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The Best Indie Devs to Work for in 2016, According to Employees

Taking a look at a few of the highest rated indie employers of 2016.

In a world where indie game companies can range from hundreds of employees to a small handful, it’s a hassle figuring out which developers are worth applying to.

Using websites like Glassdoor.com, employees can leave reviews describing the ways different companies work and how they fall short in certain areas -- answering questions lots of questions about the company's work conditions and treatment of employees. It's a great resource for anyone looking for work with one of those developers -- or for anyone (like us) who just want to see which indie developers are the best to work for.

Considering the workplace management, workload, and company perks, we've rounded up a list of a few top-rated independent game developers who, according to their own employees, are great companies to be part of.

DAEDALIC Entertainment

This Hamburg-based company is one of Germany’s most profound developers, with a strong focus on narrative and characters in its games. They are currently in developing The Long Journey Home, a space exploration RPG to be released later this year. (And their demo for another upcoming game, State of Mind, got included in our round-up of the best demos from PAX West 2016.)

Pros:

  • Good working atmosphere
  • Small dedicated teams
  • Flexible hours
  • Wide range of projects

Cons:

  • No overtime payment
  • Many last-minute management decisions that could lead to huge redesigns of a game near completion

“Great team, great games, chaotic production.

Advice to Management: Use a proper development planning method (in our team, there was none at all).”

-- Former Employee (Intern in Hamburg, Germany)

 

Psyonix

Responsible for Rocket League, the game that straps rockets to cars and lets you go nuts, this small company located in San Diego, California also publishes work for other developers in the industry.

Pros:

  • Nice people, friendly environment
  • Fun and wide range of projects
  • Very little crunch
  • Beer Friday

Cons:

  • Many responsibilities at times due to few employees
  • The environment can be too laid-back
  • Very little HR
  • Poor management at times

"Potentially a good studio, but lots of growing to do.

Probably a good place for someone just getting into game development. Staff is young, and seems to enjoy mentoring junior developers.”

--Former Employee (San Diego, CA)

Insomniac Studios

This developer has been around since 1994, creating the Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet and Clank series. Their current games includes Edge of Nowhere for the Oculus Rift and the Metroidvania-style game Song of the Deep.

Pros:

  • Collaborative workplace culture
  • Great work/life balance
  • Paid two-week vacation at the end of the year
  • Company cares about its employees
  • Health benefits

Cons:

  • Scattered focus due to the large number of projects
  • Fast pace and long crunch times

“Everyone contributes ideas, good variety of work, big games without huge teams, everyone is incredibly driven.”

-- Current Employee

From the sound of it, these indie developers are the place to be if you want the best of the best when it comes to work environment and benefits. Are they the companies you expected to see? What others did you think would end up on this list? Let me know in the comments!

Published Nov. 5th 2016

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