September 25, 2018

Roughly 15 years ago — summer of 2003 to be exact — a scrappy, young, engaged couple with only a few years of experience came to the conclusion that they were somehow qualified to start their own design studio in order to create their ideal work environment and culture. What little money they had saved was being put into their humble wedding plans, but they were so in love with each other that they could not be bothered with rational logistics. The woman, who was normally cautious and very practical, loved him so much that she ignored all of the reasons why it shouldn’t work, and together they embarked on an adventure that would bring more joy, exhaustion, stress, trust, and fulfillment than either of them could have predicted.

15 years later, words can’t express all the ways in which that decision has enriched our lives. Looking back, my mind jumps to so many times throughout our history as a company, so many milestones and accomplishments and learning experiences… but the most impactful thoughts and memories have to do with the people that have made Capacity what it is today, and especially those that continue to influence who we are on a daily basis as we grow and evolve into something even more special than what we set out to be 15 years ago.

The past handful of years have been some of the most dynamic we’ve ever experienced. We left Culver City, our home for over 10 years, to setup shop in our very own space in Burbank. We shifted our focus almost entirely to the gaming industry, which has been amazing and taps into a huge passion we share as a team. Through that, we’ve met so many awesome people and gotten opportunities we’d never dreamed of. I could go on and on.

But not all the dynamic change has been part of my plan. We bid farewell to some really important team members who went on to pursue other things. As uniquely difficult as each of those situations was, I look at the team now, and the people that are here because a spot opened up, and I know it was all meant to be. Everyone here will tell you that they’ve heard me say this once or twice before in other circumstances, but it’s the honest truth: I’m more excited now than I’ve ever been about this team and where we’re going together.

We just recently celebrated Jonathan’s 10 year anniversary here, which is amazing. A couple years ago we celebrated Anna’s and Mitsuka’s, and before that, Benji’s and Kenny’s. You guys, I seriously have trouble holding back tears of joy when I think about how much it means to me that we’ve been doing this together for all these years. Capacity would not be where we are today without your loyalty.

Team, I love you guys so much. You are some of my best friends in the world. I wake up each day excited to spend time with you and thankful that I’m surrounded by so many genuine, talented, humble, amazing people. Thank you for being a part of this special family. It’s an absolute honor to work with you all. 

Benji, words can’t express how thankful I am for your leadership and dedication — sharing in this vision, guiding the team together, knowing we can figure out anything if we put our minds to it, and making great work that we can all be proud of — I’m thankful for all of it and beyond. So many awesome and exciting things in the works right now too. Like we always say: wennschon, dennschon! I really can’t imagine doing this without you, man.  

Pilar, bringing you on to the team has been one of our best moves ever. Your proactive style has finally allowed me to keep more of my focus on creative + vision stuff, so for that I am sincerely grateful. Your experience, intelligence, and intuition are outshined only by your personality. You are truly a strong, unique, and talented individual, and I am thankful to have you as my friend (and producer / unofficial performance coach). 

Jonathan, your special mix of multi-disciplinary creativity and methodical problem-solving (you are a robot after all) are so valuable to Capacity, but your humble and joyful disposition are some of the most important things that really set the tone for the team. I can’t believe it was over 10 years ago that Benji and I watched your awesome motion graphics self-portrait project and knew you would be a perfect fit. I appreciate you so much.

Jared, I’ve known you longer than almost anyone out here in L.A., and it’s been so great to see you grow into your role at Capacity. Your genuine enthusiasm and follow through, your friendly and totally authentic approach with all of our clients, our shared passions when it comes to gaming and life in general, even your dad jokes and the times when your title should be “head of counter-production” — these are all things that I treasure about you.

Melissa, you’re one of the most impressive artists that I’ve ever worked with. Your natural artistic talent mixed with your ability to see the big picture when it comes to the production pipeline are indispensable qualities. I love how you jump in and make things happen, no matter how daunting the situation appears. It’s been so awesome watching you grow in the time that you’ve been at Capacity, and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for you here!

Kenny, your story is still one of my favorites to tell. I’m so proud of you, and the way you’ve learned and grown and worked your way into the role you have today. We’ve come a long way since we had time to play Burnout Revenge at the office enough to be ranked number 74 in the world. As fun as that was, I much prefer getting to actually work on games with you now. ; )

Mitsuka, I’m so thankful that you’ve been able to juggle being a great mom and still cranking out amazing stuff for Capacity using your trifecta of ridiculous 3d modeling, animation, and design skills. Having you back in the studio more often has been so great — being able to brainstorm together, getting to hear your laugh, and partaking in whiskey hour with the team (even that one time you added coffee creamer to it, haha).

