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Video: How Riot Games dodged the pitfalls of rapid staff growth
Riot Games senior producer Travis George takes a moment to discuss how the League of Legends team managed rapid growth while still maintaining a strong and productive company culture.
If you've ever worked at a quickly growing game company, there's a good chance you're familiar with the dangers of rapid growth. With new developers flooding into a studio, processes can collapse, communication can break down, and your company's culture might suffer as a result. But if your studio is careful about its hiring procedures, you can easily avoid these all-too-common pitfalls. Riot Games senior producer Travis George helped tackle this problem when building and developing the team behind League of Legends, and at GDC Online 2012, he offered his own tips for building an improving a successful team. As an eSports developer, George said that Riot Games often focuses on hiring what he calls "athletes." "I don't mean that in the sense that you have to be good at sports – or even eSports – but I mean it in the way college football uses the term, which is that it's about finding a student that has the attributes that allow them to play numerous positions on a team," he said. "For us, it's the same as that paradigm. We aim to hire people who are a great fit for the role they're being brought in for, but who also have the agility, passion, and assets to be able to be involved and help make other areas or other roles successful as well." George explained that a number of Riot's best employees originally started in different roles, and after taking the time to grow and improve their skill sets, they've moved on to become producers, eSports personalities, and much more. " It's not that they were perfect [in their new roles] from day one, but they all applied themselves to become experts at their craft because they are athletes from the get-go." By hiring individuals who demonstrate similar drive and adaptability, George said other studios will have a much easier time avoiding those common mistakes that often plague a quickly-growing team. Without its driven and multitalented staff, George said Riot simply wouldn't have gotten where it is today. Throughout the rest of his presentation, George offered even more anecdotes about how Riot Games has managed its growth over the past few years, and you can check out his talk in full in the above GDC Vault video.