I have loved Canadian indie games developer Klei Entertainment since they released Don’t Starve back in 2013. The survival game was given to me soon after release as a gift by a fellow gamer on GOG, and I was addicted to it for weeks after.
Not just because of the gameplay itself, which is as fun and as frustrating as hell, but also because Don’t Starve has some of the most beautiful artwork I have ever seen in a game.
Fast forward four years, and Klei Entertainment is finishing up work on their latest game Oxygen Not Included. A space colony survival and sim game Biffa2001 has been playing the alpha version of, and a game whose artwork is even more gorgeous than Don’t Starve. (And yes, a game’s artwork is very important to me, as I like something pretty to look at as I’m dying for the 977th time).
But it’s not just the games Klei Entertainment creates as to why I like them so much. I also love the way the company seems to be run.
Founded in 2005 by Jamie Cheng, Klei Entertainment takes care of their employees by making sure they do not work 80-hour weeks like developers do in most other game studios.
“The way we built the studio is more of a reflection of the kind of place we want to work in”, said Jamie Cheng in a video about Klei that was filmed three years ago.
“You hear these stories about 80-hour work weeks that last for months and months, “said Kevin Forbes, a programmer and designer at Klei. “And I just can’t accept that. It’s a total failure of planning on the management and production side”.