Whenever one of my friends has a birthday, I always express the same wish to them: “Don’t forget how to play like a kid!”
I say this to my new friends and colleagues at Outfit7 Group too but, to be honest, I don’t really have to. People here haven’t forgotten how to be kids, and that’s one of the main reasons I fit in so well.
There are a lot of ways in which I think like a kid. I still think the real world is boring sometimes because there are no dragons, no Santa (spoiler alert!), no witches and no ghosts. I still see all the amazing gadgets and technology they have in futuristic games and in sci-fi movies and think, “Wouldn’t it be cool if that was real?!” I still have the same simple, straightforward attitude to games that I had as a kid: I want fun! And still, since as far back as I can remember, I never stop thinking about games.
And at Outfit7 it’s okay to be that geeky kid that maybe felt awkward or had no one to talk to about video games, or about other nerdy, techy stuff. You can easily find a person to talk to here. Personally, I can talk about games day and night. And I often do. Nerds (a badge I wear with pride) are appreciated here because we’re often the ones who have a wealth of ideas that we never got to express to anyone. All those years spent in front of a computer, instead of out in the sun, weren’t wasted after all.
I’ve been interested in, or you could say obsessed with, how games work since childhood, but it was only a few years ago that I started designing games for a living. Despite having no formal qualifications or experience in the field, I managed to get a game design job at a small start-up studio in my home country of Serbia. They just seemed impressed by how much I love breaking games down and trying to really understand them.
That job was a great start in game design. I was enjoying myself and learning a lot. But I was also constantly evaluating my situation, and asking myself, “What are my options in Serbia?” Eventually I realised that I couldn’t do what I really wanted to do there, and that’s when I started to look for options abroad. And I didn’t have to look far!
Slovenia popped up as an option when Talking Tom Gold Run came out. I was immediately impressed by its tight controls and wealth of content. It still remains one of my favorite Outfit7 games. I was looking at other game studios in the region too, but none of the others spoke to me like Outfit7 did. I guess because I love cute, bright, colorful games, not just shooting and zombies and, er… head chopping.
So when I heard that Outfit7 was looking for a game designer, I jumped at the chance. The application process was quite thorough, which meant I had the opportunity to visit the company’s offices in Ljubljana, meet members of the team, and get a real insight into how things work here. I remember I saw people being silly, having fun and laughing. And they were all wearing informal clothing, and there were beanbags and (for some reason) bouncy balls everywhere. It certainly didn’t seem like an uptight, suit-and-tie type of company.
I thought to myself, “I could make such great games here.”
And now, here I am. Working here for over a year now has reinforced my suspicion that a really serious, humorless company couldn’t produce great games like ours. Sure, we have to work hard and take responsibility for what we do, but really we’re just a bunch of big kids who never quite grew up. I mean, who’d want to anyway?