Experienced technical lead Wes Clarke has joined MAG Interactive in Brighton to provide a ’turbo boost’ to the team behind hit game Wordzee. He left his job at Voodoo in Berlin to start a new role as the lockdown began. MAG Interactive found him somewhere to live and supplied him with the tools he needed to work remotely. Despite starting his new job during lockdown, he says his experience has been a good one, with virtual after work drinks and yoga helping to keep the team spirits going!
With almost 20 years in the games industry, Clarke joins the team from Berlin games studio Voodoo.
His appointment will build on the success of MAG Interactive as a leading mobile developer and publisher of casual mobile games played by millions around the world.
Clarke said: ”Talking to MAG Interactive was one of the most pleasant hiring processes that I had experienced in my career. Everyone was very friendly, open and honest about the company and the projects. I also really enjoyed playing Wordzee which is the project I will be working on.
”MAG likes to empower their teams to really drive a project. There’s an element of trust here between the company and game teams. Making a successful game is hard, and MAG understands that games stand the best chance of success when the team feels a sense of ownership and direction on a product.”
Clarke brings with him experience of building and running live games, having joined Kixeye’s ambitious new Brisbane studio as one of its first hires, where he worked on the MMORTS VEGA Conflict. At Gram Games he went on to help to create the first version of Merge Town.
Clarke adds: ”I’ve learned a lot about how to manage a project from the production side, from small to large projects. Scale is always a challenge when you find a hit game and execution can become more challenging as time rolls on.”
David Amor, Chief Business Development Officer at MAG Interactive, said: “It’s a privilege to welcome someone of Wes’ calibre to MAG’s Brighton studio. He brings an experience of decades of hit games and will be a turbo boost addition for the team that’s created our hit game Wordzee.”
Clarke’s role will involve supporting the Wordzee team, engaging with potential hires and helping to set the technical strategy for the game, as well as helping with other titles in development. Clarke discovered his love for games when his parents brought home a SEGA SC-3000, an obscure computer in the Australian market with 32k of memory.
Can you tell us about your experience of leaving work in Berlin for work in Brighton against the backdrop of a global pandemic?
Moving from Berlin to Brighton in the midst of a global pandemic presented some new challenges! As I was travelling coronavirus become an increasingly serious problem, getting worse every day. I also had to travel from Australia and then back to Berlin. But I got much better at reminding myself to avoid touching my face and to wash my hands more frequently.
Moving home was made more difficult as a lot of the essential services that you need such as travel and removal companies were gradually shutting down or were increasingly understaffed.
I had to wait a while for my things to arrive too, which is understandable. But I’m healthy and have a roof over my head, so really I have little to complain about.
What’s it like starting a new job remotely in the midst of the corona crisis?
It really helps that everyone at MAG has adapted to working remotely so incredibly well. The team have been so helpful and they are always available to jump on a call. Overall, I think MAG has adapted very well to the change in working environment and my experience of starting a new job in lockdown has actually been really good! I’ve also worked remotely before many times, so that helps.
How are you staying in touch with everyone at MAG Interactive?
Everyone is available to call if you want to chat about work or socialise. And we also have yoga, home workouts and after work drinks too which are all online but it’s a great way to get to know everyone and stay connected. We’re also using video conference services like Google Hangouts and Zoom, as well as the chat app Slack to stay in touch.
How have MAG helped to make your start at the company as easy possible under such unusual circumstances?/
MAG did such a great job of supporting me during these unusual circumstances. Starting a new job in lockdown is definitely out of the ordinary! They helped me to find accommodation and supplied the tools I need to make working from home easier and more comfortable. It helps that everyone at MAG is very friendly and welcoming too.