The Employer Reviews Thread
This thread is a collection of anonymous, verified accounts of work experiences with pixel-art-oriented companies around the world. Pixelation's moderators and administrators personally review and research every submission before posting it to this thread. The goal of this thread is not to provide cut-and-dried "ratings" or "approval" of the companies or organizations featured, but to enable our users to make more informed decisions, and to increase the quality of connections made in our Employment Forum. Many industries provide resources like this, but to my knowledge none exists for pixel artists.If you would like to submit a review, please PM Crow, and it will be added to this thread.
However, we do have some simple guidelines that will determine what reviews are presented here:
- Proper spelling and grammar are of paramount importance!
- This is not a gossip column. Please provide information, not opinions.
- Do not feel the need to compare the company you are reviewing to other companies. Readers will gather the information themselves and make well-informed choices on their own.
- Reviews will be posted anonymously. Please avoid blatantly identifying yourself!
Employers: If I have incorrectly named/identified your organization, or inappropriately summarized your primary activities/platforms, please notify me ASAP!Finally, I would like to steadfastly and vehemently impress upon any organizations or employers featured here that the following content in no way representative of the opinions or ideas of the Pixelation moderation and administration staff. While we do serve as editors for this content, we do not OWN it, and we are NOT the authors.Reviews
5th Cell Media [Mobile & Nintendo DS]:
Battle Phase Games [Casual PC]:
- "Excellent developer with great dedication toward original franchises."
Capricom Mobile (Luke Miller) [Mobile]:
- "Really nice to work with. Pretty nice rates. Very prompt payement. Open to new artists. Explanation sometimes a bit vague, but compensated for with loads of artistic freedom."
- "Initially I was offered roughly half of a minimal hourly wage suggested here on Pix. I was able to easily negotiate a fair price, tho. The money was ALWAYS late, usually several weeks, at times even months. Most of the time I wouldn't get my money untill another project came up. They were routinely unavailable on chat or via email when were in 'payment' phase. Of course, this wasn't the case when they were expecting me to deliver pixels. Very tight deadlines for mockups, poor management on GD game that resulted in having to completely redo significant portions. After my work on the last project was done, money was constantly being promised, but delayed, and this went on for months. This eventually culminated in Luke Miller lowering my already agreed-upon freelance rate for these 80 hours worth of work. I agreed to this, fearing that otherwise I'd never see my money, and sure enough I got it pretty soon. This was a year ago. The game came out recently (published by Glu), and my name is not in the credits."
EA Mobile [Mobile Games]:
- "The work itself could have been fun and challenging but the sheer volume of sprites demanded is not reflected in the price they are willing to pay. Negotiations are unproductive and discussions over timescales and cost are seldom answered. The deadlines are unrealistic and the restraints imposed through unprofessional attitudes only adds to the negative sides of working for this client. If you are prepared to work for less than $1 per sprite, and draw somewhere in the region of 700-1000 sprites in a week then this could be the right client for you."
FLARB [Mobile Games]:
- "Great people, interesting assignments, lots of creative freedom, but contracts/payment is a mess. A fantastic team if you don't mind hounding people for your money."
- "The rates are quite good, but the paperwork and invoice process is very slow and convoluted. NDAs, contracts, specially formatted invoices, low level of communication between departments, etc etc. EA works mostly with licenses and existing franchises, so you may find yourself with some arbitrary limitations imposed on your work by suits at both EA and the license holder. Art direction ranges from inspired to utterly confusing. In the end I was pretty happy with the pay and the quality of work I was able to do for them."
FTMobile [Mobile Games]:
- "Enthusiastic leadership, lots of creative control. Bad but prompt pay. Recommended for talented beginners with fair knowledge of mockups, HUD/menu layouts."
