Paul Dutta, India
As a game director at SYBO Games, I ensure that the team, game and operations are healthy in the short, mid and long term, so we stay on the course of our roadmap. I focus on how to set up games, so players enjoy themselves today, but also keep coming back to the game years from now. It’s a constant switch between contexts, future and current players, and that is exciting.
Game Director@SYBO Games
"I make sure the Developers, Artists and Designers have a psychologically safe environment to say what they want and build what they believe the players will enjoy. Then I come in and build around that creative centre to make sure their talent is recognized, and the business is sustainable at the same time. That’s what drives me. I’m enveloping creativity to make sure it survives in the market."
"To do that I gather information from as many different sources as possible. We keep a keen eye on how the community reacts on social media channels, the reviews they leave or through questions directly in-game. Lastly, we, of course, look at how players play our games to see how they engage with our content: What do they like? When do they play during the day? I try to be as data-driven as possible as all times in my work."
"The game industry is fiercely competitive, and that appeals to me. There’s maybe 800 games being published every day at the end of the year that’s close to 300.000 games. So staying in the top 50, over eight years, which this company has done with Subway Surfers is incredible and requires a lot of hard work."
A sustainable work-life balance
"I studied in England and worked in Holland as well, but I only knew tidbits about Denmark before coming here. My uncle, who's an avid reader, told me about Hans Christian Andersen. He was like, Oh, you're going to his country."
"Internationally, you don't hear much about Denmark. But what I did know about the Nordics, in general, was that they put an emphasis on work-life balance and equality among the genders also in the workplace and that appealed to me. And then, of course, any culture that has a word for cosiness such as “hygge” is an excellent one in my book."
"But in all seriousness, I’ve come to realize that there is a reason why Danes rank among the happiest people on earth. It comes back to the work-life balance. I see how they make time for family or friends. India is much more competitive, but it is also a developing nation. Here the focus is more on creating a sustainable way of living in the long run, by taking care of your mental and physical health. I think that’s been interesting to learn and become a part."
It started with an easter egg
"I was always very passionate about games. I think it started with my Nintendo and Super Mario. I was watching this cartoonish character come to life and interact with it. The moment that drew me in was when I found an easter egg in the game. I got so much joy from seeing this hidden world unfold in front of me. From that point on, I started to grow curious about how those game developers created that sense of joy in me. That was what brought me to games. So I’ve basically known that I wanted to be in games since the age of seven."
"Now I read more. I recently watched the “Last Dance” on Netflix, and I just wanted to know more so I picked up a book by Phil Jackson, the coach. I'm interested in leadership, psychology and philosophy, so I’ve also read Malcolm Gladwell, Simon Sinek, Daniel Pink and also Daniel Kahnemann. When I’m in the mood for fiction, I read Murakami."
Ready, set, integrate - and don’t forget to smile
"SYBO made it easy for me coming here. They helped me out with a rental contract and made sure my wife also landed well here, by showing her around. And the company is increasing it’s ex-pat population to get more diversity and experience in their talent mix. I’m proud of the relationships that I’ve already formed here and the friends I’ve made. I think that they will be lifelong. To be honest, I’ve become very picky when it comes to jobs over the years. Not all game companies can give me what I need and want, but I feel like SYBO has managed to just that."
"My advice for other Indians considering making the move - or any foreign talent, really - would be to smile. We’re all the same in the end. And get started making new relationships instantly. The sooner you get to it, the less you build up in your head on what the other people could be thinking of you. So smile and get to it."