Ubisoft returned to ESGS 2016 to give gamers another epic gaming experience. But they are not here just to showcase their newest games, they also want to talk about their new office in Laguna and their recruitment drive to find the best local talents in the gaming industry.
The RF Team sat down with the Ubisoft PH team and talk about their plans for the Philippine branch, their involvement with De La Salle’s game development curriculum and learning math. Present on the interview were Talent Acquisition Manager of Ubisoft Singapore Alex Lim, Recruiter Suzy Belizario and Lead Artist John Paul Eli Tan.
RF: So what is Ubisoft PH’s main focus right now considering you are currently hiring new talents in game design, development and creative?
Suzy: So Ubisoft PH aim to hire 50 for the first year until the first quarter of next year, and then we aim to grow this number to around 200 in the next few years. And yes, we currently hiring a variety of talents in art, gameplay programmers, game testers, project managers which will be part of the development of our games.
RF: What traits did you find in Filipinos that made you want to pursue to build a branch in the Philippines?
John Paul: First thing is the talent, we had good examples of that with Filipino artists and team members in the Ubisoft Singapore, and that is one of the reasons why we have invested here in the Philippines, and I am one of those examples. We are already starting the training, knowledge sharing and mentoring in order for everyone to be up to speed in the AAA, next gen quality. So really soon we will co-develop with the Singapore studio in order to create AAA games.
RF: Meaning these developers will be focusing more on mobiles games, or even for the console and PC?
JP: For mobile games, we are not pretty sure at the moment, but primarily it is for AAA games (PC and consoles).
RF: Ubisoft Philippines seems to be targeting more in De La Salle University (students), are there any chances that Ubisoft is planning to get interns outside of De La Salle?
Suzy: So currently we are in partnership with De La Salle University Science & Technology Complex which is situated in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. So we are going to take part in Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Major in Game Development.
RF: So does that mean that Ubisoft will be hands on with the course or just with the talents?
Suzy: Yes, we will be involved in the curriculum, so by next year we will be taking part of that course and will also be teaching. Early you mentioned about internships, so definitely we are open to having our internship program here in Ubisoft Philippines. But of course we are not just limited to De La Salle University, but we are also open to other schools.
RF: As you mention that you will be involved with the curriculum, so if ever you will see someone that has a talent taking up the course. Will they have a higher chance of become a part of Ubisoft as an intern or do they need to apply first?
Suzy: So when we have our internship program available, any interested students are very much welcome to be with us, and since we will be teaching, it will be a good benefit for us also to be able to closely recruit these students and be able to identify talents from that.
RF: Since you also mention game testers are needing in Ubisoft Philippines, some gamers think that game testers are just playing games. So what can you recommend to the gamers who want to pursue this field?
Alex: I’d like to emphasis on one point is that QA (game testing) is not just about playing games. They are very important as they have to make a polished game that needs to be shipped for the best gaming experience. As a QA tester, its primary goal is to find bugs, but it is not just that, as there are a lot of work to be interacting with a lot of designers, they will be interacting with programmers. How to improve the bug that they found and how to identify it. They also need to report or follow a process, so they will be using a particular software and they have to know how to submit the bugs to this software and if they have extra effort, to follow up and see (discovered bugs) happened after that.
So these guys are super important to make a polished game.
RF: So in regards to game design and game development, most students right now are thinking that when you develop games, you need to be an expert in math. So what kind of ways can you encourage these aspiring students to continue pursuing game development?
Alex: I think you know, math or no math, mathematics will be more applicable to programmers. We are going to C+ language, we are using program logic etc. But from a designer’s perspective, a designer should know what other constrain, and what kind of creativity they could create from a map or a level. So that is where math become very important.
I think from young and aspiring game designers who actually want to go to the game industry or develop a game itself, it is very important to actually know what you want to create. And you should have no restrictions in terms of creativity and it all starts from their first project back from their schools. So that is my recommendation; don’t restrict yourselves.
RF: So in this new age in gaming, esports is becoming more popular than in game development. So more people are focusing on playing game in becoming the best player or team. So do you think these students should be open-minded in both game designing and competitive gaming?
Alex: I think the option is to keep it open, I think Ubisoft today has evolve into an entertainment company and as a service. And we will not be a differentiation to say like you should try in game operation or you should move into the game design.
But Ubisoft is actually moving into a game as a service that will actually enhance a player’s experience, and that is where I actually help a lot of inspiring young talents who wants to go in the industry, but don’t know which one to choose from. And we are now here in the Philippines to give them an option.
RF: Now going back to your Ubisoft PH HQ, what made you decided to pick Sta. Rosa Laguna as your base of operations?
Suzy: So Sta. Rosa is actually a green, lush and non-polluted environment, it is perfect for families who would want to relocate. It is also perfect for talents and at the same time, there are a lot of parks in the area. You can do bird watching, to the amusement parks and it is even 30 minutes away from Tagaytay, and avoid the traffic. And it is also a very conducive area also for us to be inspired. We also have a partnership with De La Salle University for their facilities as Sta. Rosa will become the next tech hub, as they say it is the Makati of the south.
RF: So as a closing, what kind of advice would you give to aspiring applicants who want to pursue a career at Ubisoft?
JP: I’d say for artists, work on the fundamentals, and never mistake talent for hard work. Because there are a lot of artists who have put in the time and the effort to their practice in order to get better, and a lot of people actually have mistaken that for natural talent when in fact it is not. A lot of hard work goes into that, a lot of countless nights of practice in sketching and 3D modeling. So definitely just keep on working hard to be able to achieve your dreams.
Suzy: Besides art, even for programmers or game testers, just continue improving on your skills. Because every day is a learning experience for you, make use of that experience to really enhance your skills. And follow your passion and be determined, be eager.
Alex: This is going to be very interesting for me, I think the fundamental of whichever job you actually like or developed into a career is very important. Because that is going to take you a long, long way.
Learning is definitely the next step and subsequently, sharing. And that is why JP is back here in the Philippines to share his talent.
Interview by Jillian Imbat. You can catch her and some of her cosplay coverage at arkadymac.com