Late last week 2K Australia closed down in Canberra. It was the last of the ‘AAA’ studios in Australia, a final reminder that, in a different time, Australians once helped make major, big budget games for consoles.
But what about those people who lost their jobs in the process? What happens to them? That’s where #2kAusJobs, created by Aussie developer Josh Caratelli, comes in.
More than sympathy, more than condolences – #2kAusJobs was a practical, efficient, crowd-sourced response to the closure of 2K Australia; a means to helping those who just lost their jobs find new ones.
#2kAusJobs started life as a simple shared Google Document. Before long it was its own hashtag and a comprehensive list of just about every single available job in the Games Industry, both in Australia and abroad.
"In light of 2K Australia closing its doors today, as a community we’re gathering a list of employers looking to hire people," Josh Caratelli wrote on the now sprawling document.
"If you know a game development company hiring, please leave their application website or application email address below under the respective fields (Australia or International).
"There’s some amazingly talented friendly devs coming out of there who recently released Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
"Please tweet your jobs with the #2KAusJobs hashtag on Twitter."
Josh Caratelli is a talented young developer developer studying and working out of Melbourne. At the age of 18 years old he’s already won awards, spoken on panels at PAX Australia and currently works out of the largest burgeoning hotbed of new talent in Australia: The Arcade, a communal workspace shared by a large number of small development teams working on their own projects.
He started #2kAusJobs for many reasons. But first and foremost, he wanted to pay back a favour – to former 2K Australia Technical Director Adam Boyle.
“While I've never met him in person,” Josh said, “he’s always taken the time of day -- even several years ago when I was a fourteen year old nobody -- to answer my questions. His personality accurately reflects everyone who worked there. I figured whether he knew it or not, that since he had helped me out so much over the years, it was my turn to pay it back and help him and others out.”
The second reason: many of those who lost jobs in the closure of 2k Australia had families. Uprooting those families and moving overseas – like many may have to do – would be extremely difficult. Josh wanted to help create a resource that would have some sort of focus on work available in Australia.
He took inspiration from the #MaxisJobs hashtag, created by Bryanna Lindsay, in the wake of that studio's closure. Josh figured if he took the initiative he could make sure Australian jobs were highlighted first, alongside international ones.
“For those like Adam, who have families, it means that uprooting and moving overseas or going indie aren't the only visible options available to remain in the game development industry. There are actually a lot of opportunities, as you can tell from the document, which are available in Australia.”
The shared Google Document created by Josh grew rapidly. Local developers added available jobs. Some, like Hipster Whale, dropped past to offer their support. International developers also came by to add jobs from overseas.
According to Josh, the document was regularly capped out at the 50 person limit Google sets for people editing a single document. Many people got in contact with Josh: they couldn’t get into the document -- too many people were trying to add jobs at the exact same time.
At time of writing there are 75 jobs posted on the #2kAusJob document, 33 of which are Australian. It was a tremendous effort started by Josh, supported by the tight-knit games development community in Australia and beyond.
“2KAus was a game development icon in Australia,” explains Josh. “It doesn't take long to find out quite a few of your friends either worked or knew someone who worked there.”
“One positive out of this mess is that it showed, as a global community, how everyone in the industry, from students to veterans, came together to support these talented developers who have now lost their jobs. I’m sure in a few months’ time when this all blows over, the developers who once worked there will be back to doing what they love and will be making games – that is if they haven’t started already.”
If you have any jobs that might fit the bill, you can add to the #2kAusJobs document here.