Q&A WITH HEAD OF PRODUCTION: DEVENDRA KUMAR
Q. Tell us about your background – any experiences when growing up with school or university, that have played a key role in shaping who you are now and the role you are in?
I studied commerce at university, and it was my ambition at the time to become a chartered accountant. However, despite my original goals, I started in the animation industry as a Trainee in a top studio in 2000. I have always been an avid chess player in my spare time, it has helped me improve my resilience and perseverance. I believe these skills have helped me in my career, and I achieved my next milestone by becoming a Technical Supervisor for over ten years. In this role, I worked across various domains such as features, TV episodes, and games. At the peak of my time in that position, I decided to pursue my strengths in analytics, strategy, and management. I found the initial transition challenging as it was a big jump from one area to another. However, I was determined to succeed, and I obtained management accreditation in 2012 and got hired as a Project Manager. Ten years later, I am currently serving as the Head of Production at Technicolor Games, which is the home of so many amazing and creative minds, I cherish its rich culture, and I only want to keep on going!
Q. What are your inspirations and influences on your career and life?
My motto is: “Get inspired and be inspired.”
I have always found inspiration so important in life as it helps push you to achieve your goals. I recommend always choosing a wise role model/mentor and following his or her mindset. Whether that is a family member or a famous person, it could be someone from history who has made a real change and inspired others to do the same. These are often people that help to include others, people that say “we,” not “me.” Especially in a management position, I think it’s important to include everyone and encourage them to share their knowledge; once shared, we have more room to learn new things. I take inspiration from my team all the time. I also encourage others not to hesitate even if they make a mistake. Mistakes are natural and we can always use them as a learning opportunity to better ourselves and not make the same mistake again.
Q. What moments in your career are you most proud of?
My proudest moments have been building long-lasting relationships with clients and continuing to work on incredible projects. Seeing my team and mentees grow in their career. And finally, achieving my personal goals to achieve the position I am in now.
Q. With the games industry ever evolving, what effect does that have on your work?
Change is constant and working in an ever-changing industry is ideal for someone like me who is always looking for new challenges and opportunities. With the challenges, there is a lot to learn, but it also gives us opportunities to showcase our work to an even greater level; this keeps me excited and motivates me.
Q. What makes the games industry unique for you? Is it different or the same to other industries you know of or have worked in?
In the entertainment industry, games are unique in allowing the player to become their favourite character or create their own. It is much more memorable if the character or game has a broad appeal, is diverse, and can capture anyone’s imagination! These games are also permanent; you can play for as long as you want, with different choices, challenges and outcomes. Personally, when you contribute to some of your favourite games, you cherish this feeling forever.
Q. What do you look for in your future team members?
Honesty and loyalty are the two most important traits for me, these cannot be taught, and they are key attributes that all of us should have. Skills can be taught or improved with training. Because as a team, we should all share our knowledge and teach each other, which is so important in inspiring and helping everyone grow.
Q. As a team leader, what values and messages do you ensure everyone learns or listens to?
As a team leader, I find it important to establish clear communication, goals, and objectives. It is important to give the right direction and lead by example, I always want to motivate my team members; help them advance in their careers and achieve their full potential. I say all the time: “Always work as a team!” as this has always helped me throughout my career.
Q. To finish, what are your top 3 favourite video games of all time and why?
If I had to pick just three, it would be: the Uncharted series, The Last of Us, and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. All of which are challenging, have stunning graphics, and keep you engaged enough to complete the story until the end.