Sunday, April 11, 2021

Want to work at Atlus? Part 2: Job Postings


Disclaimer: I have no connection to Atlus, just taking a look as a curious surfer of the web. All pictures are from the linked recruiting pages, screenshotted early April 2021.

Job Postings

In Part 1, we looked at Atlus's recruiting site and general terms of employment for the company. So what actual skills do you need to get a job there as a programmer? A graphic designer? A planner? Let's see some job postings from the mid-career category page.



There are some application requirements common across positions:
  1. A personal CV with your photo and contact details (履歴書)
  2. A resume with your working history (職務経歴書). (Note: some places in the world just use the general term "resume", but Japanese companies separate into these two documents.)
  3. A filled out questionnaire which Atlus provides for download on the position page
  4. Certain development positions request some kind of work sample, depending on the role (see below for examples).
Let's look at specifics for a few common development positions: Programmer, Designer, and Planner.

Programmer

Responsibilities include programming the actual game software, as well as creating and upgrading various development tools, company-internal libraries, scripts and plugins for DCC tools (refers to Digital Content Creation tools, like 3ds Max, Maya, Blender).

The listing also notes that programmers at Atlus aren't limited to just programming, they're also welcome to contribute ideas and proposals in order to make the game even better.

Essential skills:

  • Programming in C, C++

Other desired skills/experience in any the following areas:

  • Work experience developing consumer RPGs/games is highly desired
  • Experience with platforms like PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Steam
  • Plugins/exporters for DCC tools
  • Shader programming (like HLSL)
  • Development experience using game engines like Unreal or Unity
  • Using middleware (like physics engines)
  • Graphics programming using OpenGL, Direct3D, etc.
  • Socket programming
  • IO programming (audio, file management, dealing with different devices, etc)

Work sample for optional submission:

A program you've created in the past. For example, an executable file and the source code, the file/code for some tool you created, some documentation or technical writing to reference, etc.

Designer

(at Atlus, this seems to be an umbrella position for many visual-related roles that might be listed separately at other companies. Looks like they call game design roles "planners", see the next section.)

Includes all aspects of visual design.
More concretely: Concept art, 3DCG (3D computer graphic) design of characters, 3DCG environments, motion design, event scenes (movies, cutscenes), effect design (like explosions, magic, rain), interface and UI design, technical designer (efficient workflows and development pipelines for HD graphics and video), riggers (technical animation, scripting, plugins).

Like the programmer posting, they note that designers at Atlus aren't limited to just graphic design work, and are encouraged to cross boundaries and share ideas to make the game even better.

Essential skills:

  • Overall:
    • Ideas and art skills necessary to clearly convey images to many other people
    • Flexible communication skills for working with many other development staff
  • 3DCG designer: Practical experience using Maya or 3ds Max
  • Motion designer: Practical experience developing motions in Maya, 3ds Max, or MotionBuilder
  • Technical designer: Experience as a 3DCG designer or motion designer, technical designer experience, and experience creating tools using scripts in various applications.
  • Interface designer: Work experience designing interfaces for games, or graphic design experience on the Web or DTP (means "Desktop Publishing", like Adobe design suite tools).

Desirable skills:

  • Overall:
    • Experience in game production
    • Experience in animation, or video direction
    • Leadership experience in the roles included in this posting
    • Experience managing the work quality and schedules of outsourcing companies
    • The ability to propose and create the production assets that are necessary for a given scenario or based on the game information that needs to be conveyed
  • Motion designer: 
    • 3DCG tool expertise, knowledge of scripting
    • Ability to create animation control rigs
  • Event scene creator: Experience creating game data using Maya or 3ds Max
  • Effect design: Ability to create hand-drawn 2D effects
  • Technical design: 
    • Specialized knowledge and technical ability related to shaders and shader programming languages
    • Knowledge and technical ability to optimize workflows and improve development.

Work sample for submission:

A portfolio (can be sketches, illustrations, 3DCG, video, anything that showcases your ability). If the submitted material is not your personal work, then please write concretely about the work you were responsible for. If it's some work that's already been published or sold, please include something that will help with understanding the content, if at all possible.

