If you missed it, we officially kicked off the Ubisoft Indie Series earlier this month, opening submissions for the annual competition to Ontario-based independent studios. Now in its sixth year, the Indie Series offers $75,000 in cash prizes and mentorship, which includes creative, game production and marketing advice to financial tools from National Bank.
But who will be evaluating this year’s submissions? Well, Indies – it’s time to meet this year’s panel of esteemed judges, each with their own unique perspective and experiences in game development, but all with the same passion for creative ideas, compelling storytelling and a drive to making video games a more inclusive industry.
So, let’s get into it!
ANDY SCHMOLL (She/They) – Senior Game Designer, Ubisoft Toronto
Andy Schmoll brings more than 15 years of experience in the video game industry to her role as a senior game designer at Ubisoft Toronto. They have worked with global award-winning teams in AAA and indie studios, including Rockstar, Broken Rules, Arkane, and Archiact. Andy is passionate about building inclusive teams and supporting diverse creators in the industry. She holds a master’s degree in film media and theatre from the University of Vienna.
What they’re looking for: All the aspects of a game coming together to create a cohesive experience, resulting in deliberate and meaningful actions and choices for the player.
BILLY GREGORY (He/Him) – Accessibility Project Manager, Ubisoft
Billy began his career as a front-end developer and soon discovered that when user experience (UX) doesn’t include all users, it’s only some user experience… or #SUX. Billy carried this belief into his role as director of training at TPGi, where he trained thousands of designers, developers, testers and other stakeholders across various industries on how to create accessible online experiences.
In his spare time, Billy is active in the accessibility community as co-organizer of #a11yTO, which organizes Accessibility Camp Toronto, a monthly meet-up group, and #a11yWeekTO – a full week of accessibility events anchored around conferences for web, built environment, and gaming accessibility.
What they’re looking for: Games that demonstrate a clear understanding of the barriers faced by some gamers and have accessibility baked into their core design.
NAVID KHAVARI (He/Him) – Narrative Director, Ubisoft Toronto
Navid Khavari is a narrative director at Ubisoft Toronto, his most recent project being Far Cry 6 and it’s subsequent DLC. With a long history on the Far Cry franchise, Navid has worked as an associate narrative director, narrative designer and writer on Far Cry 4, Far Cry 5, and Far Cry Primal, in addition to numerous other Ubisoft projects such as The Division and Splinter Cell. With a passion for diverse perspectives in storytelling, Navid is pushing for further inclusivity in game narrative. Along with his work in video games, Navid brought his excitement for strong and meaningful narratives to projects in both motion comics and radio.
What they’re looking for: Compelling, meaningful narratives that showcase a diversity of voices and experiences to push gaming in exciting new directions.
FOTIS PRASINIS (He/Him) – Director of Product Marketing, Ubisoft Toronto
Fotis Prasinis brings more than 15 years of brand management and marketing experience to his role as product director at Ubisoft Toronto. Currently working on Splinter Cell, Fotis was previously the brand manager on Watch Dogs: Legion and Watch Dogs: Legion – Bloodline. He’s also worked on other AAA video games including The Secret World and Age of Conan at Funcom, as well as several mobile titles.
Fotis strongly believes in making and marketing games that embrace their core identity, while celebrating the unique backgrounds and experiences of their creators. He holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto and a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the Technological Educational Institute of Athens.
What he’s looking for: Games with creative vision and great potential for success. A sound and viable financial and marketing plan.
MATT WOELK (He/Him) – Team Lead Programmer, Ubisoft Winnipeg
Matthew Woelk has been at Ubisoft Winnipeg since 2018, building cooperative teams to tackle tough technical problems. He is currently a team lead programmer focusing on procedural systems and simulations. Matt’s background in engineering, physics and math led him to the world of indie and VR games before joining Ubisoft. He has participated in over 25 game jams and shipped the indie title Propaganda Llama. In his spare time, you are still likely to find him making a billion tiny games for fun and encouraging everyone to do the same. Matt recommends you use vectors instead of trigonometry, and ride an electric unicycle like him if at all possible
What they’re looking for: The technical problems involved in their games, and the potential solutions they can propose for them.
PATRICK DOYLE (He/Him) – Senior Account Manager, National Bank
Patrick Doyle is a senior account manager at National Bank’s Vancouver office. Prior to joining National Bank, he founded a strategic advisory company providing services to companies at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology. He brings a wide range of knowledge with over a decade of experience in the capital markets. Patrick has a BA in Political Science from Western University and has completed numerous financial industry courses.
What they’re looking for: I am excited to work with entrepreneurs across the creative economy, at every stage of their business.
JASON MELOCHE (He/Him) – Account Manager, National Bank
Jason Meloche was a professional entertainer, having performed all over the world before deciding to become an entertainment lawyer. Starting in 2012, Jason has worked as legal counsel for several production companies, including many years at White Pine Pictures. In December 2018, Jason Meloche joined the Creative Industries Group at National Bank to help clients obtain the financing they require to bring their creative projects to life.
At National Bank, Jason has extensive experience providing various financings components to companies in the creative sector, and is always looking to work with both experienced and novice creative people to help them with their banking and financing needs.
What they’re looking for: Projects that have a unique and diverse storyline, that also have a sense of levity too!
Haven’t had the time to submit yet? You can register for this year’s Indie Series here. Don’t forget, the deadline is Sunday, February 20 at 11:59 PM ET.