I started playing video games before I really knew how to read. In fact I forced myself to become better at reading because I really wanted to understand what characters were saying in dialogue boxes. For a long time gaming was a common pastime for me, but I could take it or leave it. At least, that was until my older brother gifted me a copy of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. I became obsessed with it, from the gorgeous graphics to the compelling storyline. I immediately looked to the next games in the franchise. When that ended, I learned as much as I could about the publisher and played other series they created such as Assassins Creed or Splinter Cell. My affinity for Ubisoft has never ceased.
Imagine my excitement when Champlain Montreal announced that fifteen students would have the opportunity to tour Ubisoft Montreal’s offices. The morning the signup sheet was posted, I woke up early and was waiting outside the door for the list to be posted. There was no way that anybody was going to take my spot.
My name was the first one on the list and a few days later, I was the first one waiting downstairs for the tour. I may have seemed calm on the outside, but on the inside I was bouncing with excitement.
My first impressions walking into the offices was how cool the building seemed. Previously it had been a factory, renovated for the purpose of housing at least a couple hundred employees. During the tour, our guide revealed that further renovations were being done to update the building, making it a more purposeful and inviting space for employees.
One of our first stops was the Far Cry floor. At Ubisoft Montreal, games are separated by floors so that the team is all in one area. The floors are open concept, with almost no separate offices and a few meeting rooms. This way the team can work together in harmony and just ask a question to a supervisor or coworker without having to go search too far. There are clusters throughout the floor, probably by department. I didn’t ask (and I wish I had), but I am assuming that there is an Assassins Creed floor, a Splinter Cell Floor, and a Just Dance floor.
Other areas that we got to see was the sound studio, where they record voices and effects for the game. They have different props in there, from dozens of swords to wood and stone floors, and various other things. The only thing that isn’t recorded in there is music, which is generally recorded separately in a music studio with an orchestra or other professionals.
We got to see more of the studio than most people get to see. With Ubisoft producing and releasing such high profile games, most of the building is off limits unless you work there. This didn’t faze me much, as it was the same way where I worked over the summer. I am incredibly grateful for what I get to see, and I hope it isn’t the last time I get to walk into Ubisoft.