Culture

At Ikimasho, we believe great games are the sum of innumerable small and very diligently executed strokes of genius that coalesce into a coherent whole.

At the very top of our studio lay the game-teams. Within Ikimasho’s broad editorial strategy, they have full ownership of their respective games. This means no-one can tell them what games to make, or how to make them. But they can always count on the flexible and unwavering support of the studio’s lower layers.

In a game-team, ownership is as clearly defined and attributed as it is within the rest of the studio, with the same benefits to information flow and decision making.

We believe small, autonomous teams in which ideas flow freely and decision making is effective make better games faster and create more value for our players than production behemoths slowed down by their very structure. And we are convinced that talent density will allow us to sustain and strengthen our culture better than if our staff grows too quickly.

Building a studio, especially while exploring a new medium, is an evolving and fascinating process, full of trial and error. All of this is bound to evolve on our journey.

The way we work

Our culture fosters this approach to game making.

We put developers first, players second (paraphrasing the inspiring Vineet Nayar). We believe that focusing the studio’s attention on our developers is the most surefire way to produce deeply meaningful experiences for our players. The development teams create the value that the players then enjoy. 

We believe in the unifying power of a clear vision, and in unleashing and harnessing our team’s creativity at every level. Everything we do, we break down into clearly-defined spheres of ownership that are handled at the lowest practical level and do not overlap. In her sphere of ownership, the leader sets a clear, unifying vision and then unleashes her team’s creativity and harnesses their ideas to contribute to the overall effort of the studio. As a consequence, there is no place for interfering egos, ideas flow nimbly and efficiently across the entire studio, and decision making is clear and perfectly fluid.

These two principles are reflected in our layered structure: 

  • The top-layer that is closest to our players, the game-teams, own the games and serve the players.
  • The mid-layer, the core functions, own the policies of each core competency and serve the game-teams.
  • The lower-layer and furthest away from our players, the management team, owns the strategy and the culture and defends them every day in service of the entire studio.

We believe the value of an idea lies in its execution. Everyone’s ability on the team to execute on their ideas is essential to allow for faster iteration. More iteration means more risk-taking and in return, more chances of genius striking and creating meaningful experiences for our players.

We put polish above scope. Game makers are craftsmen and craftswomen, and players value craftsmanship. Our uncompromising strive for excellence is in the interest of everyone.

These two principles instantiate in the way we make games. In our medium, strokes of genius often are serendipitous. As a studio, our goal therefore must be to maximize our chances of creating happy accidents, which means limiting the friction of iteration to the bare minimum, allowing our creatives to try the riskiest and craziest things. Our approach is creator-centric: our developers work themselves out of a job by developing a library of tools that allows the creators of each game-team (game designers, artists, sound designers …) to iterate faster and ever-more independently to make better, more polished games. And we keep our tools as generic as possible to create a studio toolbox that any game-team can tap into with minimal tweaks, to start building playables faster.