"This year we have grown by 70% — from 100 to 170 employees," Albert Zhiltsov from 1C Game Studios about the main thing for 2022

After the New Year, we continue to sum up the results of 2022 together with the top managers of the gaming industry. Next up is an interview with Albert Zhiltsov, director of 1C Game Studios.

Tell us what the year was like for you personally, where are you now, were there any things that you finally managed to realize and are proud of?

Very vain. The word of the year is vanity. What was the reason for this?

First of all, I took the position of studio director, before that I was only a creative producer, and this, of course, has become something new.

Secondly, it was decided to increase the number of projects that we do in the studio. I started the year with two major projects in development, and finished with six, plus the studio grew in number. This year we have grown by 70% — from 100 to 170 employees.

Naturally, this means big changes in the organizational structure. Finally, the guys realized what growth is: junes became middles, middles became leads, and those who were leads got their own projects.

This year we have attracted the attention of the state, which has not happened in previous years. Then we existed as prostitution and drug trafficking, that is, a lot of people are engaged in THIS, but everyone pretends that THIS is not happening. This year, for the first time, we managed to start talking about the video game industry as an industry. This was also a new activity that I had always ignored before, since there was no one in OOO Russia who would listen to me. This year, OOO Russia dropped the mask and we tried to talk.

Where am I? I am at the beginning. And about the city, then, as before, in Moscow, of course. Although this year we did a tour of our employees from other cities. We understood that after the pandemic and two years of stupid restrictions, the guys could lose touch with us. We got into the car and visited Belgorod, Vologda, Grozny, St. Petersburg and Voronezh.

Finally, we managed to bring out a person for the HR brand. I’ve never thought of telling people about the studio before. It turns out that the world is full of different things, and there are guys who want to work with us, and we are with them. Now there is a specialist who will help them find out about us.

What am I proud of? I am proud of 99% of the employees and 99% of the pixels that our volunteer artel gave out.

What was the year like for the company? What have you done, implemented, and what in general would I like to highlight in terms of achievements?

This year, for Calibre, we have released perhaps the most ambitious update since the game appeared. In fact, since mid—December, Calibre has been a completely different game with a new economy, game mechanics and interface. And the simple enumeration of quantitative changes is impressive: 12 legendary and 15 epic images, 27 camouflage, 22 emotions and seven finishes, six headquarters backgrounds and three maps. And that’s not all! We released five major updates during the year. We experimented with them: we introduced four new modes with unique mechanics, and also for the first time we were given to play “Caliber” in first-person mode. We also held several major special events (on the Ninth of May and Halloween) and organized a tournament with cash prizes.

Also in 2022, the largest update for the Il-2 Stormtrooper project in the last three years was released — The Battle for Normandy, as well as several additions with other teams. We made a couple of prototypes.

From your point of view, what has changed in the gaming market over the year?

First of all, we (the industry in Russia) have ceased to be an outsourcing clearing, which is both good and bad. Good for us as manufacturers, and bad for educational purposes. Fewer people are now employed in professions, and now more attention will have to be paid to education and reproduction of personnel. Previously, Western studios did this for us, developing outsourcing factories here.

We are also glad that now we can be loudly proud of the games we make. Before that, it seemed that even if our project is in the top 25 games in history, but fewer people play it than some low-quality indie game, it’s a shame. Since we met the requirements even before the requirements appeared. For us now everything is organic and obvious. This year has given us nothing but freedom.

This year also showed how real economic activity differs from the show that we have been continuously shown in recent years. As soon as real incomes became important, it turned out that few people have anything other than show-offs.

It’s cool that new opportunities have appeared. This year we have repeatedly received proposals for additional funding or cooperation from various departments. We don’t need these opportunities yet, but I’m glad that someone had them.

Has the practice of working with developers changed, perhaps the developers themselves have changed somehow?

Unfortunately, inadequate salary relations have not changed in comparison with the real skills of most applicants. We hope that next year will bring order here too.

We have opened internships (three for animators, one each for texturists and game designers) as a reaction to the departure of specialists: if you do not want to work, we will educate our own. Even before that, I was very skeptical about the quality of specialists and watched with great displeasure how real problems were replaced in fictional idiocy, which, as you understand, does not help to create a comprehensive software product. Therefore, the departure itself does not bother me, but only saddens me, it will not be easy for those who have left.

This year, the need to learn about political preferences, as well as the attitude of candidates to disconnection from the Western system of values, has been added. I want to work only with those for whom creation is the most important of the processes that does not require additional motivation.

We are a developer and manufacturer, for us the level of projects has always depended only on our ambitions.

Speaking about the games that game teams are developing today, are there any trends in the areas that they choose and offer?

I will not fantasize about what will happen on the territory of the commonwealth yet, because we will build it. If we talk about the global industry, then there is an obvious movement towards changing the type of monetization to advertising, even on large platforms (PC or consoles). The trend is to consolidate huge catalogs and provide access to games for a small penny, and soon — for viewing ads. Lack of trust in the sites due to the demonstration of politicization and non-compliance with the rules of interaction for far-fetched reasons.

Obviously, we are waiting for attempts to build new systems that will include marketplaces, publishers, and developers. I still see the configuration of this new world vaguely, but the movement in this direction is obvious, I hope everything will work out.

I would like to ask Santa Claus to convince officials to talk as little as possible about what they do not understand.

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