EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview was conducted several years ago and is now being published for your convenience.
RareFanDaBase: Where did you get your start in the industry, was it with Rare from the start?
Gregg Mayles: I was lucky enough to join Rare straight from school. I was 18, didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do and saw a games testing job at Rare advertised in the local newspaper. I was a boyhood fan of Ultimate so I applied for the job at Rare, intending it to be a bit of fun for a year while I decided what ‘proper job’ I would like to pursue. Over 18 years later and I’m still thinking about that proper job.
RFDB: Does Rare hire people from the US to work overseas?
GM: We have hired people from the US that came to work at Rare in the UK, but as far as I am aware we haven’t hired individuals to work outside of Rare. Developing games in today’s climate requires an ever increasing degree of communication, and having individuals in different rooms is sometimes problematic – let alone in different countries! Teams of people can work overseas but with individuals it is far more difficult.
RFDB: What type of degree would benefit someone trying to get into the industry?
GM: Although Rare continues to employ who we think are the best candidates irrespective of their education, those that have degrees tend to have them in the job they are applying for, i.e. software engineers have computer or science related degrees, artists have art-related degrees and so on. The designers are probably the most mixed bunch – some have degrees and some do not, and even those that do have degrees are in completely unrelated subjects. For the record, I have no degree and spent my degree years working on games!
RFDB: Do you have to be skilled with programming in order to find work in the industry or are there other opportunities in the same field?
GM: Not sure what you mean. You only need to be skilled in programming if you are applying for a programming job! Most artists, designers and musicians have no idea about software, although most programmers are tone deaf and lousy at drawing!
RFDB: Are game developers ever willing to hear game ideas from average gamers?
GM: Of course, but legalities can get in the way. For example, we could be already working on something that is similar to an idea that someone sends in, then when we release the game the person who sent in the idea could claim we ‘stole’ their idea. Personally I think this is a great shame, as I love hearing ideas from anyone who takes the trouble to send them in. Feedback (good or bad – but preferably good to keep the temperamental designers from getting upset) on our released game is also great.