I also made a facebook post about this but would like to drop it here also to gather thoughts from the various industry folks who frequent - It is a little bloggy but I would hope it doesn't get pulled because I do think it's quite important.
I think a lot of 'yet to be artists in the games industry' don't realize what it takes to reach that point of seeing art in an art dump.
They see the art and they fantasize about how awesome it must be to be that person, or to be part of that awesomeness. The part that they never fantasize about is actually what it takes to reach that point, but rightly so, as they have no idea.
Actually mastering the technicalities of producing the art is just one (and probably most obvious) of *many* facets that go in to reaching that point, and we have many resources now available to help the individual conquer this, check the polycount wiki for example!
But there is often a whole swag of nonsensical / political, social, hierarchical and power struggles along with many other difficulties (depending on the studio and situation) that must be overcome both personally and as a team to get there.
I think this is one of those areas that no one likes to discuss for fear of saying the wrong things about any given studio or person, and likely hurting their career long term.
But I know for a fact its these kind of non art related issues that are a common venting topic amongst friends over drinks, ie 'the goss'
It's always an enlightening and sometimes surprising conversation, as no matter how farfetched the story there is generally always a common underlying truth and consistency to them.
From my experience, I am easily able to stand back and tip my hat with the power of an exploding sun towards those companies who manage to consistently produce top quality games and keep most of their employees happy in the process.
This is absolutely not easy to accomplish, for both the individual and for the company as a whole.
So to *any* studio that succeeds on that level, I would encourage the leads or managers to be more open about how they accomplished the HR side of things from both a personal perspective, and from the teams perspective.
What problems did you face as individuals, how were they overcome? If they weren't, why not? What problems did you face as a team? Did you conquer them or put them aside for long enough to ship the game and deal with them later?
I guess ultimately what I'm asking is, what is the true cost of the individual to reach the finish line. If it was too great, why? If the cost was well worth it, why?
The goal isn't to start a negative debate or too poo-poo any given studio, its to share information about what worked and what didn't and hopefully why. And I hope some of the big hitters will come out and summarize what their experience has been like so far, positive and negative.
I think most brand new and eager recruits have no idea what they are actually getting into here. It's so much more than your individual specialty, they assume they will join a company, and get to work on the next big thing, and are both clueless and ill-equipped to deal with 'what it's really like'.
I'll write my experience down shortly.