I’m attracted by games that make me go through a variety of different emotions
How did you start in the games industry?
A long time ago my goal was to go to Jonquière College in the Media, Art & Technology program. Unfortunately, I wasn’t accepted so I decided to work in a video store to save some money and get into a school specializing in video games and 3D. 1167 movies later I started and intense 6 months at the NAD Center.
In 1999, I was hired by Ubisoft to work in their testing department. The first project I worked on was Rayman 2 on Nintendo 64.
That’s where it all began.
How did your career evolve in the industry?
Two years and a multiple projects later, I was asked to start a new Microsoft certification task team. Initially I was alone, but after a while my team and I we were responsible for all Xbox certifications in the studio. The first big project was Splinter Cell on the original Xbox console. During the course of this assignment I worked on 70 different games. That was a lot of work for such a small team. I really liked that period of my career and I’m very proud because we succeeded in setting best practices in all game development projects at Ubi.
A few years later I moved into a production role. At first, as production coordinator on Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and later as production manager on Rainbow Six and Your Shape, the first Kinect project at Ubi.
Then, in 2012, I was hired by THQ Montreal as project manager. My first project there was 1666 Amsterdam. I really liked the experience of working on the creation of a new IP but one year later the THQ bankruptcy forced me to move on. That is when my girlfriend and I decided to move to Seattle. I went on to work as publishing producer on the Halo franchise at 343 Industries. I stayed there 3 years and although I had a great time, I missed production as well as Montreal. So there I was in 2016, Development Director at Panache working on Ancestors with Patrice, JF and some of my former colleagues from 1666 Amsterdam. The best is yet to come!
What are your best moves?
One of the things I’m most proud of is that I’ve had the chance of helping very talented people develop their skills and blossom into full-fledged professionals.
What are your favorite games of all time?
Mario Bros. 3
Metal Gear Solid
World of Warcraft
Zelda Breath of the Wild
What attracts you in gaming?
I’m attracted by games that make me go through a variety of different emotions. I used to be really into action games which usually play on fear and stress but today I’m open to a mix of different emotions paired with a strong and assumed art style. I’m seeing this kind of diversity and statement in indie developers and that makes me very happy.
Apart from gaming what are your other artistic interests?
I’m a fan of photography. For those who know him, I’m really admire James Natchwey, a photojournalist who covered 30 years of world events from the Irish civil strife to the Afghanistan war. I admire his courage and vision.
Cinema is also a passion for me. My mother is a scriptwriter so you can deduct from it that I was quickly initiated to that art form. When I was really young, movies boiled down to one thing: explosions and action sequences. But one day, when I was 12 years old, I experienced a different kind of cinema. My mom and I went to the theater to see Dead Poet Society. It was the first time I felt deep emotions in a movie. Another cult movie I saw with my mom was Eraserhead by David Lynch. To this day, I’m still trying to figure out what I saw that day. All in all, I like movies that make you think.
What about sports?
I’ve discovered hiking on the west coast and did a lot of it while I was there. It is a great area for that! I also really like cycling. I love it, especially in the city. Some people run to clear their mind, for me it’s cycling.
Thoughts on games?
I think we are just entering a new gaming era, the era of auteur games. The industry is slowly moving away from doing only big Hollywood type games and making room for deeper emotions and storytelling. The independent gaming scene has been leading this movement and I’m happy to see that bigger developers are starting to dip their toe in different genres. Good examples of this movement are games like The Long Dark, Journey and Inside.
And to conclude:
What is your favourite meal?
This is an impossible question! I love way too many things!
Your two favorite spots in Montreal?
I’ve only been back in Montreal for a few months so I need to refresh my list here.
First thing in the morning?
I wait for my girlfriend to bring me a fresh coffee :)
Your favorite moment of the week at work?
Monday morning so I can chat with my colleagues after missing them for the week-end :)
Your hockey team?
Who has had the most influence on you professionally?
I’ve learned from pretty much everyone I’ve worked with through the years.
The best advice we gave you?
Sh.. up Fred :)