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Inside the Rebellion – How did you get into the games industry?

Breaking into the games industry can seem like an uphill struggle. There are so many ways to enter the industry, and going to university and getting a degree is only one of them.

We asked some of our excellent Rebellion developers about how they got into the industry. A couple of them knew from a young age that was what they wanted to do, they got a degree and stepped straight into the industry – but there is no one ‘right’ way to get a job in the games industry.

Others came from different industries, some started later on, got an internship, or networked. Check out their comments, stories, and advice below. Or check out the full video on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Tasha Nathani - Technical Producer - Rebellion Oxford

Tasha moved industries from telecoms to games.

“I used to work as a Project Manager for a telecoms company. So I was looking for my next role as a Production Coordinator, kind of just moving my way up and I had a combination of project management and production skills. I did apply for a bunch of animation jobs and games jobs and it was actually Ubisoft that contacted me and gave me my first job in the industry.”

Jordan Woodward - Lead Level Designer - Rebellion Oxford

Jordan knew he wanted to work in games, got a degree, and then landed a QA position at Codemasters.

“I’ve always been passionate about games from a young age … In my spare time, I created levels and maps for games, before I even knew it was a job! How I got into it was, I heard my local college was doing a Game Design BTEC. I just jumped on that. I was like ‘That’s what I want to do! I love games, get me into games!”

“The natural progression for me what to go to University, do a Games Design degree. I studied games design at the University of Gloucestershire. When I graduated there I started as QA, I found a QA role at Codemasters based in Leamington Spa, and I did that for around a year. Then there was a role advertised internally for a Junior Level Designer on a game called F1 Race Stars, which was a bit like a Mario Kart Formula 1 game basically.”

“So I progressed from QA to Junior Level Designer after gaining some experience working alongside the developments teams. And that was a wicked game to work on as a first game!”

Rose Russell - Senior Programmer - Rebellion Oxford

Rose joined us as one of our very talented Summer Interns and is still here over five years later!

“I started as an intern on Sniper 4, doing that over the summer of 2015. And that was really good because I was basically doing the work of a Junior for the summer. Rebellion was really good at bringing me in, actually introducing me to what it means to make a programme from the point of view of code rather than just writing code.”

“And obviously they said, ‘We like you, we want to offer you a job once you’re finished with your degree.’ I then decided that academia wasn’t for me, decided that I wasn’t going to finish my fourth year of university and came to Rebellion, which is why I started in January.”

Scott Hamilton - Junior Level Designer - Rebellion Oxford

Scott won himself a shadowing day courtesy of his university and one of our Lead Artists, made some amazing contacts, and joined us a few months later!

“My university has an event called CJam where people from the industry come and they talk to students and then one or two lucky students get picked to have a shadowing day at that company. Saija Wintersun from Rebellion, one of the Lead Artists, came down to my University and we were told that she was looking for Artists, and I’m not an Artist. But I thought, might as well go down, have a chat to someone from the industry. What could go wrong? I turned up, we had a really nice chat. Talked about what I did, talked about why I love games. Showed her some of my work. I really didn’t expect anything to come out of it.”

“Afterwards, I’m just sat in class doing work and then suddenly my phone starts blowing up. And I’m like ‘what’s going on’ and everyone was ‘you got the shadowing day, you get to go to Rebellion.’ It turns out she picked me and one other guy. We went down, got to look around the office, meet a bunch of people from the level design team, got to sit in on a level design meeting, everyone was really nice and it was a really cool day!

A few months go by, I’m finishing up my third year at uni and then a Junior Level Design spot opens up at Rebellion. I was like ‘ooh, ok, you know I want this!’ So I applied for it, it made for a really good cover level that fact that I’d been down there, and that got me through to interview. Next thing I know I’ve got the place! I hadn’t even graduated yet.”

Anna Ljungberg - Senior Programmer - Rebellion Warwick

Sometimes you have to go into the games industry just because someone said you can’t!

