Hey Natasha! Could you introduce yourself...
Hi! My name is Natasha. I’m a producer on an unannounced project at Bohemia Interactive.
What do you do as a producer?
As a producer, I help people focus on what’s important. I remind them of a bigger picture, and I do my best to build bridges between people. So pretty much I try to make people happy!
What is the most exciting part of your job?
I love helping people to feel that they're a part of a big team and they're accomplishing something incredible. It's very important to me that game development is absolutely a team sport, and no matter how cool you are as a person, you always need to contribute to a team for an accomplishment to happen. It's a joy to see how something begins to work, how people feel fulfilled as they continuously grow, especially, since it's a very fast developing industry. I think that joy is the best feeling you can ever have as a professional!
What does your usual day look like?
My role requires a lot of fluidity and reactivity, so I'll rather cover my approach to a day, than a particular schedule. It all begins with a calendar, where I track my to-dos and appointments for the day. Then I get up to speed on Slack, have a stand up with the team, and get rid of the quick and urgent but not necessarily important tasks. Before lunch, I feel the most energetic, so I have some time to focus on things I prioritize as the most important for the day. After lunch, there are often playtests and/or meetings. Before I'm done for the day, I do a bit more of micro-Slacking, immediate problem solving and planning next day priorities as the cherry on the cake.
How does one become a producer?
Start organizing, whatever it is. Learn a couple of tricks of planning and try to plan your own time really well first. Become a master of your own emotions and thoughts. And don't be afraid. Or if you feel the fear, do it anyway!
What's your best experience at Bohemia?
I travel a lot between offices, so, honestly, the best experience after about a year of the home office was travelling and arriving at the new rooms and seeing the happy faces, knowing that we've built some connection with people even through the kilometres and kilometres we're all apart. That was truly gratifying. And of course, the teambuilding, the Humvee ride, it was *chef kiss*. It was dirt, grease, and total happiness like a puppy.
You work mostly remotely. How do you feel about it?
I believe that my position from working remotely gives me some advantages because I can focus a lot on the planning work. And when I come to Prague and the Czech Republic I always focus on communicating with people and connecting with them, which gives me precise focus for the periods of time that I separate, and I believe it's actually working really well. It taught me a lot about self-discipline, which I'm really happy about.
Can you tell us a random fact about yourself?
The red bracelet on my wrist symbolizes my support for the UN SDG goal 4: Quality Education. I used to work with SDGs, and making the world a better place is still a big drive in my life.
What's your favorite movie, TV show, and/or book?
My favorite book as an object is definitely BOOM by Irma Boom. It's an art object that tells you everything you need to know about why paper books will not go extinct.
In terms of literature, I think 'Here I Am' by Jonathan Safran Foer moved me the most this year.
And your go-to music playlist is...?
Lately, it's been the soundtrack from the new 'Dune' movie for work. Otherwise, my music library is a total chaotic kaleidoscope.
Cats or dogs?
I've got enough scratches for them all!
What was your first positive interaction with video games that you can remember?
When I was about ten years old, my Dad taught me how to access DOS on his Win 95 laptop and showed me 'King's Bounty'. I spent hours in this turn-based strategy that summer, and I felt like a pro-strategist even though I'm sure my Dad helped quite a bit more than I was willing to admit at the time.
And your most memorable video game moment?
Spoiler warning for people who haven't played 'Journey' yet.
At the end of the game, there is a screen that shows you another player who went on the journey with you. I hadn't realized that I was playing with another person the entire evening as they were simply too nice, patient, and supportive all the way through. I had spent an evening with a complete stranger and felt an incredible connection for that moment. I was so impacted by this realization that my view of games has transformed forever. Journey for me is a perfect example of a game: it's about art, ideas, and the co-creation of experiences with others.
Who's your all-time favorite video game character, and why?
Arthur Morgan from Red Dead Redemption 2, because he is imperfect and thus a very believable and relatable character. He's dealing with whatever life throws his way in the best way he can and makes mistakes along the way. I salute Rockstar for creating such a study of the human experience.
Which game has had the biggest influence on you during your life?
I live in a different country from my parents. During the first months of the pandemic, I felt very detached from them, since I couldn't travel. At that time we picked up Table Top Simulator together and played board games long through the evenings. It was the first strong and connecting moment of the lockdown for me. I understood what video games as a medium are about for me, and why I find them so meaningful.
If you had to pick one game that you'd be playing for the rest of your life what game would it be?
The game that I could play for the rest of my life. I'm intending to live a very long time, so I think the only game that can facilitate that is Dungeons and Dragons. Because it's the game you can create yourself and I hope that in the future of online gaming and in general, we'll have these kinds of environments that will help people tell their own stories, forever.
What's your favorite game genre?
My favorite game genre is first-person story games, I love their immersion and the worlds that are being created and how you can experience a character, to me it's pretty much like reading a novel when you can be a part of some world that you would never be able to experience.
What's your favorite game?
Probably Red Dead Redemption 2. Maybe Witcher. Those two are definitely competing.
How many hours do you have logged into your favorite games?
In the gaming world not that much, I think I have about 300 hours maximum. Maybe somewhere in that area. I mean I heard the stories about thousands of hours so I'm... not as hardcore as many Arma fans.
Any advice to people who are seeking a job in the gaming industry?
If you're looking for a job in the gaming industry, reach out to people and ask for advice because our industry is really young and a lot of things are done by experience. Don't reach for the biggest companies necessarily at the start, start small, especially if you're new to the whole concept of what the gaming industry is. You'll be able to see for yourself and navigate your future as you like it. In general, I would just try it and keep trying, even if it takes longer. You'll definitely find something for yourself.
Is there anything else you're currently working on in your spare time?
I do freelance graphic and book design, and I love photography. I'm also engaged in the ex-pat community in Amsterdam to help newcomers navigate their new life here.