Alex, you’re easily one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. I don’t mind saying that I’m super jealous of your illustration skills, and in awe of how masterfully you apply your talents to so many other areas. Your brand of wit + humor fits so perfectly here, which makes it a joy to brainstorm together. I’m so excited about the stuff that we’re making together, I’m thankful everyday that you’re part of the Capacity family.

Xin, it’s been so exciting to see the impact you’re having in such a short time as you’ve adapted to our workflow. Your attention to detail and wide range of 3d skills make a perfect match, and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to help you grow and continue to hone in your craft. I’m so glad that you’re here.

Daryl, you are a SAVAGE sculpting beast. I love seeing the work that you create, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with your enthusiasm and work ethic. You’re the epitome of the focus, drive, attitude, and raw talent that we look for in a Capacity team member. I’m so glad that you’re dónde (aquí). Oh, and tell all your friends back home that they better believe you get to work on a bunch of awesome games. ; )

Anna, you are definitely the glue that holds everything together. I can’t imagine having to deal with the business details amidst all my creative director duties, so I am beyond thankful to have someone so trustworthy and detail-oriented in your role for all these years. Jen and I love and appreciate you so much.

Jen, my best friend. I’m so glad we get to do this together. I can’t believe it was over 15 years ago that we had the crazy idea of starting our own studio. Since then, you’ve accomplished many other wonderful things as well, especially as a mother to our awesome kids and as a baker with the unfair advantage of having formal design training. But I love that we’re a team, and I love strategizing with you, and tapping into your intuition, and I even love it when I know my big picture vision is taking you out of your comfort zone — that’s how I know it’s a good idea. ; ) Thanks for supporting me through everything and being such an amazing partner. I couldn’t do it without you.

A special note of gratitude to all of the families + significant others of the Capacity team: I know sometimes our schedule gets a bit intense, so thank you for being so patient and understanding. We’ve gotten way better at it over the years, but I want to make sure that we’re always as proactive and flexible as we can be, and hopefully that means you don’t have to sacrifice too much time with your loved ones. On that note, infinite, heartfelt thanks to my wife, my kids, and my parents for being so accepting and supportive through all of the different seasons of intensity as Capacity has grown. 

In addition to our core team, we’ve had the pleasure of regularly teaming up with some super talented audio geniuses… Dave, you’ve been helping us from the beginning. I can’t thank you enough. I’m constantly blown away by your impossibly diverse range of styles, and I always love talking music with you… Gavin and Joe, you guys always crush it for us, and you always make time for us too, despite how many projects you’re juggling. Thank you for bringing our work to life with your sound… Andy and Ed, thank you for making time during touring and working on your albums to lend your amazing beats and melodies to some of our most important work. You guys are ridiculously awesome.

And to everyone that has been a part of the Capacity team over the years — Blake, Conor, Erin, Steve, Meredith, Brett, Bryan, Steve 2, Kris, Jill, Riley, Max, Jonny, Billy, Alex, Aaron, Abi, Richie, Jonathan, Anais, Jennie, Katie, Ted, Gene, and Austin — I sincerely appreciate all of you, and will always be thankful that you chose to spend an important portion of your career with us.

To our partners: Thank you for entrusting us with your brands and IPs. Thank you to all the folks who gave us a chance when we were still trying to find our voice and our footing as a studio back in the day. You know who you are, and there will always be a very special spot in our hearts for you and all the work we’ve done together. And thank you to all of our friends that we get to work with on a regular basis these days, dealing with IPs and content that we never dreamed of. Words can’t express how much we appreciate and enjoy the collaboration and all great work we get to make together. This stuff isn’t just a job to us, it’s an insatiable passion, and we’re absolutely honored to get to work with so many awesome and talented folks.

To all the gamers and viewers we’re designing for: We’ll keep doing our best to make cool stuff that gets you super stoked about the games and content that you love. We share your passions, and we promise to continue to treat your beloved games / stories / characters with the level of attention and respect that they deserve.

Lastly, I was reading over what I had written in honor of Capacity’s 10th anniversary, and one of the lines jumped out at me. I wrote, “The truth is that when you really enjoy your work, and when you love the people you get to spend every day with, it changes everything.”

This theme is just as true for us today as it was 5 years ago — and just as aspirational as it was over 15 years ago when Capacity was merely an abstract idea written in an old sketchbook. It’s always been about our love for our craft and our love for people. It’s not always easy to be so emotionally invested, but I don’t know any other way to do it. What I do know is that we’ve been so blessed to be surrounded on all sides with truly amazing people and unbelievable opportunities, and I’m just thankful, from the bottom of my heart, to be a part of it.

Here’s to 15 wonderful years, and many more to come!

Love,
Ellerey