There are no grey cubicles to be found in the video game studio's playful, nerd-positive workspace.
Kabam is a bit of an odd man out on the luxury row that is Alberni Street. Though the video game studio counts Versace and Prada among its neighbours, most of the company's designers, programmers and artists show up to work in hoodies. "Sometimes we have onesie day," laughs Amie King, director of studio operations. "We're a bit out of place." But the two-floor, 30,000-square-foot office is luxurious in its own right: every last detail has been thoughtfully designed to maximize joy, even on long days or tight deadlines as the 160-plus person team pushes towards launch day for games like Marvel Contest of Champions. "It has everyone's input; there's so much personality here," says King. "We wanted a mixture of functionality and fun, for people to feel comfortable and creative."
PHOTOS: Inside Kabam's Vancouver Office
The Optimus Prime in reception came in two large pieces. "He’s 1,000 pounds—it seemed like a good idea at the time, but then it took 12 of our engineers to figure out how to put it together," says King. The mural is a showcase of previous Kabam projects. Most of the furniture is custom-made by an employee's parents—the mom is a designer, while the father is an electrical engineer, and they run a company called Madrona Bay off Salt Spring Island. USB plugs are built right into the table. "We're always testing, so our devices are constantly running out of juice," says King. The custom picnic tables (another Madrona Bay original) have a hidden slot in the centre for holding ice to keep after-work beers cold. There's a bottle opener built into the underside of the table, too. Is a start-up really a start-up without a candy wall? "When we first got it, people went a little crazy, but things have kind of settled down," says King. These cubbies are used for napping and play-testing. "Or some people just hang out in there with a glass of wine," King says. The curtains were sewn by the Chief Technology Officer's wife. "We really put everybody to work for this," laughs King. "We're a very dog-friendly studio. We have 14 dogs, though not all are full-time," says King. King sourced the sofa and armchair from Wayfair; the Rubik's cube tables were custom by Madrona Bay Decor. Each meeting room has a theme, be it the Garage with its tire tables and racecar seats, the Armoury, or the Interrogation Room. The crown jewel of meeting rooms, though, has to be the one accessible through this TARDIS. A pocket door at the back of this Dr. Who-themed phone booth opens up into a large board room space. (It's not the only hidden-access spot in the office: "We've got a speakeasy that we didn't get to take photos of, too.")
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