Gameloft NYC [Mobile Games]:
- "Disappointing experience. Leadership was poorly informed, pay was bad, negotiation problems, major mid-project spec changes, insistence on poor design ideas hampered final product. Feedback was slow and vague."
glu [Mobile Games]:
- "Expect ubiquitous management issues: remote decisions, language barrier, infrequent/brusque/sometimes misleading feedback, high turnover, low starting salary. Artists work under the game designers, who are often new to the industry (English majors, etc.). Projects often require indexed photographs and concept art. Limited/no creative freedom. The benefits are satisfactory (health and dental) and New York City has its own appeal."
Heavy Cat Studios [Various]:
- "I worked one short job for them, as they rarely/never use contractors, but the feedback was rapid and informed. Pay was very good, but took 6-8 weeks to arrive."
- "Working freelance for them is more of a one time chance thing as they seem to rely more on their on-site crew. The projects they work with are fun and usually spiced with Kenneth Fejer all over them graphically. Payment is good, but not as fast as you would wish."
Helixe [Nintendo DS]:
- "Pay is uncertain, and the pay is around rates for beginners. Leadership is uninformed and I have been asked to replicate a style which uses non-pixel art tools. Due to how the studio is structured, expect to be working in the dark; you will not be able to see how your sprites and tiles are used in practice. On the other hand, they are very lax when it comes to expectations of the quality of your work or anyone else's work. Whether this is good or bad depends on your ideal level of professionalism."
Id Software Mobile [Mobile Games]:
- "Very professional shop, offered decent amount of freedom per animation."
Jet Set Games [iPhone]:
- "Pay very random and generally low, but reliable pay. Half the team are interns and there is a very high turn over rate. Vague and almost always negative feedback - even on the finished artwork. Management makes many unprofessional remarks about personal topics and employees (This is separate from the main Id Software). Problematic features are insisted upon despite protests from the whole team. The only good things were the people on the team (who were really awesome) and project itself. A good way to get your foot in the door if you donít mind being an intern for a year. The work is an odd combination of pixel art and traditional art."
MaxArtists [Mobile Games] (now defunct?):
- "The art director was helpful, friendly, and professional. Payment was three months late, requiring several dunning actions to extract. Approach with caution."
MGA [Toys & Games]:
- "Steady work, easy to work with management. Paid well."
- "They went bankrupt many years ago and many people did not get their paychecks, including me."
Pretty Good Games [Casual PC Games]:
- "Paid incredibly well, nice to work with and very open to suggestions."
Pronto Games [Mobile Games]:
- "Lots of creative control, decent & prompt payment, feedback was sometimes a little vague. Recommended for artists with good grasp of other mediums, not just pixel art."
Q8IsMobile [Mobile Games]:
- "Very receptive to new talent, willing to give fresh artists a foot in the door."
Requiem Software Labs [Hiptop/Sidekick Games & Applications]:
- "Best company (a two-man or so team) I worked for. I only revamped some graphics for their first game. Provided very detailed design documents which made making graphics very simple. Great communication, okay money and paid quickly."
Two Tribes [Mobile & Nintendo DS]:
- "I am currently working on my fifth freelance game project with them, and it has been a very positive experience. The rates are OK, but they pay very promptly. The supervision is excellent, and you generally have a lot of creative flexibility. Some jobs do include simple asset resizing, but they only support a limited number of platforms, which lightens the load a bit. Recommended for mid-level artists who have good foundations and creative drive."
WayForward Technologies [Nintendo DS]:
- "Nice bunch of folks, very easy to work with."
- "Excellent company. Good pay and offers a lot of creative freedom to artists."
- "Working with them has been a fantastic experience. Nice staff, great and prompt pay, and usually they offer quite a lot of creative flexibility."
- "Lately, from my experience as well as talking with other artists who have worked for them, things have been going down-hill fast. They seem to have a new policy to pay the absolute minimum they can - and even lower their rates on you from project to project. Artists end up being bullied just because of the prestigious nature of a Wayforward title on their belt. They take advantage of younger (yet promising) artists who don't have a grasp of their artistic value. As a seasoned professional, they can only offer a third of what i'd probably require - and on top of that, you will most likely find yourself doing many revisions. Good quality control, but bad if you're already getting paid poorly." MOD EDIT: I've verified that they have since fixed their pay-scales.