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28th February 2022
Community Interview with Vida Starčević, Remedy's CM
[Celebrating The Sudden Stop's 10th Anniversary]

To celebrate The Sudden Stop turning ten, we recently interviewed Remedy's Community Manager, Vida Starčević, passing along questions we received from fellow fans.

Relocating from Croatia, Vida became Remedy's Community Manager in January 2018, just months before the official announcement of Control at E3. Her work sees her write blog posts, interact with fans on social media, manage the studio's Discord servers, write marketing plans, host livestreams, travel as a studio's representative to international events and much more. If that wasn't enough, her role covers Remedy's entire catalogue, meaning a lot of multi-tasking.

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions, and to Vida for taking the time to answer them! 


Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi! I’m Vida. I’m from Croatia, and I’ve been the Community Manager at Remedy Entertainment for the past four years. I used to work as a gaming journalist back home, and before that I worked for a feminist NGO in a journalist capacity as well, and I did a brief stint in mobile games. But you can find all of that from my LinkedIn profile. As a recovering hipster, I’m interested in music (I listen to a lot of rap, RNB, and early to mid-2000s indie), fashion (both as an expression of individuality, wealth, gender, etc, and as an art form – I like thinking about streetwear just as much as high fashion), and photography. I love horror in any form, which is why it’s so awesome to work on Alan Wake! I spend my spare time playing video games, trying to maintain my Duolingo streak, playing tabletop games with my friends and even being on podcasts for some of them, listening to podcasts (have you heard of Just King Things? It’s great), trying out new cooking and baking recipes, and before the world shut down, travelling.



How did it feel to hear that you were relocating to Finland to work at the studio, and how did you find the process of moving countries?

Applying to Remedy was such a surprising experience – I didn’t think I’d get the job until they gave it to me. I applied “just to try it” – I was thinking, well, I’m definitely going to be rejected because all my community management experience is very basic, but I want to see what the experience of applying to a AAA studio is like, and writing a really robust application for the position will help me down the line when I’m aiming for jobs that are far more in line with the experience I have. It felt surreal when I actually got the job. I couldn’t believe it! I was constantly terrified I’d mess up and they’d send me packing – this one I can definitely attribute to impostor syndrome. I learned so much in that first year, and my team provided wonderful support, and space for me to be creative, make mistakes and get better through that. Moving countries was so devoid of stress it’s barely worth mentioning – Remedy provide a full relocation service for foreign employees, which means that you get complete support with logistics, bureaucracy, and day-to-day stuff from even before you land in Helsinki, to when you’re moved into your permanent residence. It’s great, I received amazing guidance and help.

Control & PlayStation EU teams at EGX 2018. Vida's UK trek after the reveal at E3 2018. [Source]


What is a typical workday for you?


I do community management, but also I help out with more general PR things. To me, community management means making sure that communication flows between the players and the studio – that you know what we’re working on and that you feel included and listened to, but also that the development teams at Remedy are aware what the people we make the games for, our community, think about the games we make. On any given day I’m working on maintaining our social media channels, and I’m also working on things that take a little longer to produce than a tweet. For example, these can be community plans and schedules for the whole cycle of promoting a game, from announcement to launch, or it can be concept documents for videos we want to release for the community. I try to dedicate each day to looking at what people are talking about when it comes to our games, on all social networks, and I try to carve some time out daily to reply to people as the brands, or at least like some posts or tweets. I talk to our development teams to keep track of what’s being worked on, and if there’s anything that I’d need to take note of that would be interesting to our community and audience. For example, if there’s a cool motion capture session, I’ll come down and take photos and videos of that. I spend a lot of time thinking about how we present Remedy and our games to our community and our players, and what we can do to improve that. Practically, this means that I make PowerPoints and write a lot of planning documents (for dev diaries, community strategies, and such), and I also look at how other studios are doing things.


Remedy started working remotely in early 2020. Have you adopted any routines to stay focused and look after yourself while working from home?

