id Software a shadow of its former self?

It seems id Software is not going through its best days. The former powerhouse, responsible for iconic games like the Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake series of games is hot at work to release their latest Doom game, Doom 4. But, according to a review on Glassdoor, something’s not right there anymore.Don’t forget that John Carmack left the company a year ago, and from several press statements we can definitely conclude that there’s bad blood between him and Zenimax, id’s parent company. Well, there seems to be bad blood with many former employees. Here’s what an anonymous former employee had to say about the situation at the company:

I worked at id Software full-time for more than 3 years

Pros – Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein. I got into the game industry because of these games, and the amazing talent that created them. I came to id software because I wanted to learn from these developers. The pay is pretty decent, and they used to give bonuses before the current management issues.

Cons – None of the amazing talent that created id’s iconic games are left – they’ve all fled the current management team. There are a few issues id software needs to work on to turn things around:

The lack of professionalism: Expect lots of inappropriate jokes, comments and a generally unprofessional work environment. Our HR director quit recently over the many internal issues.

The lack of opportunities: The Management has openly stated in team meetings that when they are looking to give raises and promotions, they care more about how they get along with the prospect, rather than skill, experience, or previous work done.

The hiring practices: They’ve turned away good candidates in all departments because the leads have expressed a desire to hire only students or people they’ve worked with before.

The broken technology: The entire tech team at id software has quit and moved to Occulus – they all left this past February all together on the same day to protest the managements treatment of people.

The non-stop attrition: When all of the teams merged together to create the “new” Doom team 2 years ago, there was around 140+ developers to make the game. Now, there is only around 50. The non-stop attrition has gotten so bad, that they had to contract outside the company for the multiplayer portion of the game, and we have contractors doing a bulk of our art work.

The non-stop reboots and changes of direction: Every 4 months or so, they tell us that the current direction is all wrong for doom, and will re-boot most, if not all, of the game. This means that for over 2 years of work, there is no game to show, beyond 1 or 2 blockout levels and numerous prototypes.

The non-stop spin doctoring: Instead of meeting the issues head on and working for positive change, the people at id are awash in spin doctoring by the management.

Advice to Senior Management – This company is at a crossroads. The last two years have been generally bad for this company, and has cost id software much in the eyes of the industry. If you want to turn this around, you need to make a positive change. Encourage the bright, capable developers who actually produce, and stop playing politics. It shouldn’t be about who is your friend and who isn’t, id software needs everyone to work together as a team! These sort of games might have worked at the old id software, but this is not how you run a successful AAA studio today. Zenimax needs to step in and take over the management to ensure these changes are met.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I’m not optimistic about the outlook for this company

Things definitely don’t seem rosy within the company, that’s for sure. Of course there’s no way of knowing if the above are 100% accurate, but given the circumstances it can’t be far off, especially since a previous review is titled “Sinking ship”. Hopefully this historic studio can stand on its feet again and produce ground braking games, even though it seems its glory days are long past it.

Additional reading: The troubled history of the new Doom game

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