Who's this Klanger? An interview with Sabrina Seltenreich

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It's been a while, but we thought we should drop a surprise episode of Who's this Klanger? just before the holidays! This time, I sat down with QA legend, Sabrina, to talk about her background, cats, and big rocks...

Sabrina, why don’t you start by telling our readers a little about your working background and experience.

“When I finished school, I felt very lost and directionless. I truly felt like there was not a single job in the world that I would like, that I’d be good at, and that I’d ever be given a chance to try out and prove myself in. After some needed self-reflection, I ended up moving to Berlin more or less overnight, crashing at friends’ places, and through one of them finally ended up with an internship at an animation studio, which eventually led to my first real job.

Some time had passed, and a friend suggested checking out a QA role for a company that made databases; said company also shared an office (and management) with ZeroScale Games. It wasn’t long until I was asked to help them out with QA for their game projects, which basically meant doing all their QA work, as it was a pretty tiny studio. I felt very thrown into the cold water and had to learn a lot very fast, but I really loved being part of game creation. Because the studio was so small, I got a lot of insight into the production of video games as a whole and I was loving it!

My next job was in localization QA, but being so far removed from the actual process of creating games, it wasn't for me. I love working alongside devs and feeling embedded into the team, rather than communicating only through tickets. Luckily,  a former colleague (and by now one of my best friends) from Zeroscale told me about Yager Development looking for QA Technicians, and even more luckily they decided to hire me. I was working on Dead Island 2 until it was canceled. That was a hard day!

After Yager came Sandbox Interactive. I was excited to join as Albion reminded me of my Ultima Online days, and it was great to work closely with the community, as Albion was already in open beta when I joined the team.

Now I’m at Klang, working on the most exciting title of my career yet!”

And with that in mind, how'd you end up becoming a member of the Klang Gang?

“I was told about the position by a former colleague. Klang hadn’t really been on my radar before, but the more I learned about Seed and the more I heard about the team, the more I wanted to be in. My first week at Klang I was walking on air! Four months in, I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase.”

Amazing to hear! So, what excites you most about Seed?

“Initially I was just taken by the beautiful art style, it’s so unique and fresh and cool. I still take screenshots all the time just because it’s so pretty. But by now, I’m much more intrigued by the sheer scale and the strong vision behind it. I keep hearing that we have to be crazy to undertake such an ambitious project, but I think I’d rather work on something crazy than on something boring any day.

Personally, I can’t wait to see the first players breathe life into the game. What they're gonna come up with, how they're gonna shape the world, and how they're gonna use the tools we’re providing. And, from a QA standpoint, how are they gonna break it, of course.

I also love science fiction, so working on a game with this kind of lore is just a dream come true!”

Are there any games that have inspired you?

“I love Monkey Island, Loom and all those old point-and-click adventures. Humor and storytelling are essential to me. I was very much a Nintendo kid, and the Zelda and Metroid games hold a special place in my heart. Even before I knew enough English to understand what’s going on in the game, putting in that golden cartridge was just something magical. And later, Ocarina of Time made me daydream about making my own games (which mostly looked suspiciously like OoT reskins).

Donkey Kong Country was one of the most fun games series of my childhood. Mario was a big part of my childhood as well, so I have to mention those. Then there was Final Fantasy VII, which just has the best atmosphere.

I got into Ultima Online for a bit, and loved exploring the world and having fun with my friends.

And The Sims, which brought out my inner interior designer and inner psychopath in equal measures. It’s very hard to stop listing things so I’ll just do it now.”

Enough of this video game nonsense, tell us more about your cats!

“Haha! I have too many cats, which means three, since a sane person has two cat slots. Mütze is 16, thinks my face is a perfectly fine surface for walking on, and wants your food, my food, that lady-over-there’s food, and could you order him a pizza? Strangely enough, he’s pretty skinny.

Merle, 13, is the neglected middle child and the friendliest cat in the world. Persian-Maine Coon mix, shakes your hand in exchange for a treat. She also likes brushies.

Schmu, 7, is afraid of everything, but wants your attention in the form of tummy rubs. There’s a lot of tummy, and there are never enough tummy rubs. She’s also a bully.