Stay focused? Hahaha. No. Look after myself – yes! I have a wonderful support system of friends and loved ones. I’d especially love to give a shoutout to my Destiny clan, Taken That Bread. I’ve been friends and clanmates with these folks for about as long as I’ve been at Remedy, and it’s been an amazingly supportive little community. We’re from all over the world, most of us work in game development, and while being friends with them has always been wonderful, they’ve really saved my sanity more than once during the pandemic. Sometimes all it takes is playing some nice games with some lovely friends to no longer get the morbs. I guess they’ve also helped me stay focused – we have a Discord channel where we all listen to music together while we work, that’s helped keep my mind on track! Remedy has also been supportive about the shift to working from home, and our IT department have been absolute heroes getting everything set up for people to be able to work remotely. We have casual Slack channels where we discuss our remote work life, post pet photos, ask for advice, just regular little day to day socialization things that we aren’t able to do in person at the studio. However, we’ve kept the studio open throughout the pandemic, and keep a clean house and strict rules how to take care of yourself and others when working at the office. I’ve been back in the office since the beginning of the month, and it’s been really nice to sit at my desk with all my knickknacks and to chat to my friends and coworkers in person again.

Vida hosting the remotely-held Alan Wake 10th Anniversary Livestream in 2020. [Source].


Looking back at your career at Remedy what is the thing that you're most proud of? Whether that's a career or personal challenge that you've overcome.

I’m proudest of learning how to communicate better, be it inside the studio (within my team, or with everyone else), or with the community. I’m very glad that I’ve been able to learn how to listen better, and to talk to people in a considerate way. I’m glad that Remedy and my team always give me the space to voice my opinion about our projects and the way we communicate to our players about them. I think it’s hard to gain that confidence, and to a lot of people, myself included, it’s not something that’s innate.

I’m incredibly lucky to have a team that values my input and trusts my opinions. I’m very proud of some of the recent videos I’ve produced, especially our remote working video, which I concepted and realized together with our team and our amazing video editor. And the Alan Wake 2 development diary that we released when Alan Wake 2 was announced, I drove the production of that from Finland while the team were on the ground in Los Angeles. Huge, huge props to them for filming everything and getting all the footage to us in time!

But the thing I’m proudest of is the Remedy community itself. It’s small, but I think the community works hard to be welcoming and inclusive. There’s a lot of talented, lovely people here, and I’m so proud every day to be your community manager. I think one of the highlights has been working with you, Rachel, and The Sudden Stop, to announce Alan Wake Remastered. It was such a pleasure and a really meaningful moment for me, to give back to the community that has given us so much.

The best is yet to come. I’m so excited for what we’ve got planned for Alan Wake 2. I truly can’t wait to tell everyone more about the game – I think it’s going to be wonderful. Everyone’s dedication and love for the Alan Wake universe really shines through in it. I hope our community sees that, too!


How do you juggle focusing on different game projects?

I prioritize. Different projects require a different level of engagement, depending on what we’re promoting and what part of development the project is in. Having a clear project roadmap and a lot of to-do lists and checklists help. What also helps is having plans set by our publishers and the rest of our communications team that I can follow. Knowing what (trailers, release date announcements, sales) happens when and on which project is crucial to deciding in which order to do things, and what to focus on.

Lately, the focus has been on CrossfireX, the launch of the Remedy Store, and American Nightmare's 10th Anniversary. [Source]


What is your favourite Remedy title and what made it so impactful? (Aked by @missvivisx on Twitter & ofabittersoul on Instagram)

It’s Control for sure, because it’s the first game I worked on and it’s the first Remedy game with a female protagonist – a huge reason why I took the job here. I have a lot of love for Quantum Break, because it was the first Remedy game I covered as a gaming journalist and my first cover story for the magazine I wrote for. And of course, Alan Wake, because it’s wacky as all hell and because it was my gateway to Twin Peaks.


With inspirations taken from Twin Peaks, Stephen King and House of Leaves, I'm curious if there are any other major shows, books, or movies that have influenced the team over the years, and if so what their favourites are? (Asked by Josh McGinn)

You’ve nailed all of them! The only one you missed is the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer – that one influenced Control quite a bit.


What has been Remedy's reaction to the virtual photography community? (Asked by @shinobi_space)

Our Executive Producer on Control, Juha Vainio, is a huge, huge fan and advocate of the virtual photography community and all your work. We’re constantly amazed at the different ways you find to be creative, and all the different lenses (pun unintended) you see our game through. It helps us appreciate it in a new light!


Is there any chance we are getting more Crossfire operations? (Jareson Vardisec, Facebook)

We enjoyed giving our take on the Crossfire universe and being able to further explore the characters created by Smilegate Entertainment, and as the publisher, the decision to give you more Operations would be on them.


-- CONSOLE & PC GAMES --

The Crossfire Series

The Control Series

The Quantum Break Series

The Alan Wake Series

The Max Payne Series

Additional

-- MOBILE GAMES --

-- LIVE ACTION SERIES --

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