Monday, July 15, 2024
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Jyamma Games on being a fresh, modern & diverse studio

Jyamma Games started in Milan, Italy, in September 2019. Originally with a core team driven by a rebellious spirit and dedication, Jyamma brought four mobile games to the market before making strides into the AA market with Enotria: The Last Song.

Enotria: The Last Song is a thrilling Soulslike game set in a sun-lit land inspired by Italian folklore and filled with danger. The full game is being released on September 19, 2024, on PC via Steam and Epic Games StorePS5, and Xbox Series X|S, but you can jump into an 8 hour demo now on Steam and PS5! Check out our full preview here.

I wanted to dig in more to the studio’s founding and its drive to be a fresh, modern and diverse games company, so I spoke to Edoardo Basile, Jyamma’s Producer and Project Manager, to find out more about their work and how they support their LGBTQ staff.

Hi Edoardo, thanks for your time, let’s start with you giving us a brief history of the founding of Jyamma back in 2019.

The studio was founded by Giacomo Greco in 2019 and initially consisted of a 9 people team working on mobile titles. The vision of the company was to get the Italian videogame industry back on the charts and showcase to the world what our talents here in Italy are capable of.

Was a commitment to diversity and inclusion baked into the founding of the studio from the beginning?

Diversity and inclusion were and still are very important values that the studio shares. No matter who you are or what your background is, as soon as you love making great video games, you are more than welcome to join us.

Why is it important to have a diverse and inclusive workforce?

It is super important to have a diverse team because the key to create is to have an open mind and different perspectives over the story you want to share. I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to have different points of view over a creative process, especially when, like in our case, we are now developing a very complex game that touches cultural and humane subjects.

How do you support your LGBTQ staff specifically?

The best thing we can do to daily support our LGBTQ staff is to ensure an environment where everybody feels accepted and most importantly respected. You must be able to be your true self at any time without being marginalized, and this is something we really care about. This is also why we have LGBTQ employees all over the organizational chart, from the new entry to the higher management, because in an environment where you are respected no matter your background, you are going to be able to self improve and get promoted much faster.

Being founded in 2019 meant you didn’t have long before COVID hit, how did you keep your staff engaged during lockdowns?

Lucky enough, we are for the most part a remote working company, so a significant part of our team was able to take the hit differently. At the time we were still developing mobile titles, and we exploited the more free time to brainstorm new ideas and new concepts. We divided the team in two smaller groups and we did what we were good at: developing new games. Giving more creative agency to two smaller groups was a very good way to keep the staff engaged and distracted in a good way. At the same time we organized off-work playing sessions together to strengthen the team bonding (since it was still very new), and we took time to get to know each other better.

Remote working can be a challenge, but for LGBTQ workers it has provided a bit of a blessing as it allows for better opportunity to be true to themselves outside of the traditional workplace. Have you had any positive experiences of your LGBTQ staff working from home like this?

Absolutely, we noticed that sometimes distance is not necessarily evil, but can actually represent a smaller step to someone that might otherwise feel insecure being exposed to a lot of new people all at once. On top of that, working from home can guarantee a more comfortable place and push people to be more relaxed and genuine. This is one of the reasons we advocate so much for the remote work formula.

What tips would you share with other studios in how to positively engage their LGBTQ staff? Are there any major lessons you learned that you’d like to share in building a diverse and inclusive workplace?

Don’t treat people differently. Every individual is first of all a human being and has a dignity that has to be respected. On top of that, you have to respect the professional dignity of all your employees. Nobody wants to be promoted just because they are part of a minority, same as nobody wants to be discriminated against for the same reasons. Just be kind, professional and make sure that they feel comfortable in the way you are
communicating with them and with the working environment. This is, in my experience, the best way to have a healthy working environment and to make sure that your employees feel rewarded while free of any judgment.

Enotria: The Last Song comes out September 19, 2024, on PC via Steam and Epic Games StorePS5, and Xbox Series X|S. Try the 8 hour demo now on Steam and PS5.

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