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How to Break Into the Video Game Industry with Ubisoft Toronto NEXT

March 3, 2022
3 minutes read
Woman working in front of computer at desk at Ubisoft Toronto studio

Portfolios are paramount to a budding game development student. Want to land that dream role? It’s essential to show off your skill and talents.

But a portfolio can be a steep ask of emerging developers. That’s why the team at Ubisoft Toronto created the NEXT initiative: an exclusive opportunity — one that our senior level talents would have loved to have at the outset of their careers — to expose students to production pipelines, constraints, and relevant challenges, while also giving them something to showcase to employers.

The Ubisoft Toronto NEXT challenge is created collaboratively by our studio experts, highlighting six different disciplines. There are six apprenticeship slots for students and recent graduates at our studio, where the winners receive valuable hands-on industry experience – in fact, since launching this initiative nine years ago, 70% of past winners hired through NEXT are still employees at Ubisoft Toronto.

The Six Disciplines

1. 3D Art

In this challenge, you will create a 3D video game environment of a scene from an outlined story. Pay attention to the details in the provided brief, and strive to incorporate them into your interpretation. The complexity and detail in your diorama is more important than size! Show us your thought process by visually documenting your choices through a mood or vision board. References can include, but are not limited to, key location, props, surface and lighting ingredient. Whatever your process, the ultimate goal is to bring the scene to life! 


2. Animation

In this challenge, attention to detail, use of believable body mechanics, and creativity are key. Create a captivating 3D CG animation inspired by an exciting gameplay scenario, paying careful attention to the provided brief. Be realistic about the time you have! We recommend that you use the majority of your time polishing the animation rather than modeling, rigging, texturizing, or lighting your scene. Remember to focus on what’s important: your animation! 


3. Concept Art

Bring a story to life! In this challenge you will create an original piece of concept art inspired by a captivating scene. Pay close attention to the broad descriptions in the story and incorporate your interpretation into the visuals you create. Your process is important! Show us where you found inspiration by visually documenting key references in a vision document and/or mood board. 


4. Level Design

Apply your design sensibilities across the two-part Level Design challenge that will represent the production journey a mission takes, from its earliest “on paper” pitch to its very first appearance “on screen.” Begin by creating a mission design document that effectively explains your scenario and apply your creativity by expanding upon the provided concept in a compelling way. Up to ten finalists will be chosen to move on to the second phase to create a playable blockmesh of the mission! 


5. Programming

Create a game in a weekend entirely in C++! In this technical gameplay challenge, you will build a game using a provided API that supports simple rendering and I/O, including line drawing, text, sprites, controller and sound support. The goal is to showcase your best technical skills, focusing on game behavior as opposed to looks. The API is available to download one month before the challenge – make sure to get familiar with the framework before your brief drops! 


6. Technical Art

Technical Art is a unique melding of creativity and technical knowledge. In this challenge you will construct a technical interpretation of 3D Art. Choose techniques to bring your vision to life; Post FX, Visual Effects, Shaders, and Content Creation Automation – it’s up to you! Remember, the task is not just to create a scene, but to ensure that large scale production of the game is achievable. 

Are you NEXT? Find the full challenge briefs and deadlines right here!

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