Giants Software, the Farming Simulator creator ploughing a distinctive furrow
The Farming Simulator creator ploughing a distinctive furrow in game development “MANY CONSIDER FARMING SIMULATOR A NICHE PRODUCT, BUT THE SALES TELL US IT’S A PRETTY BIG NICHE”
Founded in 2004, Giants Software is best known for the Farming Simulator series, which has sold over eight million copies across all platforms to date. A small independent studio with around 40 staff split between its two studios in Zürich and Erlangen, Giants gives most new starters the choice between working in Switzerland or Germany. It’s currently looking to fill two positions: a web developer and a gameplay programmer.
What sets Giants Software apart from other developers?
Our product, the Farming Simulator series, is unique. Many consider it a niche product, but the sales tell us it’s a pretty big niche. It’s built with our bespoke Giants Engine which gives us the freedom we need to make this special game. As it’s the only game we’re actively developing, we can be really focused on it, which is important because the community pays close attention to even the smallest details. We develop Farming Simulator for players who want to take a break from competitive pressure or games which require quick reaction times.
Can you tell us a little about the culture at the studio?
With around 20 people in each of the two offices you get to know all of your colleagues very well. The hierarchy across the whole organisation is very flat: if you have an idea and want to present it, you know where to go, and if it’s a good one it will be implemented quickly. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal. Staff treat each other with respect, but it’s also OK to make jokes and laugh together. Since most people speak German, it’s good to know the language, but in fact, being able to communicate in English is mandatory. We offer company-paid language courses for German and English. In terms of the work, we plan ahead in order to avoid crunch.
What attributes are you looking for in candidates?
Your CV and references are important, of course, and you should know your stuff, but for us it’s equally important that you want to work on Farming Simulator and have fun playing videogames. We want team players: we spend plenty of time with you during the week, so it’s good when the chemistry is right. We’re proud of the team spirit we’ve created here and want to keep it up.
Do you need a knowledge of farming?
It can be an advantage for certain positions, but it’s not mandatory. A third of our employees have some sort of farming background – the rest started here with a fairly average knowledge of farming, though you learn a lot while you’re here.
What’s it like to work with such a passionate fanbase? Have events like FarmCon changed the way you work with your community?
It’s incredibly inspiring but also a challenge. The more passionate people are about something, the more they will pay attention to detail. We have a very diverse fan base from young to old, farmers and non-farmers, so we have to find the right balance to make the game a great experience for everyone. Events like FarmCon are perfect for getting to know players even better. It allows us to get the most direct feedback possible and strengthen close relationships with key players to improve the game.
Though a close familiarity with farming is by no means mandatory for Giants staff, Rabl says new employees are likely to become keen tractor-spotters before too long. “Like football fans elsewhere, you’ll find fan groups of different farming manufacturers here,” he says