Avalanche Studios is one of the largest privately held, independent studios in the world. Our goal is simple: to develop the best open world games in the industry. To achieve this monumental mission, we believe in hiring the best and providing a diverse and supportive environment where great talent can flourish. Here's how.
Welcome! Below, we aim to share everything you need to need to know about Avalanche Studios. We'll go into every aspect of the studio; culture, technology, benefits and more. But if you don't have the time to dive in just yet, here's the short and sweet version. If you'd like to sneak peek at the new Avalanche Studios studio space in Stockholm, click here.
Avalanche Studios is the original "creator" of the award-winning Just Cause franchise (published by Square Enix) with the third entry released on December 1st, 2015. Just two months prior, we released Mad Max (published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment).
During the 13 years since the company was founded, Avalanche Studios has also created acclaimed twin stick shooter Renegade Ops (published by SEGA) and self-published free-to-play service theHunter (developed by subsidiary Expansive Worlds) which now has over 6 million registered players across 190 countries.
Avalanche Studios was founded by Christofer Sundberg and Linus Blomberg. It is still privately held, and both founders spend their time developing the emergent gameplay and cutting edge proprietary technology that is at heart of every Avalanche Studios game.
In 2011, we opened our doors in New York City. Having a presence on each side of the Atlantic is beneficial in many ways, from publisher relations to hiring the greatest talent and offering a unique work environment. It goes without saying that team members have the opportunity to exchange ideas, visit or even move between our studios.
Nothing is more important than our developers, so we work hard to ensure their health and happiness. We believe in a sound work/life balance and go to great lengths to protect this often championed but rarely realized concept.
There you have it, in a nutshell. Sounds interesting? Keep going to learn more.
Thanks to our proprietary technology, the Avalanche Engine, our design teams are empowered to create explosive, emergent gameplay in beautiful open worlds.
There are a number of unique opportunities that come with using in-house developed, one of kind technology: it's designed entirely with Avalanche Studios' games in mind, it's ever-evolving (always in the same direction we are) and if you ever need support or have feedback, the people who created the engine are probably grabbing a coffee just around the corner.
-- Everything we do is geared toward the end goal of creating explosive open worlds, says Studio Lead Architect Johan Fläckman. Our strength lies in the ability to create custom solutions for every aspect of the engine. I would say that's a prerequisite for us as a relatively small company to be able to compete with the biggest teams and games throughout the AAA world. Read the full interview with Johan Fläckman here.
Everyone at Avalanche Studios – from founders and producers to engineers and artists – strive to ensure an industry leading work/life balance. Overtime is considered a failure. As such, it's the exception, not the norm.
As the games industry grows and evolves, so do many of the people who call it home. If you are a parent, we support you in a number of ways. And it's paying off. In a recent equality survey conducted by Avalanche Studios, more than 94% of all responding parents reported feeling supported.
In any largely sedentary industry, health initiatives are important. We offer massages and meditation during work hours, along with a variety of sport activities like soccer, basketball, yoga, badminton, kickboxing and running. Our studios are stocked with healthy eating options, hot and cold drinks and fresh fruit. We have BBQ nights, Friday beers and Monday breakfasts. Most of the time we celebrate for a reason, but sometimes... Just 'cause.
Our open-world mindset extends to our physical space. We don't believe in confining creative talent within walls, figuratively or literally. This belief is expressed in a few different ways.
The founders run the company and take part in everything we do, just like they did a decade ago. They don't have walled-off offices. Their primary passion and focus is still to create amazing games.
As a developer at Avalanche Studios, you are not constrained by a hefty set of rules, policies or guidelines. While we are always happy to help, we believe in your judgement and more importantly in your freedom to shape the way you create, collaborate and communicate, inside and out of the studio.
Transparency is important to us. We want our objectives, strategies and goals to be visible to all Avalanchers. We also want every Avalancher to share their hopes, motivations and - let's not pretend they don't exist - frustrations, with us. To this end, we conduct recurring surveys to find out what we're doing well, and what needs to improve. Our founders and managers have been known to schedule one-on-one meetings with every single employee, or invite everyone to "Ask Us Anything" style open forums where questions can be asked anonymously. The Operations team evaluates and adapts their work every fourth month, based on the feedback they get from every other discipline in within the company.
In short - as an Avalancher, if you say something, we hear you.
Being a privately held company has its advantages. The stock market does not dictate which games we create - we do. Strategic decisions are not made by some far removed board, but by the founders and managers that work alongside everyone else, building our games. We are not locked into working with one parent company. Because we're corporate orphans we can (and do) choose our publishing partners wisely. Over the years, we have worked with SEGA, Square Enix and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, to name a few.
At Avalanche Studios, we do not only work within teams dedicated to creating amazing open-world games. We also belong to something called Crafts; teams based around disciplines that function independently of studio locations and projects.
- Crafts serve a number of different and important purposes, explains Jennie Wilund, Studio Manager in Stockholm. We designed this framework to create a greater sense of place and direction. We want to allow competence to evolve and spread within a given discipline, across our current projects. It's a way to for senior staff to share their knowledge, but also to make sure that ideas from new Avalanchers are heard and considered.
Crafts serve a strategic purpose, where every developer is invited to shape the company's future. They are of course guided by the general direction set by the founders and owners, but within the Art, Programming or Animation Crafts (to name a few), any given individual has a chance to make a significant impact in the long term strategic goals. We believe this creates an organic, inclusive forward momentum which is unique to Avalanche Studios.
At Avalanche Studios, we believe in developing our talent by offering clear career paths and development plans. We strongly believe in knowledge sharing between teams, projects and individuals. We arrange regular workshops where Avalanchers can share information they acquired during a trade show, lecture or trip to a partner company. There is always a delegation of Avalanchers at GDC in San Francisco and in Cologne. For those not able to attend, we have started to mirror the event locally - but not simply by rehashing what those fortunate enough to go were able to learn. Within each team, there's a wealth of intrinsic knowledge. By scheduling formal talks during lunches and work hours, we make sure that knowledge permeates the entire organization.
Our premises tell the story of our games, from the hood of the car we pumped full of lead during a sound session, to old skeletons and framed knives. We think of them as functional art. Our studios provide cutting edge technology, comfortable and functional work spaces, exhaustive reference libraries and amazing views of Stockholm and New York City.
From the vibrant and culturally unparalleled Soho district in New York to Södermalm in Stockholm, increasingly known as Northern Europe's premiere tech and gaming hub, we offer suitably inspiring surroundings for the new stars of the entertainment industry.
As one of the biggest indie developers in the world, we do things a little differently. While we have processes in place to keep development progressing smoothly, there is also room for quirks and big personalities. We never want to become a faceless corporation and we're working hard to always remember our garage roots. There's a certain amount of chaos, not only in our open-world games, but also in how we create them. Not a lot, just enough to keep things interesting. After all, we're creating games, and creativity lives next door to chaos.
What's the expression most commonly used to describe New York City? Well, except "The Greatest City in the World" (which is true, by the way). It's called a "melting pot", and it is. It's where the smartest, most talented and driven people from all over the world come to make it. Stockholm is a much smaller city, but equally progressive, inclusive and unique. Avalanche Studios want to help drive diversity in both cities. We happily welcome people of any ethnicity, sexuality, background or belief. If you are a respectful individual and a passionate professional, that's all that matters. We'd love to have you.
We believe in intrinsic motivation. Creating the greatest open-world games is what truly drives us. That said, a little outside encouragement never hurt anyone. To help us reward the efforts made by our incredible teams, we created the Power-Up Program. It's a unique motivational program which offers instant rewards, clearly tied to company goals. We work and succeed as one team.