Strengthening Ties Between Game Development and Academia at Faculty Night 2022

Game development, research, and academia share close ties, and together, help propel the video game industry forward.  

As part of our commitment towards  bridging the gap between these three branches, we hosted Faculty Night — an evening of presentations and networking between our academic, research and industry partners, as well as some of our most passionate and talented experts in game production roles. 

The event was the first in-person gathering at our studio since the start of the pandemic, and was attended by 35 faculty members from 15 different institutions.  Here are some highlights from the event: 

An industry with people at its center

People standing in front of 'Faculty Night' slideTo kick off Faculty Night, Communications Director Justin Del Giudice brought forward a shared goal to build a brighter future for the video game industry in Ontario. That goal begins with how we grow great talent and create opportunities for them to grow their careers in the province – whether it’s working with one of our amazing indies or joining an increasingly robust roster of AAA studios. 

He also shared that the studio is gearing up to remake Splinter Cell, and is hiring for Ubisoft Massive’s open-world Star Wars project. 

As part of our studio’s People Strategy, Travis McGill, Human Resources Director at Ubisoft Toronto, discussed the new studio experience as well as the official rollout of our hybrid and flexible work policy.  

McGill also gave an overview of the building blocks of this strategy, which focus on cultivating a caring and enriching work experience with a goal for Ubisoft Toronto to become the place to work for diverse talents looking to make a difference in tech and entertainment.  

 

A growing industry 

As we develop as a studio, it is imperative to understand how the Ontario video game industry is changing through a national and global lens. 

Lucie Lalumière, president and CEO at Interactive Ontario (IO), emphasized that the global video game market continues to grow at rapid pace with a total projection of $196.8 billion in 2022, a 2.1% increase year-over-year.  

In Canada, video games became a social lifeline during the pandemic and remain so, with 61% of all Canadians being gamers. At a provincial level, Ontario has become a hotbed for video game indies in Canada with more than 290 video game companies, more than any other province, and is poised for major growth.  

Lalumière encouraged the need for faculty support and future talent development, through such initiatives as the Black Youth Action Plan Career Fair. 

Research and development 

Yves Jacquier, Executive Director at Ubisoft La Forge, shared the expansion of the initiative in Ontario. Ubisoft La Forge is an open research and development initiative that brings together scientists and Ubisoft experts to bridge the gap between academic research and video game innovations. 

Ubisoft La Forge’s path combines Ubisoft’s focus on product development expertise and the academic world’s focus on theoretical and applied R&D to create technical, innovative prototypes.  

Since 2016, Ubisoft La Forge has hosted more than 100 students in partnership with more than 20 universities worldwide that have published more than 25 academic papers and 80 prototypes – most being used in the creation or operation of Ubisoft games. 

Fostering the next generation in game development 

Our studio’s commitment to empowering Ontario’s  post-secondary students manifests in programs such as Ubisoft Toronto NEXT, Develop at Ubisoft and the Ubisoft Graduate Program, and external partnerships like Youth Fusion, Hack the ROM and the Level Up Showcase. These programs allow students to explore opportunities at the intersection of technology and art, and kickstart their careers in video games. 

In addition, the studio and campus team are extensively involved in activities happening on Ontario campuses including guest lectures, portfolio reviews, hackathons, program advisory committees, R&D and scholarships. 

This past year marked the 9th year of Ubisoft Toronto NEXT. We received 172 submissions from 24 schools in 6 different disciplines. From those submissions, we hired 8 individuals. Our studio also awarded $23,000 in scholarships across 9 students. 

For this year, we are extremely excited to announce the Ubisoft Toronto NEXT competition and the Develop at Ubisoft mentorship program. More details about both programs will be shared in September 2022. 

To learn more about Faculty Night and our campus initiatives, connect with our campus team at ubito-campus@ubisoft.com. 


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