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Happy Employees Make Great Games – The Fatshark Way

A company is nothing without its employees, and when you have a team that consistently puts out great games, something must be going right. For Swedish studio Fatshark, the key to all of the success is to have a happy team behind all of its projects, as co-founder and CEO Martin Wahlund shared with us.

“When we started the company, we were only a few people. The initial idea was that we would like to keep a decent workweek and have a work-life balance. We believe that by having happy employees, you make great games,” Wahlund shared.

That’s a good aim to have for any organization big or small, but putting it into practice is not always an easy task. For the studio, this meant ensuring that folks “can have a life outside of work” when they are off the clock, but also keeping them “focused on building games” when they are at work, instead of worrying about other things.

Another way that Fatshark goes about keeping morale up is its commitment to making the work environment homier. This includes having “an area where people can gather” for lunch breaks and making connections which have become increasingly harder due to the pandemic and an expanding team.

“In the beginning, there were only a few people, and now it’s separated and ultimately, COVID, so people have worked from home for like two years. So yeah, it is very, very, very important that we get people together again”

The company’s flat structure has also allowed it to stand out from other studios, which is another aspect of work at Fatshark that has made things more creatively driven and created a generally more pleasant time for everybody.

“We have everybody involved; everybody can say what they want. I can have interns coming up to me, questioning my decisions. And I think that’s really nice, suggesting ideas and all,” said Wahlund. “So we have a relative sort of high ceiling in terms of like allowing people to express their stuff. Sometimes it can be painful for a CEO, but it’s very good. I think it’s good for the culture that everybody can have their voice heard.”

This was certainly not something that a younger Wahlund could have dreamt up years ago, but it is the reality that is part of the experience working at Fatshark.

“You dream about it, but you never think it will happen. I think it’s surpassed all my expectations.”

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