There have been rumours of outlandish luxuries contained within the pleasure palace that is Hibernum Creations, a team of sentient potatoes that prepare nine-course meals for the entire company on a daily basis being the least of these, but I am here in part to dispel these rumours, and place Hibernum firmly into the realm of reality.
It is important to preface this piece with the circumstances of our trip to Hibernum Creations. Just a scant six individuals signed up to visit the relatively unheard-of studio, with most people gravitating towards Gameloft, the industrial clone-making giant. At a cursory internet glance, Hibernum is a typical small-scale social-mobile game developer, their saccharine iPhone casual titles lined up like Smarties on their website. But within their halls, we visitors found what we never knew we wanted from a studio.
Like most studio visits, we began with a bank of elevators in a multipurpose office building, which led us to a set of glass doors and a sizable bureau, behind which stands a mural of Hibernum’s created works. We are greeted by a man sporting a burgeoning mohawk, a member of the HR division who would see to our touring needs. The first sign of Hibernum being something different came when the man apologized to the group before he’d even unlocked the glass double doors, mumbling about how he hadn’t rehearsed this tour beforehand. The group was stunned. To manage human resources, one must become cold and unfeeling, a naked blade that strips work opportunities much as Fate cuts threads of life from her loom, and here, this HR rep was as casual about his work routine as Dionysus. Our mohawked guide leads us into a small conference space labeled “MAGMA ROOM,” and presents us with a plate piled high with croissants and chocolate chip cookies. As we dig in, one of our number ask from whence the treats came. Our guide replies that they were handmade by their in-house chef.
We didn’t know it at the time, but in these first five minutes of the visit, we had already known all we had to about Hibernum Creations. Hibernum is a place where the feeling of family and comfort are valued, as evidenced by the existence of a chef. Employees eat, joke, and decompress at a communal area surrounding the kitchen, because it encourages communication and fosters friendships across the studio. The atmosphere is comfortable and homely, and the employees mingle freely outside of their project pods.
I wouldn’t say that the way to any game developer’s heart is through their stomach, but Hibernum Creations certainly entranced me through their devotion to all things relating to the mental health of their employees. Game developers are people, too, and it’s nice when one’s employers take note of this to the degree Hibernum has.
– Wei-Hung Cheng, Game Design Major, Fall 2014