In the latest in our series of Q&As, we talk to Tim Heaton, Studio Director at The Creative Assembly.
What do you do at CA?
I’m the Studio Director, which involves me understanding what Sega need from us, and setting up a situation where we can deliver that. I get to do strategic stuff, financial stuff, development process stuff, recruitment stuff, all sorts. I absolutely love it.
What did you do before CA?
I was at EA Partners for seven years, working with external teams being published by EA. That included Lionhead, Free Radical Design and Crytek amongst others, and getting involved in due diligence with lots of other developers around Europe. My role was to work with the teams, advising best practice, delivering what EA needed, and supporting in all development aspects. It involved lots of travel, and once I’d collected every gold card for every airline and hotel chain I decided my job was done.
What’s CA like?
It’s multifaceted. We have a core of extremely experienced talented staff, who bring with them a certain heritage and depth of knowledge. We also are continually bringing in bright new graduates who are more than capable of finding innovative ways to solve problems. We’re pretty multinational and with Sega’s business help we can relocate staff from anywhere in the world. We have team members from 13 different countries at the moment. We’re very friendly – it can be a competitive environment because we want passionate people who want to make a difference, but it’s all done in an open, collaborative manner, and we are small enough to never feel corporate. We try and spend time communicating what’s going on, and we split the teams into functional sub groups within the 2 main game teams, so we keep the organic and ‘craft’ driven feel, rather than a big machine like some of the big publisher internal teams.
How do you get a job at CA?
Here’s something that will help – bring something that you did in your own time. Whether it be code, art, audio, do some work all of your own that expresses your ability and your enthusiasm. Great games are made by people who really care and have a hunger to succeed. Show it.
Tell us a secret?
I once took Dolly Parton out for lunch (She was funny, intelligent and tiny).