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Those who know me well know that I’m in a perpetual renovation mode

Alex Drouin

Animation Director

Hi Alex,

How did you start in the gaming industry?

Following my Art and 3D education at NAD, I started my career at Ubisoft Montreal in 1997. I was part of the first wave of employees to join the studio in July of that year. Fun fact: I was asked the first week if I wanted to be a modeller or an animator :) For the first 2 years, I worked on a Playmobil brand game and was responsible for the main character animation.

Following this project I took off to NYC to help Ubisoft open a new studio there. I worked and lived there for 15 months. Great times in the Big Apple! I came back to Montreal to start working on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Looking back, I think we had a pretty good success with PoP. The game won quite a few awards along the way. Following the game launch, the PoP core team received the mandate to conceive the sequel of the game for the next generation consoles. That was the birth of Assassin’s Creed. I was Animation Director for AC1, AC2 and I also helped during the AC3 conception phase. Following my AC years, I left Ubisoft for a sabbatical break. And in 2011, I decided to catch up with my friend Patrice Désilets and join THQ Montreal to work on 1666 Amsterdam. The rest is history! I went back to Ubi in 2013 to work on Child of Light and a couple of other projects before making the switch to Panache Digital Games. Voilà!

What is your role at Panache?

Managing and directing all animation aspects. More precisely, I animatee the main character and I direct motion capture sessions when needed. I’m responsible for the overall animation quality in the game and in the cinematics. Since we are a small indie team, I’m really hands-on.

What is the biggest challenge face in your job ?

The biggest challenge is to work on the marketing guy’s requests :) No, seriously, I would say that the team size is a challenge. Being indie also means that we need to carefully select where we put our efforts. That said, being a small team is also a real blessing given all the great talent we have. Our team is experimented and agile both creatively and technically.

What would be your recommendations for someone new to the industry?

3 things: Roll up your sleeves and work! Don’t forget to take your place and master the game design.

What are your favorite games of all time?

Inside
Portal
GTA 3
Golden Eye
Zelda: Ocarina of Time

What attracts you in gaming?

The contemplation pleasure: that’s why play. That’s what I want to feel. I love the artistically innovative games that give real emotions. And of course a good NHL hockey game :)

Apart from gaming what are your other artistic interests?

A lot of things nourish me. I’m a TV-cinema guy. I’m also very interested by architecture, especially the realisation side of it :) Just kidding! Those who know me well know that I’m in a perpetual renovation mode!

What about sports?

I’m a hockey fan. I have my season tickets to the Montreal Canadiens. I’m also interested in martial arts; I did Kung-Fu during a few years.

Thoughts on games?

Like a lot of my colleagues, I think the indie scene is taking more and more space in the gaming industry. Of course the big games will continue to exist with their big promotion machine but accessing dev tools very easily is slowly changing things.


And to conclude:

What is your favourite meal?

The one making mmmmumm in my mouth when I’m eating it!

Your favorite spots in Montreal?

Laval ;)

Your wallpaper?

Black with an Ancestors logo

Your favorite moment of the week at work?

Our Fridays Timeline games

Your hockey team?

Les Jaros de la Beauce (mythic 70’s hockey club)

Who has had the most influence on you professionally?

Patrice Désilets I would say, with his game design vision on top of all the years working together making games. Richard Dumas was also important in my career.

The best advice you were ever given?

OK it’s a French expression! Hard to translate, sorry guys! It goes something like this: in life like in hockey, if you spit in the air, it’ll fall back to the ground… Enjoy :)

Merci Alex