“We have worked hard to create an environment where people enjoy coming into work and feeling empowered, but also listened to” – Firesprite in the Recruiter Hotseat

The Liverpool-based studio Firesprite is hiring! Sharan Bassi, senior recruiter, tells us more about the studio.

What differentiates your studio from others?

Firesprite was founded with the goal of creating incredible experiences on new hardware platforms. We are based in a region of the UK which has a long heritage in the UK games industry, dating back to Psygnosis in the 8-bit era and then subsequently Sony Liverpool Studios. Our founders have decades of collective experience across business, art, production, code and design disciplines and we believe that these agnostic foundations have fostered more collaborative and inclusive sensibilities in the way we operate at Firesprite. There is no single discipline which takes priority in the way we ‘think’ and our teams are encouraged to be creatively brave, to speak out and also to be responsive to the fast changing industry around us.

What is the culture like at your studio?

We are a friendly bunch of game developers from all experience levels and backgrounds. I spoke to some of our aspirations before but we also value professionalism, and an entrepreneurial spirit too. We have worked hard to create an environment where people enjoy coming into work and feeling empowered, but also listened to. We have an open-door policy all of the way up to the senior leadership team including our MD, Graeme. In these times of COVID and especially when we have grown pretty rapidly over the last two years, our people engagement team have been doing a great job to keep staff connected both formally via internal updates and informally via remote events arranged for staff also!

How many staff are you currently looking to take on?

As I mentioned, we have grown rapidly in the last few years – not only just in terms of people but our processes, ambitions and the opportunities available for our development teams. It’s a really exciting time to join Firesprite; we have over 60 open roles across all disciplines and levels of seniority across a variety of really exciting projects and we’ll continue to grow well into 2021!

What perks are available at your studio?

There are numerous that we have introduced – healthcare, mental wellbeing support, enhanced paternity and maternity allowances alongside a company bonus scheme and competitive salary. We’ve refactored holiday leave also so that Christmas closures are not deducted from allowances, bringing holiday leave to over 30 days a year and for those who want to get fit and reduce their carbon footprint, we are introducing a cycle scheme when we reopen the office for those who wish to take advantage of it.

We are also planning for the remote future with solely remote, in office and flexible location working as and when we are ready.

Has the pandemic affected recruitment?

We’ve been fortunate enough to be in an industry that has thrived during what has been a terrible time for a lot of people. It has also been an adjustment for Firesprite, but one that we were able to take in our stride. We have continued to hire and took on over 85 people last year, the vast majority during the pandemic.

The pandemic also brought forward one of our goals to offer remote work. All our roles are open to remote options as well as in-house or even opportunities for hybrid, when it’s of course safe to do so and we’re working on how we manage the flexible location working in practical terms when it’s safe to do so, for those employees that choose to.

How have you onboarded staff remotely?

We were prepared for the pandemic in early 2020 and our management team set up a steering group to safely move our employees out of the studio and to layout an onboarding process to keep the recruitment pipeline moving forwards. This involved liaising with hiring managers, getting the logistics of securing and sending kit/software to our new employees alongside frequent communications throughout the process.

IT, HR and the Dev teams played a huge part in keeping us moving in that regard and we haven’t slowed down during the pandemic, continuing to hire and continuing to look at ways to improve how we onboard our new ‘Sprites’! We have regular touchpoints with any new starters before they join us, right up to their first day. One thing we were very aware of from early stages is how daunting it can be to start a new role when you’ve never actually met anyone you’ll be working with, we want to make sure all new starters receive the Firesprite warm welcome from the moment that they accept an offer and know where to go if they need to speak to us!

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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