For this week’s employee spotlight we are excited to introduce Oliver Bulloss, the General Manager of Zynga’s Action Strategy Group based in the UK. With prior experience working on popular games such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds, Oliver joined Zynga upon seeking an organization that aligned with his personal action-strategy gaming preferences. Managing Dawn of Titans and a new, unreleased game, Oliver helps drive a wide range of contributing elements including marketing, server costs, art styles, swag design and production techniques.
Read on to learn more about Oliver and his favourite aspects of his Zynga journey thus far!
What is your role within NM/BA and how did you get here?
I’m the General Manager of the Action Strategy Group. We’re the team running Dawn of Titans and working on some exciting new projects! Before joining NaturalMotion, I was with King Digital Entertainment in Stockholm where I worked on a number of Candy Crush games. While I really enjoyed my time at King, I was looking to work on games that more closely aligned with what I loved playing, which was action-strategy.
Tell us how you came to Join NM/BA
I was approached by the NM recruiting team who sold me on Dawn of Titans. The NM COO at the time was also someone I knew from working at Rovio on Angry Birds games and who I was keen to work with again.
Since starting with NM/BA, how has your own growth and development progressed?
When I first started, I was the General Manager of Dawn of Titans. At that point in time, my responsibilities grew to include Star Wars Commander and another game within a year of working at the company. Going from managing a single game to three games in only one year was very cool and incredibly rewarding.
How would you describe the people within NM/BA?
NM is a place where people are always pushing to be their best. The legacy of making world-leading animation software is in our DNA and is now present in everything we do. Everyone wants their part of the game-making process to be the best it can possibly be and we work together to achieve that goal.
How does the mission shape the company culture and why is a culture like this so important to you?
The culture within the Action Strategy Group is one of excellence and teamwork; we win together or we lose together. If you’re struggling, people will rally around you and do whatever they can to help you. We understand that we are all part of one team, and our players receiving incredible games is a result of our passion and collaborative efforts.
What would someone be surprised to learn about your company or profession?
As a GM, I’m a part of discussions about a massive range of things ranging from marketing and server costs to art styles, swag design and production techniques.
How does it feel when you see your work in a real life setting?
One of the greatest feelings in the world is sitting next to someone on a train/bus/plane and seeing them play a game you’ve worked on. I once sat next to someone on a train in Stockholm who was taking part in a new event which we had just released that day. To hear and witness their excitement in trying it for the first time was amazing.
Tell me how the company supported your growth?
Within ASG there’s a lot of trust given to people to perform; if they are able to then they are given a chance to perform at a higher level. In my case, the work I did on Dawn of Titans in the first few months was rewarded with being given the opportunity to lead Star Wars Commander and another unannounced game.
What is a common misconception your industry faces and what is the reality?
It’s a common misconception that to work in games you need to be highly technical or amazing at maths. In fact, the vast majority of people that work on games are not engineers; our company is composed of artists, producers, quality assurance, finance, game designers, marketing, human resources and many other sectors. Whatever you like to do, there is probably a role in gaming that fits it!