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Creative Assembly Studio Spotlight

12 Nov 2019

Creative Assembly Studio Spotlight

Our amazing homepage takeover partner for the month of November is Creative Assembly. The studio is best known for the Total War Franchise and has grown to a 600 developer strong studio based in Horsham.

We asked a few questions to Emma Smith, the Head of Talent at Creative Assembly to find out a bit more about this award-winning studio, what it’s like to work there, and what their hiring and graduate processes look like.


How long have you been at the studio?

I’ve been at Creative Assembly for almost 11 years, I was here from the early foundations when there was only a team of just over 100, I’ve been able to see it grow over the years.


How did you get into the games industry?

I’ve always been passionate about games and recognise their importance as a tool for learning, for challenging yourself and for creativity. While I might not be a developer, I have had the chance to support the devs doing their thing. Those opportunities don’t come around very often, so I grabbed it with both hands.

I get to be involved in so many fantastic things at the studio, including group vocalisation and even motion capture!


What does a typical day-to-day look like for the Head of Talent at Creative Assembly?

There is no such thing as a typical day, but it will always start with greeting my fantastic team. 

The requirements of the Talent team is varied and it can be anything from providing insights and data to the senior leadership team, to coaching new hiring managers on getting the best out of our candidates at the interview, or processing VISA applications to support our many non-UK staff.


If you could choose another role to do at the studio - does not necessarily have to be something that you’re any good at - what would it be?

I’m a little fascinated with data and the story data tell us about human psychology, so business intelligence or data analysis would be really appealing.


What is the best project you’ve worked on?

The Legacy Project without a doubt!

This is our commitment to the wider industry, for working with students and education to inspire future game development talents and promote games as a power for good. Over 100 of our staff are Ambassadors via the project; sharing the expertise and skills with those looking to join the industry.


Career highlight?

This year the work of the Legacy Project was recognised, winning the Education Award at the GamesIndustry.Biz Best Places to Work Awards. This was an absolutely fantastic moment for the studio, as it’s such a passion project for us.

What would you say about the culture and work atmosphere at Creative Assembly?

Our culture is at the heart of everything we do, we’re always questioning ourselves against our studio’s values.

We aim to hold a small studio ethos, but on a grand scale. Yes, there are challenges within that, and that’s why is so important to have open communication and to give everyone a voice, no matter what their role in the studio.


What is your favourite thing about working at Creative Assembly?

My favourite thing about CA is the creative freedom and the inherent respect for everyone’s voice; I see a collection of talented, bright, creative people who collaborate, share and empower each other not just in their work but to be their best selves. It’s like no other place I’ve ever worked before.


What makes Creative Assembly stand out from other studios?

We benefit from having a large studio benefits package, but with a small studio ethos. We have fantastic creative freedom with ideas coming from anywhere while benefitting from a huge support package from SEGA.

We also have our own relocation specialist, providing end to end support for helping new talent and their families move to Creative Assembly.


What does the hiring process look like for Creative Assembly?

Our hiring managers will look through every single application, they’re looking for the very best talent and we’ll get in touch with you once that initial review has taken place.

This care to attention does take time. The process is constantly evolving and we’re looking for that sweet spot where both CA and the candidate get enough information to make a sound decision. In most cases, there’ll be two interviews, but for more technical roles a competency test will be involved as well. Test results don’t tell us the whole picture on its own, so it’s important that we meet face to face as well.


What does the graduate scheme look like at Creative Assembly?

These positions are highly sought-after, competitively paid, entry-level roles that we open on an annual basis to support graduates looking to start out in the games industry. Our traineeships provide invaluable experience; mentorship, skill-specific training. They’ll be working closely with our experts across multi-disciplinary teams. Many of our past trainees have, in fact, continued their careers at Creative Assembly into more senior roles.


What does the future look like for Creative Assembly?

We are incredibly excited about the future. Total War is now 18 years old and has developed a large and loyal fanbase through the depth and quality of gameplay, and the authenticity of the worlds we create. We continue to build on this, exploring new historical and fantasy settings.

Meanwhile, the team behind Alien: Isolation and Halo Wars 2 are currently working on a brand-new FPS as yet to be announced IP - and that’s all we can say at the moment!


Sound like your sort of workplace? Check out the open vacancies from Creative Assembly here.

Keep Calm and waka waka...