Tentacle Zone Incubator, EXIENT Q&A

Interview with Nusrat Shah, Exient
(Incubator Partner)

Nusrat Shah

COO, Exient.
Tentacle Zone Incubator Mentor 2022

Q1. Tell us about the work Exient has been undertaking to nurture the next generation of talent in video games, and how are you developing your own staff across the studios?

Exient operates across offices in Malta and the UK, with a fast-growing team working across our flagship games and the services that support them, all of which means we’re always looking to identify, recruit and develop talent on an international basis.

To that end, we have an established Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) programme, spearheading industry outreach and establishing a corporate structure primed for growth. Our priority is for Exient to offer an inclusive and welcoming workplace for all groups and individuals.

 

Q2. How important has EDI been in Exient’s growth and journey?

Tremendously important – it’s central to everything we’re doing here to grow Exient’s operations as a diverse and inclusive workplace. We’ve worked towards these goals by implementing several different initiatives under the EDI banner. 

For example, we’ve established a structured programme to ensure that Exient has the framework in place to support everyone within the studio; to attract more individuals from under-represented groups to join the team; and to showcase to the wider industry and community the studio’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion.

This included establishing an EDI steering committee, including my colleagues Becky Pomroy (Social & Community Manager) and Silvio Micallef (2D Artist). The committee is involved in benchmarking and carrying out reviews of policies and practices across the whole company – from recruitment and interviewing to the content of our games.

We’ve also launched the Malta games industry’s first EDI event, Let’s Play, in partnership with GamingMalta. The inaugural networking evening, with guest speakers, was open to anyone working in the games industry in Malta, or looking to start their career in games, and will run regularly going forward. 

Ultimately, we want to create a workforce that reflects the audience for our games; we want to support everyone within our studios, and we’d like to share our journey and learnings along the way.

Q3. Why did Exient get involved in this year’s Tentacle Zone Incubator?

We’re so proud and excited to be partnering with the Tentacle Zone Incubator, which did such an amazing job in its’ first year. Fundamentally, our organisations share the same values when it comes to supporting both the next generation of talent and creating an environment in the video games industry where everyone can thrive. We can’t wait to meet and support all of the exciting studios and projects that are coming through the Tentacle Zone Incubator in 2022.

Q4. What aspects of the Tentacle Zone mentoring are your most looking forward to?

I think after so long operating through the pandemic in a way that was mostly remote, the opportunity to reconnect with different parts of the games industry, especially in terms of nurturing the next generation of talent from underrepresented groups, is really exciting. 

One of the great things about the games industry is its relentless creativity. It doesn’t matter whether you work at a studio in one of the sector’s key hubs, or in a bedroom away from the bright lights of a big city – the power of great ideas will always shine through.

I’m personally looking forward to hearing about the projects this year’s intake of early stage developers is working on, and then mentoring them through their journey, whether that starts in the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia or the Middle East. I intend to share the work that Exient has put in place when it comes to development and publishing best practice, plus EDI, to ensure this year’s studio founders have a great platform from which to make their projects successful, both creatively and commercially.

Q5. What would you say to studios or individuals thinking of applying for this year’s Tentacle Zone Incubator?

Quite simply, it’s an amazing opportunity to benefit from peer-to-peer learning and networking with 45 experts across a wide range of disciplines, helping you to achieve your personal and professional goals within this amazing industry. I would encourage all early stage developers from underrepresented groups to get in touch with the Tentacle Zone team to find out more – we can’t wait to get started!