Outerdawn Studio Interviews at Media Design School
At Media Design School, we are fortunate to have close ties to many industries through our Programme Leaders and their teams, giving our students the best chance at success and allow them to do so well after graduating.
On Friday, our game students were given the opportunity to present themselves and their work to Outerdawn, a New Zealand games studio responsible for titles: Grimguard Tactics, Goblins of Elderstone and Mana Monsters.
Studio Manager Gustav Seymore, Art Director Matt Gretton and Technical Director Mike Page took the time to interview our third years, giving the students the opportunity for their first industry interviews on campus.
Jordan Browne, Programme Coordinator of Media Design School’s game department reflects on the visit: “It’s not just exciting for our students, it’s exciting for studios to come with positions open for juniors that are people nearby, to support local, young talent early in their development.”
His long standing relationship with Outerdawn has led the studio to hire multiple MDS graduates, with them keen to come back for more.
The team mentioned that it was nice to hear that current students are speaking to ex-colleagues and discovering that Outerdawn has a good working environment. And it goes both ways: the two recent hires have been from MDS and have not only a good work ethic, but a good attitude. One has already been promoted, and the reason was not only due to his ambition, but his attitude and, as Matt Gretton puts it “being on”. It’s important to take on responsibilities and constantly improving yourself through self-critiquing and being open to feedback.
Importance of attitude in getting a job
Dreaming about a career in games, a common question will always be ‘What do I need to do? What’s that one thing?” Gustav Seymore believes that 80% of the job is attitude. As an MDS grad, Outerdawn already knows that you can learn and are capable, because you’ve proved it by the 5-plus projects that you’ve already completed. As a junior, you need that attitude to show that you can go further.
I’ve worked amongst other graduates from MDS, working alongside them. You could always tell who the MDS students were. In comparison to the other graduates, MDS students are always on it, always pushing,” says Matt Gretton.
Attitude isn’t just down to the employees though, it needs to come from the top down, and it’s important to know what ambitions Outerdawn has as a whole. Not here to mess around, they want to be the biggest and best studio in the Southern Hemisphere. The aim is to be comparable to King, Riot and Supercell, and they’re laying the foundations now. With three games at various stages of development it’s clear that the studio is hungry and aiming for the top. Mana Monsters is their oldest and most mature game and has a broad, global audience, even going so far as to win the Google “Best Casual Game” in certain regions. For Mana Monsters, the focus is on patches and updates to get it to the top. Their newest game is Grimguard Tactics, a midcore, dark fantasy RPG, still in early development. This game is the one Outerdawn believes will have the potential to becoming a big hit. For Grimguard Tactics, Outerdawn is aiming very high, hoping to compete against games like Raid: Shadow Legends. Their last focus is on Goblins of Elder Stone, a city building simulator, that has been around in early access for a while, but is now being polished to be released properly.
Knowledge and excitement complement each other
With a team of just under 30 people, there is a good mix of different experience, which makes every day in the studio is interesting and exciting. Outerdawn admits they are a little heavy on veterans, but feels that it is advantageous for juniors as it means there are enough people around to mentor them. Seymore believes it’s important to have those pillars of knowledge that people can learn from. It helps too, that Outerdawn recognizes how well the MDS graduates have worked out. They have more energy, more passion and that’s why Outerdawn has returned. Seymore notes “It’s been exciting. The students have good energy and seeing their projects that they have so much confidence in, shows that they know what’s needed. There are so many talented people that we’ve spoken to here already, now we just need to find the right fit.”
The unique partnership allows the opportunity for students to have a job before they graduate from Media Design School. For students that may not be hired in the first round, Seymore reassures “We will keep an eye on them, as we have done for a couple of people from last year. It’s good to meet top performers with good attitudes, and it’s a small industry, so even if they land somewhere else, we want to keep tabs on them.” When opportunities come up, Outerdawn will likely have people already on their radar from previous connections.
Seymore says “Outerdawn is a great place to work at and there’s a lot of freedom to be creative and do what we think is right.”
Thank you so much to Gustav Seymore, Matt Gretton, Mike Page and Outerdawn for taking the time to chat with us, and our students. We can’t wait to see you on campus again soon.