Henry Hoffman, director at Newfangled Games, tells us about the strengths of working with diverse individuals and being a jack-of-all trades at a small indie developer.
What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day?
I’m technically the CEO at Newfangled Games but I’ve been an indie dev for nearly 15 years. I’ll spend a couple of hours in the morning doing biz-dev and emails, then the rest of my day will be jumping between game design, Jira, art, audio design and a bit of programming. Whilst I’m still a jack-of-all trades, we are slowly hiring more people to replace me! The goal is to eventually have more autonomous teams and for me to focus on building a great company and a great place to work.
What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land your job?
I founded my first indie studio in University, so never really needed qualifications or experience. University was a great time to start a company as it allowed three years of failing with no financial overheads, and I was allowed to use a lot of the development work towards my coursework. The game I built at University ended up winning a BAFTA and getting into the paid top 3 on our target platform, so that carried a lot more weight for me than qualifications in the long term.
If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?
Whilst it varies from role to role, generally we look for diversity of thought, so individuals from different cultures, with different life experiences, and interests outside of just videogames. We look for people who like tinkering, building things for fun, making things that are cool but not necessarily commercially viable.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
As a tiny indie studio with only three full-time employees, any career progression is really closely tied with the long term growth of the company. We recently ran an internship with the Norwich University of the Arts, which then turned into a paid junior designer contract, which we’re looking at making a full-time employee early next year. We are always happy to take risks on juniors and provide adequate training and mentorship, with the goal of their roles growing into senior positions as the company grows.