When In Rome
As autumn swiftly descended upon Stockholm, Arrowhead decided to take the entire studio on a team bonding trip to Italy. However, we didn’t just want to fly to Rome. We wanted the whole studio to stay in a castle, specifically Castello Orsini, about an hour outside of the city in the Italian countryside.
An epic journey awaited. Our flight landed in Italy at around 1:00pm. We were all a little sleep deprived considering we had to wake up at the crack of dawn, but that didn’t slow us down one bit.
The view from the plane right as we were landing in Italy was incredible.
The first stop on the way to the castle was a beach front restaurant called Il Veliero to feed the hungry developers! A perfect sunny day at the beach and view of the shinning Mediterranean Sea was quite the different scenery for a lot of the Swedes, especially compared to the weather in Stockholm earlier that day. Almost immediately people were walking out on the sand from our tables to bask in the warm water. When in Rome, have a 5 course seafood lunch; the fish did not disappoint in Italian authenticity. Afterwards, we hopped back on the bus, and headed onward to the castle!
The small windy road to the castle was quite possibly one of the most beautiful and charming drives we have ever been on.
We arrived at the castle to find that exceeded beyond any of our expectations. If the bus was going slow enough people may have jumped out of the moving vehicle out of excitement. Luckily, it wasn’t. The bus dropped us off at the bottom of a hill and we all walked up with our bags as we gazed upon the castle in awe.
Right when we got there, we all got our assigned rooms. 2 people shared a room so we got a total of about 25 rooms. Room to room varied in size and layout significantly, which made for a hilarious tour to see everyone’s room.
Every room had a name based on what it was built for, such as The Prince’s Room, The Guard’s Watch Tower, The King’s Room, and so on. Everyone was scrambling to each others’room to see who got the best and worst ones. Indeed, it was quite obvious.
The castle included a Jacuzzi, a swimming pool and garden, a few conference rooms, a bar, a restaurant, patios, and of course, amazing views.
The castle had an eerie feeling to it inside with some of the decorations.
The first night, we played a murder mystery game at dinner. Every table competed in trying to solve a murder case put on by the staff. The winning team won a giant bottle of Italian olive oil to take home. After dinner we were free to roam the castle grounds and enjoy everyone’s company!
The second day we all got up for breakfast, after which some people did a scavenger hunt around the castle, others took a pasta making class, and others were free to relax and enjoy the garden and views until the mid afternoon, and there was much enjoyment to be had by all.
In the afternoon, we had a team building exercise with everyone. We gathered in a conference room and started to really get to explore each others’ personality more. The co-founders told everyone the intense, heartwarming, and comical story of how Arrowhead was founded and came to be what it is today.
The main focus was to go into depth about who we are as people, our background, and what makes us the people we are today. Really get to know each other on a personal level. We split into groups with people who we may never have had much interaction with before and asked each other a series of questions about our lives. It was a very fulfilling and eye-opening experience that really broke down some barriers.
We do these trips exactly for this reason: to really know the people we work with and care about everyone as an individual rather than just a co-worker. Game development is a close teamwork-based business and as a company, it is imperative to everyone that we all can communicate with each other, form strong friendships, and have full honesty and transparency within and outside of the work environment. It is safe to say, after this trip we all came back knowing each other a quite a bit better than 2 days previous.
Oh yeah, one last thing. When we got back to Stockholm the following day, we found out that the airline had left most our bags in Rome. It was a good end to the trip.