Employee Spotlight: Avi Mintz
At Certain Affinity, team is everything. CA isn’t just a fun place to work, but also a place to learn, grow, and be recognized for your successes and accomplishments.
Today’s employee spotlight features a new promotion to the Certain Affinity Executive Leadership Team. Avi Mintz is our new Vice President, Executive Producer. As part of Avi’s role at Certain Affinity, he will oversee a growing number of development projects including CA’s lead development work.
How did you come to work at Certain Affinity?
Years ago, when my team and I waited for builds to complete, we’d browse the Xbox 360 Arcade developer environment looking for games to help us pass the time – Age of Booty quickly became a favorite, and we played it non-stop. My path has crossed Certain Affinity’s a number of times since: in 2011 when I lived in Austin, and in 2019 when Certain Affinity opened a Toronto studio (my hometown). Looking back, Avi + Certain Affinity was an inevitable collision!
Can you tell us about your work at Certain Affinity?
My north star since I joined the company 2 years ago has been to help Certain Affinity navigate a shift from primarily co-development to primarily lead development. That mission started out as leading the Production department, but has also translated to a broad range of initiatives, like facilitating new business partnerships and refining our development methodologies.
One of the most rewarding things about joining Certain Affinity has been seeing the direct impact of my work in a way that never could have happened at a larger company. With my appointment to the executive team, my mission changes slightly; I feel responsible for charting our course to lead development now, alongside a heightened responsibility around shepherding the shift itself.
What do you think makes Certain Affinity different from other studios?
This is an easy one, and it’s the primary reason I joined Certain Affinity – where other companies or studios often start from a big bet on a business opportunity or an IP, Certain Affinity is built squarely around its people. That fact shapes every aspect of the business, and the culture is infused by it; during Austin’s crazy winter storm of 2021, our Austin-based senior leadership, most of whom were also struggling without basic necessities, were fully engaged in an effort to check on each and every Austin-based team member.
Max often says that he founded Certain Affinity with a vision of being “the best place to make games,” and having an entire company fully dedicated to realizing that aspiration is what makes Certain Affinity both a great place to be and the right environment to shape award-winning teams.
Are there any games you’ve been playing lately to help inspire you?
So many! I’ve been consuming VR titles and leveraging cloud gaming over the past year or so, but it’s been hard to stay up to date with AAA releases; my youngest daughter was born in June 2020, and my other girls needed more of my time than I could give them over the past three years.
With things normalizing lately, I’m really excited to be back in a position to be playing games regularly and keeping abreast of the industry. In my own brand of ‘revenge vacationing’ after the pandemic, I picked up and played through Horizon: Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok over the past few months, and I’m just now beginning my Hogwarts Legacy journey, playing it on my lunch hours in our Austin office’s gaming lounge. Our team is so proud of the work we did on that game, and I’m trying to create a scenario where they can walk past and point out the specifics to me!
What most excites you about the future of Certain Affinity?
Though we’ve accomplished so much as a bootstrap startup in the AAA space, our story is an underdog story, and I can’t wait for its culmination. Our industry is still at a wonderfully immature point, the game development and business leadership playbooks are being rewritten day-by-day, and there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for anyone who can sort through the chaos and help their team rise to the challenge of conceiving and shipping best-in-class games.
I often compare the experience of making games to my time spent in a WoW raiding guild, so… I can’t wait for that moment when our raid team has gelled, we’re farming Karazhan on the regular, and we’re ready for some new content to ace.