a simple or easy task, as today, directly or indirectly, my role is to be responsible for the professional life of 55 people.
As Head of Studio, I act by managing everything that happens in the studio, such as content development, feature development, hiring hoplites (as we call each other here at Hoplon), define the budget, controlling funds, etc. My role is to be responsible for dictating the rhythm and the way the studio should work.
What are the motivations that lead you to choose this profession and Hoplon?
My greatest motivation has always been my passion for games. I was lucky that ever since my first job I almost always worked within the game industry, ended up spending a year out of the industry, making phone apps, but as soon as I had the opportunity to come back to the game industry here at Hoplon I didn’t think twice, accepted the proposal without even thinking about it that much, even if at that moment I would be receiving a bit less than my previous job.
Something else that truly motivated me was to be able to develop people, see those getting started or others that already had experience in the industry with the same spark in the eyes that I have and at the same time having myself contribute to these people’s professional development.
How did you get to the Head role? What was needed to make it happen?
I knew what I wanted to work with since 1990, when I was 10 and got a Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) as a gift, and since then I started to try to understand better how games are made, and it was starting with experimenting on MSX that I started “playing” with making games. I’ve always been very focused on my studies, and during my graduation, I would request from my teachers to alter my university assignments so that I could do something related to game development.
I started my career as a Game Developer Analyst in 2000, and since then I’ve been in the game industry, and in more than twenty years I’ve participated in and published over 30 games, to several different platforms such as PC, Mobile, and Consoles.
In 2007 I started leading a development team and naturally took more responsibilities and started acting as a Producer in 2008 already, which I tend to joke saying I was a Project Manager with a few more responsibilities. The change for a Head of Studio or Studio Manager was once again natural, and it happened here at Hoplon in 2016 after being in the company for a year.
Can you give us some examples of the most common tasks of a Studio Head?
Meetings! Hahahaha. I wish that were a joke, but it isn’t. To keep things in line, we need to make meetings with the leads as well as other teams. We have weekly meetings to align everything. I also make meetings with Game Designers to discuss the features being developed, the same way with the product team to discuss the upcoming features and content, after all, we need to plan with months in advance what will be our new HMM character, what will be our next Metal Pass theme. By being a large and multidisciplinary team, part of my time is to ensure the teams have good communication, that the problems and conflicts get resolved, that the expectations are met, and so on. Oh, did I mention I do meetings? After all of this, when I get a bit of spare time, I play. 🙂
Other than yourself, which other leads are supporting you in the studio’s development side of things?
In the studio, we’re approximately 55 people separated in a few teams, each having their own lead, who support me in the workflow of the tasks, including Development Coordinator, Art Lead, User Interface Lead, Game Design Lead, QA Lead, and IT Lead. Our leads act directly within their teams, making sure that the processes are being followed, deadlines being met, assuring the quality…
Other than the leads, we have a Game Director and Art Director, who are the ones responsible for directing the project and also looking at everything being produced from a critic standpoint. And, of course, to help organize our activities we have our Project Manager.
What are the main challenges, and what do you expect for the future?
One of the most significant challenges every team leader faces is to be able to keep everybody motivated, even on a project being developed for 5 years we need to keep the team motivated and challenging themselves in everything that is new and being delivered.
My desire for the future is obviously HMM’s and Hoplon’s success, and that it will reflect in my career so that hopefully one day I can reach an upper management role.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I would ask the following from our blog readers:
To our players, keep contributing with feedback for HMM, we’ll always listen to you!
To the professionals around, did you know we’re hiring? Here’s our link:
Amazing! Did you enjoy Eros’ journey?
Check out our other posts regarding HMM’s development!
See you at the arenas!
All the best,