March 2014

A Team of Veterans

At Torus, we've spent decades building our amazing team. 39% of our workforce have been with us for over 10 years. At the end of this year, 20% of our staff will have been with us for 15 years. If we count the employees who have returned to us after sabbaticals, that rises to 45% of staff who have reached their 10-year anniversary and 22.5% who have been with us for 15 years!

In 2014, we have three 15-year staff anniversaries to celebrate. In 2015, we start with the 20-year anniversaries… china is the traditional gift!

Our head of production, who celebrated 15 years with the company last month, has been kind enough to walk us down memory lane.

February 1st, 1999 was my first day in the games industry. I was hired as a video game tester to work on Duke Nukem for the Game Boy Color (Hi Tony!). For the first few months I also worked on Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy (Hi Seth!), Dick Johnson's V8 Challenge (Hi Sebastian! and NBA Showtime (Hi Zach!). I also worked on Yoda Stories and the tail end of Beavis and Butthead. That year really was the start of our average, which is almost five titles per year. Prior to that, Torus has been building up steadily with one to two titles per year. We had turned a corner.

After that, we had
Carmageddon 3 and I took on my first production roles by The Lion King, NBA Hoopz and Max Steel. I worked through Spider-Man, Carmageddon 3 and Planet of the Apes, which was a nice mix of titles and then came our most prolific platform; the Gameboy Advance. Twenty-two titles were shipped on that platform, and I had a hand in producing most of them. The company was growing, we had increased opportunities, and over the next few years we had a strange diversity that kept everything interesting.

We developed demos of Monster Trucks, white water kayaking and virtual cities like
Fifth Element. We chased licenses, built the foundations of the technology which drives our engine today, and tried original concepts. We were one of the first developers on the N-Gage and one of the best-selling, too. We shipped nine titles for Leapfrog on their proprietary hardware, and at the same time we shipped a first-person shooter with Take Two. We built our platform capacity, created detailed designs and kept learning.

One phone call will always stand out to me; the day I got the call about
Shrek Smash ‘N Crash Racing. The deal was on the table, but it was unlike anything we had agreed to before. Eight months and five platforms, two of which we had never shipped on before, and had no technology for. Your natural instincts to weigh up difficulties in front of you went into overdrive. The pros – great license, new division of Activision to work with, really cool title, build up tech on new platforms. The cons – how could we possibly deliver five platforms in eight months!?

That project was a great moment for Torus. We learned how to overlap pre-production, production and post-production to crash the schedule. We learned how to create content quickly, efficiently, and get the most out of what we were doing. It wasn't without its difficulties, but we pulled together as a group and surprised ourselves by what we could achieve. That lead us to develop multi-platforms for
Monster Jam, Monster Jam Urban Assault, Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo 2... each of those titles million-sellers. We had always said that creativity is harder when given restrictions, and we managed to put that into practice. That experience lead us to future DreamWorks titles, and to this day we typically take on three to four platforms at once for any title we develop.

My early days as a producer were very hands-on. I placed all of the pedestrians in our handheld
Carmageddon game, implemented text strings into Jackie Chan and even had a hand in level design for Gumby. The rest of the time, I've either taken on a straight production role, or worked partly in design as well, for games such as Dead to Rights and Stunt Flyer. These days, I get the chance to work across all projects as head of production, as well as design for our original games and business development for new projects. I enjoy working with this team every single day; it's a real pleasure. And because the industry keeps changing each year, I keep feeling that I'm always doing something new.

Who knows what it's going to look like another 15 years from now.

Torus Games is a highly skilled and talented computer game development studio. We are positioned in the heart of the industry, developing products on all consumer platforms for the world's largest publishers. Torus' strengths include state-of-the-art cross-platform technology, commitment to quality and a veteran development team. Torus has delivered over 80 titles and over 140 SKUs for many happy customers.Follow TorusGames on Twitter
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