Independent game studios are definitely making their mark in the game industry, and Razor Edge Games is no exception. Recording Arts grad Moises Garcia began working for the company as an Audio Engineer just last year, and is just one of more than 20 Full Sail grads currently working for the company.
Razor Edge Games is based out of Arizona and is currently in production to complete a roleplaying game entitled Epocylipse: The AfterFall, which will be available on PC later this year. CEO and company founder Mike Weiser created a tabletop version of the Epocylipse game in 2006, and eventually started Razor Edge Games in 2014 to help bring the game to life in the PC world.
“I wanted to design an RPG I always wanted to play; one that allowed me to experience the same feeling I had while playing a traditional tabletop game but without the need for a game master,” said Mike. The game takes place after an asteroid impact changes the Earth dramatically, leaving humanity in a deformed version of Earth struggling to survive.
What makes this company unique is that there is no central office where everyone shows up to work each day. While Moises lives in California and Mike lives in Arizona, the rest of the 200 or so employees are spread out all over the world. They are separated into 13 different departments based on discipline, and run by team leads and quality assurance who assign and monitor the work.
“It’s essentially a work for profit model,” said Moises. “Each assignment is worth a certain percentage, and if we turn the assignment in late the percentage goes down. I am now doing about four to six assignments every two weeks, when I started off with one assignment every two weeks. I record and edit about four voice over artists, compose music for certain sections of the game, and create sound design for the game as well. One thing I quickly had to figure out was to manage my time wisely and finish each assignment on time or early.”
Mike uses this non-traditional business model to ensure those who really want to work to make a living in this industry can do so, but they don’t have to jump through hoops in order to get their work out there. It also allows employees to work at at pace they are comfortable with based on what they want to earn.
“The upside is that you make more money; you get paid your percentage for as long as the game continues to sell, which in most cases can be years. However, we don’t get paid until the game sells,” said Mike.
All employees at Razor Edge Games are allowed to work elsewhere to supplement income as needed until sales for the game actually begin. Moises is personally employed full-time at an app company and does freelance work in addition to working at Razor Edge Games.
Another key ingredient to the company’s success is communication, since everyone is spread out amongst different time zones. The teams use online folders such as Google Drive to submit their work, and conduct meetings using Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting.
“We use Slack as a form of communication, and it has been a great tool for us to stay in constant contact with each other and share our musical ideas for the game,” said Moises. “Just for the sound team we have about two meetings a week where we talk about how everyone is doing with their assignments, ask any questions, or if we have any ideas that we would like to discuss about sound, music, or voice over. Google calendar is what gives me a constant reminder to work on my assignments.”
All of the hard work and dedication that has been poured into this game from around the world proves that there is no standard for creativity.