Marc-André Larouche

Interview with a Video Games Teacher

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April 13, 2018

Interview with Marc-André Larouche, teacher in the LaSalle College Computer Science Technology - Video Game program.

Please briefly describe your career in the video game industry.

"I started my career in the industry right out of university. I consider myself lucky to have landed a very sought-after position as game designer for a Ubisoft division in Quebec City.

After a few years, I moved to Montreal. I continued working as a designer, then as head designer for Gameloft. I helped create the Modern Combat franchise and also worked on a game for the Asphalt series.

I’ve been a lecturer at LaSalle College since 2010, teaching students enrolled in the video game development program.

I’ve also published a book on the Unity game engine while also continuing to produce my own independent games."

What do you think about the video game industry situation in Montreal, the so-called “major hub”?

"I think it’s really exciting, because there are lots of talented people here. The fact that a person can find work with different employers makes the situation more secure for someone who wants to find work in the industry and decides to study video games."

What’s it like to have a job in this industry? Is it as intense as we’ve heard?

"It’s true that there are “crunch time” periods where you have to spend more time at work, depending on the employer and the project’s scope.

So, you might spend several weeks, or even a few months, working extra hours. Employers are aware of the reality and the competition, so they often give bonuses at the end of a project to compensate employees.

Overall, you easily get used to it when you love what you’re doing. The impact games have once they’re launched gives you priceless satisfaction."

What are the challenges for a student who wants to get started in this kind of career?

"Know how to stand out. It’s always challenging when there are lots of candidates vying for a particular position. That’s why it’s important to highlight your skills with a portfolio of personal projects.

It’s also a plus to have a good network of contacts, people in the industry. There are lots of positions that are filled by recommendations made by other employees.

LinkedIn is also a good place to get noticed by potential recruiters and explore the list of available positions."

If you could give students one word of advice, what would it be?

"I would say: “be passionate.” If you’re passionate, it will show up in your work and your actions. Passionate people participate in discussion forums and create prototypes, scripts and mods for existing games. This makes you look more credible in the industry’s eyes.

Once hired, it’s the people who are most passionate who will naturally stand out and create their place in the company."

 

Interviewed by Alexandre Dufferne.

Business & Technologies
Instructors
2018