Work at Bungie! BE a Princess!
From time to time, we'll give you an inside look at what it's like to work at Bungie. It's not all unarmed combat and shaving with a rusty bowie knife however, since there is a softer side to Bungie. Three, count 'em, three ladies work here. Today we speak to the shortest one. Alta Hartmann, the Bungie Princess.
Bungie: What qualifications does someone need to be a Bungie Princess?
Alta: Patience, flexibility, willingness to be direct and sometimes even a little mean, hard working and a ton of fun…not your typical definition of royalty, huh?
What exactly IS a Bungie Princess?
A Bungie Princess is essentially the same as Wendy was to The Lost Boys. My job is to make sure every person on this team is totally and completely focused on making cool video games and are not distracted by administrative paperwork, media coverage, tours, business issues, etc. I also make sure they are well fed and yes even groomed (I keep an ample supply of travel toiletries such as shampoo, soap and lotion ( Ed. Note : We did not ask for lotion!) on hand for those nights when the guys cannot go home). Our team ends up spending several months in a row practically living at the office and I like to try to make it a little more comfortable. Aside from acting as den mother I also run the business operations for our studio.
Who came up with that term and why?
You know I was joking around with some of the guys very shortly after I started working for Bungie and the name was thrown out…it just stuck I guess.
What does a day in the life of a Bungie Princess involve?
I spend most of my time answering emails, attending meetings and participating in conf calls regarding product development and business issues, scheduling meetings for the team, coordinating tours, press interviews, planning morale events and bugging Frankie as often as possible.
Who is the most difficult staff member? Come on, dish.
Frank O’Connor by far, he is always whining like a little girlie-man and carrying on about getting his ass kicked online.
You’re one of three girls at Bungie, how does that manifest itself on a day to day basis?
There is an up side and a down side to having a ratio of one woman to 20 men. The pros: they treat me like a little sister, they love to talk to me about their lives, they are always around for a laugh or joke. The cons: they treat me like a little sister, they love to talk to me about their lives, they are always around for a laugh or joke.
What is the single most popular Bungie snack?
Beef Jerky…I think we single handedly keep Oh Boy Oberto in business…we have had some guys almost go to blows over jerky. Other faves are: Swedish fish, jelly beans, any kind of chocolate and Fritos, one my most amusing snack stories is the time Parsons walked into a recruiting meeting with a plate full of Fritos and sat there eating them noisily during the entire meeting, that was lunch for him…he has some weird eating habits.
What advice would you give to girls who want to make it in the games industry?
Start developing a thick skin now. One of the most challenging parts of being in the game industry is working with a ton of men, then on top of that the studio is a mesh of tons of different personalities: artists, programmers, testers, etc. which can create a really unique environment. 90% of the time it kicks ass, but for the other 10% you have to be willing to suck it up and let things roll off your back. That is the hardest thing I had to adjust to and honestly still am.
Other than that refer back to the qualifications I listed above…you have to be flexible and willing to turn on a dime, this industry is ever changing. Along with a thick skin you cannot be afraid to speak your mind in order to get stuff done. Sometimes you just have to holler to be heard when you have 70 male voices drowning you out. Finally, we make games for a living for the love of god…HAVE FUN! Never, ever take yourself too seriously! This is a really cool, fun industry…all the long hours and intense stress are balanced out by amazingly talented and very good hearted people who I really enjoy seeing at work everyday.
Alta's Snackwagon in Action.