Guerrilla Spotlight: Florentina Neagu

Guerrilla; 17 October 2017


"I do not forget about my roots and traditions. I try to bring a bit of that to the office as well."

Originally from Romania, Florentina Neagu is a Producer at Guerrilla in Amsterdam.

She was chiefly responsible for overseeing the localization of Horizon Zero Dawn, and has recently begun expanding the scope of her responsibilities. We sat down with Florentina to talk about her career path, her passion for foreign languages and her life in Amsterdam.

Did you always want to work in games?

No, my ambitions were not even near the gaming world. When I was in primary school I wanted to become a judge! Over time my passion for foreign languages and writing grew bigger, and I left aside that childhood dream. I started to learn French at the age of 8 and quickly fell in love with the language and culture, so I studied it in high school and at the faculty. I majored in French language and literature, and minored in English before pursuing a master studies in Journalism.

So your ambition mostly centered around writing?

Writing plays a great role in my life, even today. I have a blog where I write poems, mostly in Romanian but I have written some in English and French. One could say that instead of using a gavel to rule in court, I chose words – either in my native language or in other languages – as a tool to express my opinions and vision of the world.

How did you end up in the games industry?

After finishing my master studies, I went on vacation and met somebody who worked in the industry. He portrayed the work environment so nicely it made me curious. I was in no hurry to find a job, as I wanted to enjoy the break after so many years of studying, but then in the autumn I started looking for work and saw that Ubisoft was looking for a French Linguistic tester. I applied, and one week later I started my journey into the world of gaming.

You weren’t already a gamer?

I usually do not play games, but once in a while I will spend a few minutes on a casual, colorful mobile game, just to get my mind off things. I use my free time for other activities such as cooking, reading (a lot), writing, or just walking. I still remember the first day I held a controller at work and did not know how to use it. I was like Dee Dee from Dexter’s Laboratory, questioning what each button does. As time passed by obviously I learned more, and before long I was even installing builds on devkits very easily.

Do you feel that not being a gamer is a hindrance to your line of work?

I do not think being a non-gamer is a disadvantage in my case, because of my journalistic background. I really like investigating and reading a lot about games and game mechanics. I read and question everything until I am able to understand and give an informed opinion. I can bring a fresh and different perspective on things, as I can see them from another angle.

How are you adapting to life in Amsterdam?

I honestly feel more at home with each day that passes by. I am discovering more and more interesting places and stuff to do here. It is a city full of opportunities; you just have to keep your eyes open and your mind curious, and wonderful things will come along. I also started working with a few friends on a platform called East End Girls, where we write articles in order to support other expats from Eastern Europe. It is still in its early stages as we have not written many articles yet, but we are patient and hope we will be able to positively influence other people.

Was it daunting to move to Amsterdam?

Not at all! For me, the desire to explore new grounds runs in the family – my dad was a mountain guide when he was younger. I enjoy discovering new places and cultures, and it is not difficult for me to make friends. Some of my classmates from school were already here, and even if we do not see each other that often, the idea of knowing a few people in the city was already comforting. I also lived in Malmö, Sweden for a year while working on a Ubisoft project as a Localization Project Manager, so I had some prior experience with moving before I came to Amsterdam. I found out that the logistics of moving are not hard; it is mostly a matter of determination and the willingness to leave behind your old home and lifestyle and trade it for new experiences.

As an expat, do you feel you can express yourself here culturally?

Even though I keep myself busy with different activities, I do not forget about my roots and traditions. I try to bring a bit of that to the office as well. As an example, in Romania we celebrate Mărțișor, the coming of spring, on the first of March. We have many customs related to this celebration, one of them being that all women receive flowers along with a specific white and red thread that represents rebirth and regeneration. I did not have the white and red threads with me, but I still gave flowers to all the girls at Guerrilla so their spring would be blossoming like the flowers. Seeing their smiles made me as happy as I would have been if I was back home.

What is working at Guerrilla like?

Working at Guerrilla is great. I feel I have really found my place among talented colleagues, and together we accomplish great things. Being a diverse group helps us keep balance, in my opinion, as many of us come from different cultures. Everybody is open, both professionally as well as personally, and you can talk freely with each other regardless of the level of hierarchy. When we want things to be done we focus our energy on that, and everybody has a voice that is heard.

You started out as a localization producer, but you’ve begun expanding your scope?

Indeed! I started working on localization – which I am still doing – and now I am handling the Visual team as well as the communication and coordination with one of our outsourcing vendors. Exciting times!

What would you say is an important trait to be a producer?

First of all, you have to enjoy what you are doing. If you do not, it means you are in the wrong place. It is also important to enjoy learning new things, and to face up to challenges with a smile on your face. Do not look at challenges and learning new things as impediments; curiosity is essential, as is openness to new experiences.

Thank you for your time, Florentina!

My pleasure!

If you want to stay up-to-date with everything Florentina is working on at Guerrilla, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re interested in becoming a Guerrilla too, head over to the Join page to see our open positions!