WANTED: Teen slackers to test-drive the hottest game on the planet. Must be prepared to dodge homework.
Video games developers in Edinburgh have launched a recruitment drive to take on paid testers to iron out problems in its upcoming super-titles.
Rockstar North will hire a team of staff to play titles continually and report back on bugs and faults ahead of launches next year.
The firm, based on Greenside Row in the city centre, is known for its secrecy, but testers are expected to work on Grand Theft Auto 5 ahead of its launch next spring.
Rockstar – which also produced the hit Max Payne series which was made into a Hollywood movie starring Mark Wahlberg – is also hiring a range of other personnel including character designers.
Despite the apparent ease of the job though – and the obvious appeal to teen games fans – the firm said it wants candidates with a university degree and with “excellent written skills”.
Rockstar warned: “We will be looking for flexibility regarding unsociable and extended working hours to meet the demands of the role.
“You will be finding and reproducing bugs, errors or problems in-game as directed. The role will require accurate, detailed and complete reporting to the required standards and subsequent revision of those errors or problems.
“You will be able to show consistent attention to detail and have the ability to remain focused when approaching repetitive tasks.”
Candidates have been warned to expect two interviews for the posts.
Professional gamers, known as quality assurance testers, can earn £12,000-£18,000 initially and £25,000-£30,000 per year for experienced staff, according to the National Careers Service.
Work includes spending hours on end replaying certain sections of games to identify problems, and filling in spreadsheets as they play.
Far from the mega-popular GTA series, and hits such as Call of Duty, games testers general are also employed to scrutinise simple children’s games.
Earlier this year, IGN, one of the world’s largest websites, which is devoted to games reviews, carried out an investigation into working conditions of games testers in the United States.
It found many were paid minimum wage, worked 90-hour weeks in “harsh-working conditions” in some isolated cases, although it was said to be unrepresentative of the games industry in the UK.
Scottishgames.net, which promotes industry courses and degrees and represents firms, says testing is one of the best ways into the industry.
• WITH Grand Theft Auto 5 planned for a spring launch, any testers being hired in Edinburgh will almost certainly be tasked to the title, which is a hugely exciting job for anyone interested in a career in game development.
The video games industry in Scotland is growing – there were six firms in the mid-90s and 86 developers now by my last count – and firms such as Rockstar North have huge a staff and release major titles. Becoming a tester is one of the best ways into the industry. Indeed, many of my friends who began as testers are now senior producers and even MDs of firms.
It is, however, not all having fun and playing games. It is your job to break the game, to find a bug that could ruin the title. Big developers are listed on the stock exchange and shares can drop if there are faults – so good testers are valued.