As a team, they like to sit on the comics I try to read, walk over my keyboard and drink from my water glasses.”

Your also an avid boulderer, what's your favorite rock of all time?

“You mean, like, Dwayne Johnson? I’ve only started bouldering last year, and I only do it inside. There are a few bouldering halls in Berlin that I go to in a rotation, that way you always get fresh routes. When I started last year I was very afraid of heights, and would sometimes start crying when up on a wall. Now I’m pretty much over that, and only cry when I run out of snacks or adventure times ends, like a normal person. I can really recommend bouldering, it’s a great mix of puzzle and exercise, and the atmosphere in most bouldering halls is great.

Basically, a group of people taking turns in failing at getting up a wall, but sticking with it, and being happy for each other when they succeed. So if you’re afraid of heights or performing/failing in front of people, give it a try, you’ll get over those fears in no time. It’s also just a lot of fun!”

Thanks, Sabrina. That was a great one! We'll be bringing back this series next year, featuring the latest members of the Klang Gang.

And, while you're here, we're hiring! Be sure to check out our vacancies here. Are you the next member of the Gang?

Who's this Klanger? An interview with Otto Bruno Rivera

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For the first instalment of our Who's this Klanger? Series for 2018, I sat down with QA Manager, Otto, to discuss his background, favourite games, Star Wars, and blends of tea...

Otto, tell our readers about your working background and experience.

“My introducing into the gaming industry was quite random! Back in 2007, my Aunt found a job ad in a local newspaper that was searching for multilingual people who were interested in video games...it turned out that the ad came from EA Madrid! I initially took it on as a summer job and it ended up turning into a full-blown career.

From then on, I've worked for a bunch of gaming studios, especially for Ubisoft in Germany, outsourcing localization QA for Skyrim. But, originally, I studied history, which is totally unrelated.”

With that in mind, how'd you end up working at Klang?

“It's partly by chance, partly by luck. A while back, I left my previous company to seek out new working experiences, but I really wanted to stay in Berlin; I ended up turning down a bunch of offers that were not Berlin-based.

I sent a speculative application to Klang and when I finally got the answer, Seed had gained a bunch of exposure online, and I was like, 'wow, that sounds interesting!'”

So, what excites you most about Seed?

“What sold me was the political system. During my second or third interview, Mundi showed me a mock-up of the political framework. The possibilities of creating a 'fill-in-the-blanks' political system, allowing players to create a system that works for them, just blew my mind. I knew I wanted to play this game. Now, I'm in-charge of QA for it.”

Are there any games that have inspired you?

“I'm a big fan of all kinds of management and strategy games. To be honest, I'm a huge fanboy of Alisdair's work, Klang's new Game Designer. He played an integral part in the development of Total War: WARHAMMER II, which I just love playing - from the gameplay to the lore.

I'd say that my all-time favourite games are Masters of Orion II and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. I've spent countless hours playing both games...I just can't get enough of them!

I loved working on Skyrim, that's for sure. Working on an AAA game, on that size, was great. Seeing the game being produced, even from the perspective of the fringes of development, was an incredible experience.”

Speaking of being a fanboy, you're also a bit of a Star Wars fanatic. What's your favourite film in the franchise and why?

“Do you have several hours to spare? Because that's not an easy answer! But, I'd say, from over the past 10 years, my favourite Star Wars film is Rogue One. It's set in the same universe but doesn't have the same, traditional heroes. It's a movie about terrorism...in space! How gritty is that!

Of course, The Empire Strikes Back cannot be beaten. The Empire can be beaten (with a bit of luck), but the film, nope, that can't be beaten.

You're known for your love of tea. What's your favourite blend for a good cuppa?

“This is a very funny question to ask a Spaniard! Since I was a kid, tea has always been around my house. Out of my friends and family, it was only me and my parents who enjoyed a good brew.

I would say definitely a dark blend. Something that hits hard. Either Yorkshire Tea or Barry's Tea, an Irish tea that's like a punch to the face.”

Stay tuned, readers, for the next part of Who's this Klanger? coming to you in a galaxy far, far away!