“I went to a uni open day thinking that I wanted to do robotics. Because I didn’t really know what to do and I realized I was quite technical and enjoyed that kinda side. So I went to an open day. Went to the robotics lab, where they show what they do and they were basically just building Lego. So I was like … hmm … I guess I realized I didn’t really want to do the hands-on building side. So I got talking to them and they said maybe you should go and have a look at programming and maybe games programming would be something for you.”

“I then went to the games programming showcase and the Lecturer there told me there was a lot of maths and stuff so maybe I should go and have a look at something else. So that’s why I decided to do it. Just pure – I don’t know what to call it. Determination? Rage? I would have probably done programming anyway. But that was literally my trigger.

Beck Shaw - Assistant Lead Level Designer - Rebellion Oxford

Beck always knew he loved games, studied games and eventually, found his way into the industry!

“I’ve always been a big fan of games, I’ve been playing then since I was like 5/6 years old. So I went to college to study computing, and I never thought I’d get into games. But then an opportunity arose to study games at college, at a very basic level, I studied that. When then took me to University. I studied at University and got a first-class degree. And then I struggled to find a way into the industry. It is quite difficult because I guess there was a lot of graduates around, and you kind of need to find a way in.”

“I did kind of know someone who worked at Codemasters, a friend of a friend, so they got me in for an interview. I didn’t make it the first time but they did call me back a few months later to come and join them. And after that, I was a Level Designer at Codemasters.”

“I was there for 4 years or so. And then I came down to Rebellion and I’ve grown so much since. So I started Rebellion as an Experienced Level Designer I believe, and then I’m a Senior now [now Assistant Lead].”

You can watch the full video from our staff on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn pages, including all of the Rebellion staff that are listed above as well as a very special cat cameo!

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Sniper Elite 4 announced for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

We’re delighted to announce the next game in the 10 million selling Sniper Elite series is launching this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Set in the immediate aftermath of its award-winning predecessor, Sniper Elite 4 continues the series’ World War Two heritage by transporting players to the beautiful and diverse environments of Italy in 1943.

Covert agent and elite marksman Karl Fairburne must fight alongside the brave men and women of the Italian Resistance to help free their country from the yoke of Fascism, and defeat a terrifying new threat with the potential to halt the Allied fightback in Europe before it’s even begun.

If his mission fails, there will be no Operation Overlord, no D-Day landings, and no Victory in Europe.

For more info head to www.sniperelite4.com

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Jason Kingsley responds to John Cridland

Dear John Cridland,

Whilst I share the core arguments of your recent presentation on STEAM subjects and the computer games industry, I must ask you to rethink your characterisation of what is a hugely successful industry as “spotty nerds.” 

I’ve got nothing against anybody who is in fact spotty or a nerd, and whilst I appreciate that sometimes one needs to ‘exaggerate for effect,’ your statement is something that has never been true about the massively valuable games industry even in its nascent days, and is still even less true now.

It is simply counterproductive to stigmatise our highly technical and creative industry with terms like this. Many of my colleagues come from arts and technical backgrounds, sometimes a combination of both. To belittle pure academic achievement with words like nerd or geek is something done by bullies, and is surprising coming from someone in a position to influence the career choices of many young people, some of whom respond to social pressure in ways that may not benefit them in the future. To be a nerd is to be passionate about something, and surely we should want everyone to be passionate about their career?

I’m pretty sure you’ll apologise, and that you didn’t really mean the words you said. It is essential that this country celebrates all types of academic and non-academic achievement, and belittles none. Our industry needs multitalented people from all walks of life and from all backgrounds.

Equality of opportunity is what I hope we offer in the games industry. Not everybody can be successful, but all can try.

By the way, I’m a games designer, artist, boss of Rebellion, jousting knight with warhorse, lance and sword, Oxford full Blue, international sporting competitor and trustee of Her Majesty’s Royal Armouries, as well as Chairman of TIGA, the trade body that represents the games industry.

I would hope I deserve a broader description than “spotty nerd.”

Yours sincerely,

Jason Kingsley OBE