Thursday, 12 September 2013

RIP Blitz Games Studios

This is a weird one for me. But I haven't been able to concentrate properly all day and I HAVE to get my head into writing as I need to bash off about 10,000 words before midnight. So, I thought I would write a little eulogy.

Blitz was my first job in the video games industry. I'd never worked in it before, I'd never played that many games, I'd never really even thought about how they're made. And then I landed an role in PR there in, erm, 2007 I think.

I'd had a bad break up (oh what a shock) and needed something new and different. And then I started work there with 200+ people and could not believe what I found. The talent - the sheer gobsmacking talent - that goes into making games. For me, it's the artists and animators that are the most interesting, but that's only because programming and even game design is like looking a page of Russian literature. In Russian. I just don't get it. I don't understand how they make things happen and it hurts my brain.

But the artists - I could see them doing it. They'd just sit there and paint (on screen, obviously) these gorgeous, stunning, beautiful representations of the gameworlds and characters. I got so excited that I commissioned one of them to paint my cat. And he did a stunning job.

But more than being gobsmacked by the talent around me, I met SO many lovely people. A brand new, quite extensive circle of friends and for a long time it was my favourite job I'd had for a long while.

I learned a lot and met even more great people in the industry itself. It's genuinely one of the most creative and fun industries I've ever worked in. I got to go on a few trips and met up with some proper industry PR types, who were always welcoming, friendly and amusing. I'm even friends with a few of them today, after leaving the industry at the beginning of 2009.

Circumstances beyond my control led to me leaving Blitz and, although there were definitely some stressful times, it was somewhere that I admired for its (for the most part) genuinely supportive environment. People loved working there. How many private companies do you know who had more than a few people who had clocked up 15 years and more? That's unheard of these days.

It wasn't the perfect place to work and they definitely didn't have everything right but there was an underlying core of goodwill at the heart of the company that kept people there.

So when Blitz announced they have ceased trading today after 23 years I was (and am) legitimately sad. For many reasons. Nostalgia. And for the town - Leam needs all the successful businesses possible at the moment. But mostly for the people. I have friends there who are so good at what they do, and such genuinely lovely people, it's a small tragedy that they've lost the job they loved in a place they were comfortable.

People with kids and mortgages and families and years worth of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears put into projects.

Anyway, from tragedy comes triumph and, trite as it probably sounds, I have no doubt that all those who want to find something else will, and will probably be just as happy, if not happier somewhere else. The industry may have changed HUGELY over the last couple of years but it's far from dead.

Loads of studios have been all over social media expressing interest in signing up ex Blitzers and I know their talent will shine through. I just wanted to write something about it. Mostly so I can put my sad to one side and get on with some work.

Ends of eras are tricky to deal with.

Onwards all you lovely people. Better times are ahead.

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