Planner

Game planners at Atlus are split into two categories: System planners mainly do things like create the game's rules, mechanics (systems) and do balance adjustments, and Scenario planners mainly draw up scenarios ("scenes" in the game, more like script or screenplay writing work).

There's a posting for system planners, one for scenario planners (experienced), and one for scenario planners (inexperienced) that's specifically for the Persona team.

The system planner posting is comparatively light on details, but that last scenario planner one sounds interesting. 


Scenario planner (no experience), for the Persona team

This role involves creating (writing) game scenarios, as well as creating the game data for things like event scenes and dialogue lines.

This listing is specifically for people with no experience producing scenarios. If you do have experience in commercial scenario creation (not limited to the gaming industry), please apply for the other "scenario planner" posting.
After joining the company, responsibilities for system and scenario planning work may change depending on your abilities and the actual situation at that time.
Also, this posting is only for the Persona team.

Essential:

  • Someone who can construct detailed worlds, characters, and scenarios (for use in a game)
  • Someone who has completed and released some kind of creative work into the world, for commercial purposes or otherwise.

Desirable:

  • Someone who can take initiative and be proactive about sharing ideas day-to-day, in order to make the game being developed more interesting.
  • Someone who has experience playing the Persona series numbered titles.

Work sample for submission:

  • 1 or 2 things you've made in the past
  • Homework task: Create a scenario starring characters from the Persona series that could be used in a game.
    • The outline/theme (1-2 pages A4 size)
    • The plot (summary) (1-5 pages, A4 size)
    • A specific scene or scenes (some key scene, like the climax or a highlight) that takes place in the work (minimum one scene)




All of the pay ranges listed for these development positions are the same as mentioned in Part 1, 213,000~440,000 yen per month, though the Director listing is a bit higher at 230,000~526,000. The two non-development positions currently listed are also higher: Project Manager is 238,000~456,000 and Music Licensing Lead (音楽ライセンス担当) is 238,000~545,000. These are just ballpark estimates though. Each listing says the range is an example, and salary will be decided based on company guidelines, taking into account the applicant's skills and experience.

They also note for all positions that everyone joins the company as contract employees, then they have the opportunity to convert to regular, full-time employees later, 0.5 ~ 3 years after joining.

At the bottom of each posting is a link to apply.



「PROJECT Re FANTASY - A Fool's Journey Begins」

Finally, the main recruiting site also has a banner linking to a separate site where they're doing "large-scale recruiting" for a new RPG, "PROJECT Re FANTASY."
 
http://rpg.jp/recruit/

Atlus's internal "Studio Zero" team is working on this totally new project, led by Persona series veterans (who've written messages on this site). There's some concept videos and artwork hinting at their vision for this new fantasy RPG. 

There's also a half-hour "Golden Recruiting Special Program" video (uploaded August 31, 2017). It's aimed at recruiting staff from the gaming industry, and has an intro and outro by Midnight Venus, from the Golden Theater (Catherine series).



The video features conversations with lead creators Katsura Hashino, Shigenori Soejima, and Shoji Meguro about this new venture, as well as some words from other Atlus staff about what it's like to work there.

As for the actual jobs on this site, they list positions for programmers, designers, and planners (and part-time designers).

*Actively* recruiting for programmers!

 Mobile game development (iOS and Android) is listed as a desired skill for programmers, so it seems this new title is coming to smartphones? The other job descriptions are mostly the same as the ones on the main site above, but aside from the part-time designer position, these postings seem geared towards more experienced applicants. The pay range for these positions is also slightly higher: all have (estimated) salary 3,250,000~6,700,000 yen yearly (so 270,833~558,333 monthly). Working conditions, terms, and other details about these employment opportunities are also mostly the same as on the main recruiting site.

There's a few other snippets of text and news on the new project site, but I'll let you discover those for yourself. If you do decide to apply, good luck!

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