Meet Vlad Alexandru From Keywords Studios in Romania
Staff Spotlight – We caught up with Vlad Alexandru, Studio Head at Keywords in Romania, to discuss the recent launch of our Romanian hub, its plans for the future as well as the evolution of the video games industry.
Congratulations on the recent launch of Keywords Studios in Romania! Can you talk to us about the journey to this point and your plans for the studio?
Thank you! It really is an exciting time and these past few months have been some of the most rewarding I’ve experienced in my professional life.
The journey so far has been busy, pretty much everything you would expect when opening a new studio. What I do want to stress is how much easier this process has been thanks to the incredible Keywords team, from top to bottom. I have never received such great, proactive and constructive support in my work, so thanks to all involved!
Now that Keywords in Romania is ready for business, our plan is to quickly develop into one of the biggest Keywords hubs in Europe, emulating the success of our colleagues in Poland.
In the short term, we are working hard to assist Player Support with their incredible growth, and I hope that by early next year we’ll also be in position to support FQA. However, I don’t want to stop there. My own long-term goal is to have as much of the Keywords range of services as possible present in Romania, to bring that full offering to clients and in turn, uncover the amazing talent available here.
What excites you about your day-to-day role at Keywords Studios in Romania?
Even though there have been a few big players in Romania for a while now, I would argue that the video games industry is still very much in its infancy here. So, for me, being a part of its growth at this stage is what excites me the most. Essentially, I see my main role as ensuring Keywords in Romania will be one of the main drivers of the Romanian gaming industry for generations to come.
What inspired your journey into the video games industry? Have you always wanted to work in games?
I always wanted to work in games, but never knew it was even a possibility!
I started playing video games in 1999 and have loved it ever since. I even played competitively once upon a time! Having said that, it never occurred to me that a career in the video games industry itself was an option. That was until I randomly came across an opening for a Bizdev Director role at AMC. At the time I confused them with AMC the TV station! However, it piqued my interest enough to check out the job specs. Imagine my surprise when the first thing I saw upon researching was The Witcher 3 project, one of my all-time favourite games. Suffice to say I sent them what was basically a “PLEASE HIRE ME” e-mail right away, and it worked!
Sorry for the long story, I just wanted to share because I think it’s relevant to the state of the Romanian gaming industry. I feel there are many in Romania, like me, who would LOVE a career in video games but have not considered it as an option for so many reasons. That’s what I want to change.
Has gaming evolved as an industry since you started?
I have only been in the industry for about 3 years, so I haven’t been around for many of its big changes. But even so, it’s such a dynamic industry that even in this short time I have seen it grow, adapt, and change.
Naturally, there was the pandemic which forced the industry to evolve. The transition to remote working was a big one, but we are extremely lucky in that it’s one that we can cope with and is actually beneficial in many cases.
A great example is that most of the Keywords in Romania staff, especially the staff dedicated to Player Support, will be working remotely. This puts us in a unique position to be able to hire anywhere in the country, even in less developed areas in need of employment. At the same time, it increases the quality of life and job satisfaction for many employees all while reducing some of our office-associated costs.
What elements of the video games industry do you see evolving in the future?
Over these past three years, I have not only seen an increase in the sheer number of projects being developed but also the quality of the projects, including smaller indie or double-A ones. I expect this will continue to grow and in turn maintain developers’ partnerships with external developers. Ways of working are evolving. More and more developers are going for deeper collaborations, embedding external partners into their teams, giving more autonomy and even artistic license in many cases.
On the technology side, there’s also a constant evolution. It’s clear that this will require a proactive approach from all of us to be at the forefront of, rather than trying to play catch-up.
And finally, what advice would you give to someone considering a career in the games industry?
You CAN have a career in the games industry! The industry is now more inclusive than ever, from every standpoint. The games industry is not an exclusive club. The beauty of it is that it’s for everyone and is such a fun industry to be in.