A fast-growing studio that’s open to creative risks
That’s why we give a lot of autonomy to our guys. We know that if we stipulate people have to use specific tools, they’ll lose part of their ownership of that project and they’ll be forced to make decisions that they’re not really happy with, which would be a destructive experience. I understand why many companies working on huge projects use common tools to save money and time, but currently we see more negative points in that. We just let people choose what they feel is the best. And, of course, they’re responsible for that! We’re still trying to keep the feeling of a startup, and startups don’t need to balance between effective tools and corporate standards – they choose what fits them best at any given moment.
So how does the Hit Filter work?
The idea appeared last year. The free-toplay game industry in general has a really turbulent atmosphere, and the market changes every week, with hundreds of applications appearing. So if we want to succeed, we have to adapt fast. This filter idea came in as we started to have a bigger share of the market. There are tens of thousands of games, and the chance of success is really low – that’s why we need to concentrate only on the games that we believe will be top hits. We want to only work on the best games, and so that means starting many games, checking them constantly, and stopping the games that are not good enough.
And what about Lab Time?
It was one of the measures that appeared when we brought in the Hit Filter. By design, Hit Filter means stopping projects even when the team has got quite big, and so it’s impossible for the whole team to start work on a new project. Lab Time means you can learn the things you want to, so developers and engineers can use the time to learn new engines or even languages, or develop a specific feature that’s useful for the whole company. It works really well, and I’m happy to have it. It’s important for people to be honest with themselves; for the Hit Filter to work, they need to be able to stop. If there was no Lab Time, people would be afraid to say that, because they might lose their role or job. We want to create a culture where failure is all right. We will make hit games, but we will fail many times along the way, and it’s good to fail!
What are Wooga’s ambitions?
It’s really exciting to see how the audience for gaming has exploded, and our vision is that in five to six years, playing games – not just ours – will be as commonplace as listening to music or watching TV.
Wooga’s home – all open plan, with no closed offices – used to be a bread factory, and still has giant flour dispensers hanging from the ceiling