Nurturing a positive studio culture with CCP’s London studio

Eve Ship Over City

The games industry’s many company cultures have never been under the microscope to the same extent they are today.

On one side the pandemic has thrown the rulebook into the bin, forcing our industry to work remotely for the last 18 months, a period that looks to now be coming to an end. Providing everyone with a clear opportunity for permanent and far-reaching changes in how we work.

On the other hand, toxic studio cultures have once again been laid bare, with accusations of deplorable behaviors at Blizzard over many years. They aren’t the first and they certainly won’t be the last. Meanwhile, the ongoing debate around crunch and overwork once again raised its head on Twitter in the last week.

So a good culture looks to something that every company needs. But just what is studio culture? How is it created? How do you make it ‘good’ rather than ‘toxic’? And what uses is a good culture once you have it? For all that we turn to CCP London’s studio director, Adrian Blunt.

CULTURE PEACE

We start with a deceptively simple question, what is a studio or company culture?

“My take is that it’s the who, it’s the people in the organization. It’s effectively the personality of the company, that you both project outwardly, but also inwardly. And it comes from the way people interact with each other,” Blunt replies.

“The best cultures, I think, really live the values of the company. In our case: excellence, courage, unity, and honesty. Those are the values that CCP has. It’s inevitably led from the top down. So the leaders of the studio drive that personality within the studio.”

And to that end, they are also responsible for that culture and its outcomes. “Absolutely, it’s the responsibility of the people leading the studio. And they’re ultimately accountable for that culture, and they’re responsible for ensuring that the culture really is one that drives inclusivity throughout the studio,” he points out encouragingly.

People, values, leadership – that wasn’t too hard, though it can’t be as simple as that surely? How then do you go about turning those ingredients into a culture?

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