So, I got the job in Halifax! It is official and final. I am moving to Halifax. My life has taken me on some twists and turns, and I never know what to expect next.
It’s a fulltime salary position, and while I don’t think it’d be very classy to say how much, I will say it’s significantly more than I’ve ever made before. It’s also a higher responsibility role than I’ve ever had, but I’ve been ready for more responsibility for a while now, so I’m really looking forward to doing everything I can within the position!
I found out a few days ago, and have been scrambling to get everything sorted out. They pay for moving expenses, and have a corporate apartment they offered to put me in for a few months while I find a place to stay, but it looks like I’ve found an apartment already. It’s a piece of crap, but that’s ok because it’s exactly what I was looking for. I could afford a nicer place, but my plan is to rent a shithole for a year or so and use my extra money to fill it with nice things, and once I have some nice stuff, THEN move into a nice place and have nice things to fill it with. If I moved into a nice place first, it’d seriously offset the extra money I’ll be making and the place would remain empty.
My first day is August 30th. I let my leads at BioWare know next week would have to be my last, and thanked them for everything. BioWare is a fantastic studio. It really managed the impossible by becoming a huge studio without losing its core values and culture. It’s filled with amazing, talented people who were always willing to go out of their way to help. And they make GREAT games. It’s a truly bittersweet moment to be leaving them. And I truly wish them all the best. My 2 years with BioWare have been an invaluable experience, looks great on my resume, and honestly were the best 2 years of my life thus far.
It’s also bittersweet in that my best friend JUST moved to the city, after a year and a half of counting down the days until we’d live in the same city, working at the same dream-job. And after only 2 months I need to move even further than we were when he lived in Winnipeg. It REALLY sucks. Chad was a great room-mate and living together, let alone in the same city, has been awesome. It’s gunna suck to go back to only talking on MSN, playing online games and organizing the odd visit. And now with a 3 hour difference, instead of just 1. Fortunately I’ll be making enough money to help pay for friends’ trips, and since I’ll be pretty lonely at first, you better believe I’ll be paying for a few!
And not just Chad, I also have a lot of great friends I made here in Edmonton over my 2 years here, and I’m really going to miss them. I managed to carve out a life for myself here, and I really loved it. It was mine. It’s a true tragedy to have to leave it behind. My time in Edmonton will always have a special place in my heart. I really grew up here. I found my ambition, my independence and my passion here. In the same way that if I hadn’t gone on my road-trip I never would have had the courage to move out here, if it weren’t for my 2 years in Edmonton and at BioWare I’d never have the courage to move to Halifax for a high-responsibility position at Longtail. It’s kind of fitting that my original destination on my road-trip, all those years ago, was Halifax. And when I realized I didn’t have enough money or time to make it that far, as I turned around and headed back West, I said to myself “My life WILL take me to Halifax some day…”
I did, however, absolutely love Halifax on my visit, and am looking forward to living in such a beautiful city. It will be my first time living by the ocean. And the day I spent at Longtail I got a really good vibe from them. A small group of people passionate about what they do, they have big dreams and are working together to achieve it. I also ran into Neil Bailey there, an old friend from Winnipeg, and he told me he lives there now, so we’re gunna go for drinks sometime once I get down. It’ll be nice to have a familiar face there!
Longtail is a smaller studio than BioWare to be sure. Their last major release was Dance On Broadway for the Wii. It’s selling quite well in the UK! The studio is growing steadily, and I get the impression it will keep growing. So getting in now could be very advantageous! Until now they outsourced their QA so I will be the entire on-site QA department at first. I got a great sense of camaraderie and teamwork, and look forward to joining the team! They also have a very appealing pitch process, where anyone within the studio can pitch a game idea. I’m full of ideas, so once I have one fleshed out a bit more, you can be sure I’ll be pitching it! Who knows, maybe some day you’ll play a game that originated in my murky imagination!
I leave Edmonton next Saturday. I looked at all my options and driving makes the most sense. It will be a LONG drive. Probably close to a week on the road. I’ll be making it to Winnipeg in 1 drive, as I always do, and will probably stay there for a day or two and hang out with family and my Winnipeg friends a bit before heading back on the road.
A new chapter in my life is beginning, and it’s very exciting. But as always, that means another chapter is ending, and that comes with it’s own sadness. But that’s what life is, and I look forward to a new set of challenges and rewards.
For a bit more info on Longtail, this is from their site:
Longtail Studios is a videogame developer started by Gérard Guillemot, one of the cofounders of Ubisoft Entertainment. The founding mission of the company is to create next generation of character driven video games.
Longtail Studios is comprised of four development studios: Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Halifax and New York City. Longtail creates games for the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and the iPhone/iPod Touch.
Quality of life
Longtail Studios doesn’t want to be the place you punch-in for work; we want to be place you are excited to go every day. The people who work at Longtail are passionate about games. They love playing games, talking about games, and of course, making games.
We believe better work environments, good tech and tools, open communication and a collaborative atmosphere make happy game developers and better games. Our teammates are the backbone of our company and we take care of them. Longtail offers comprehensive health, medical, dental and vision insurance programs for our employees and their families. Also during the summer, you can take advantage of a condensed schedule to allow you to have your Friday afternoons free.
Sometimes in game development, working over-time is unavoidable when you want to deliver the best game possible. But at Longtail Studios, we fully compensate extra hours with days off. When you give your best, we want to do the same.
Teamwork and Scrum
Creating the best video games is about collaboration, teamwork and good communication between the teams. Our offices are relaxed, open environments, designed for game development. We make sure that everyone has a way to communicate directly and efficiently with their colleagues.
For the management of its projects, Longtail Studios uses the agile development method known as Scrum. It allows us to greatly improve the productivity of our teams and rests upon our company’s most important values: team spirit, good communication, simplicity, efficiency, quality, and flexibility.
If this suits you, do not hesitate to consult the “Career” section for all the opportunities.
Moving to a new place can sometimes seem complicated. Longtail Studios will take care of paperwork for you, everything from job permits to applications for the selection certificate. We can even help you find a place to call home within your new city. Longtail will also provide you with financial assistance for your relocation, making sure you’ll feel great both at work and home.
Wish me luck in my new home and new workplace!