Internship Applications: What We’re Looking for

When someone applies for an internship with us, we generally try to answer two questions.  First – how interested is the applicant in an internship with us in particular?  Second – how well placed are they to benefit from one?  When putting together your application, you should try to provide evidence that bears favourably on these questions.  (We understand that not everyone is equally adept at writing applications, and we’ll generally ask follow up questions if we think there might be points in your favour that you haven’t told us about – but we can only go on what you decided to tell us, and so might not ask the ideal questions.)

To make it a little easier to apply this advice, here are some specific suggestions.

Some Common Mistakes

Here are some things we see more often than we’d hope, and that will make it very unlikely your application will be accepted.

  • Applying for an internship in something we just don’t do.  As an example, 3D animation at the time of writing.  This suggests that you haven’t really considered the sort of work we do when deciding to apply; but also, it means we won’t have the right expertise to mentor you.
  • Sending us a generic email.  We understand this can be tempting if you’re sending out a lot of applications.  But we won’t be able to offer you an application if you do this, because this is strong evidence that you want the internship less than someone who takes the time to submit a thoughtfully tailored application.
  • Applying to us for an internship with some other studio.  This is less common, but still happens.
  • Applying at a time when we’re not accepting applications, without both acknowledging this and providing a really good reason.  We display this information prominently on our website, and we don’t offer internships outside of an advertised application window in the absence of exceptional circumstances.

There are also a couple of other, less serious mistakes that wouldn’t prevent your application from being accepted, but that we’d still encourage you to avoid.

  • Not providing all the information we ask for on our internships page.  We need it to make a decision, so will generally just respond by asking you to provide it.
  • Contacting us with questions that we answer in the internships FAQ.

Some General Advice

Be as specific as you can about your interests.  It’s fine if you haven’t got this completely figured out – that can itself be a good reason to apply for an internship – but clearly laying out your current thinking on this will help us tailor the internship to your interests.  It will also help you make a more focused application.  Focused applications are usually stronger than more diffuse ones.

Provide links to anything relevant you’ve worked on.  These could be games, mods, your art portfolio, or many other things besides.  Please make it as easy for us to access these as possible.  Here are some examples of what we’d prefer you to avoid, drawn from past applications:

  • Embedding links in an image, so that we have to type them out;
  • Requiring us to sign up for an account (except on a site that’s very widely used, like Steam);
  • Requiring us to pay to access it.

We appreciate that in some cases the nature of the work itself may present real obstacles – to play a mod, for instance, we’d need a copy of the base game.  In such cases, it might make sense to send us an excerpt from a script, or a video of the mod being played – feel free to discuss this with us if you’re not sure how to approach this.

Lastly, if you link us to something you collaborated on with other people, please provide an indication of which elements were your contributions.

 Feel free to be yourself.  Your application should be clear and polite.  But beyond that, we don’t really mind how you express yourself.  You don’t need to be fluent in corporate idiom to undertake an internship with us; please express yourself using words you’re comfortable with.

Advice for Game Design and Narrative Applications

We’ll need to see something that displays your aptitude for (and interest in) writing or designing games.  We’re happy to consider pretty much any relevant evidence, including blog posts, design documents, reviews or conventional fiction.  But by far the most impressive and useful thing you can send us is a link to a playable, finished game.

You can use whatever tool you like (Twine, GameMaker, ChoiceScript, Unity, or something entirely different).  It can be long or short, a major project or something you put together in an afternoon.  But there’s no better way to demonstrate your potential as a game designer or writer.

Our own work relies heavily on mechanically complex, highly responsive narrative, and we’ll be particularly excited if you submit something which effectively employs a technique more sophisticated than branching for some narrative end.  (If that’s something you’re interested in, this post by Emily Short, who sometimes writes for us, may be helpful.)  But this absolutely isn’t a requirement.

Works submitted by past interns include a Europa Universalis IV mod, a StoryNexus game about sending rats through the post, and a branching Twine piece about sinister finger puppets.