Student Interviews: Reflecting on Jason Della Rocca’s Talk About Working in the Games Industry

Being one of Canada’s largest cities for game development, Montreal is home to many game studios, including Ubisoft, Behaviour Interactive, and Bethesda for example. This also means that there are a lot of amazing people who work in the industry coming to Champlain’s Montreal Campus to teach or give inspirational talks to students. Back in September, that is exactly what Jason Della Rocca did for our current Montreal students! Jason has been involved as consultant, business founder and advisor in the game industry for the past 23 years, locally and globally as well! The talk consisted of Jason’s thoughts about working in an Indie Game Studio as well as some advice for starting up your own indie studio. It got students really thinking about the idea and the talk ultimately gave them a new insight on where they want to take their careers.

Let’s hear what some of them had to say!

What did you think about the talk itself?

Andrew: I thought it was very insightful regarding the business aspect of the game industry. His knowledge on game business and how to make yourself marketable as a developer goes a long way.

Carson: Impactful. He went in depth about how certain games can be successful based on the groups developing them.

Was there anything in Jason’s talk that stood out to you?

Angus: His comments on Indie vs AAA work stood out to me for sure. I would like to do indie as soon as I can, so his thoughts on the skills you pick up in each line of work were particularly useful.

Jeremiah: He talked most specifically about the troubles of going Indie without preparations, and I think that was very important to consider. I personally don’t wish to deal with financial aspects of a production, so It caused me to think deeply about how I want to start out my career.

Andrew: His opinion towards working Indie/AAA really made me think about my goals for this degree and about my future. There’s a lot at stake with either option, but what he told us makes sense on all fronts.

Carson: Just a personal thing but it was how chill he was about everything. I thought of the gaming industry as a bit scary and moving but with how he described it, it sounds more exciting than scary now.

Jason Talking at GDC

After hearing this talk, would you rather start off working in a AAA studio or in an indie studio after graduation?

Angus: Indie if I can but I would have no issues doing triple A.

Jeremiah: I would probably rather start out in AAA, mainly to gain valuable experience and thoroughly understand that environment. Also I would do so to build up savings.

Tu: The distinction between going indie or AAA does not cross each other.

Eric: Probably AAA

Andrew: The dream was Ubisoft, but after hearing him talk it does make more sense to build a game on my own that is of portfolio quality to demonstrate my talents as a designer beforehand. Also, I’d have more experience going into a AAA position should I choose to work indie at first.

Carson: Personally I would feel more comfortable with a AAA because I would be guaranteed a stable income for my beginning years when I’m still trying to figure out where I want to be.

After hearing this talk, does starting your own indie game studio sound like something you’d like to do? Why or why not?

Angus: For sure. I do all the pieces of game development and at the moment my skill set is definitely geared more towards indie than triple A (not that I wouldn’t love to do that too!)

Jeremiah: I don’t believe so, unless I had someone else along who wished to handle financial operations. I see a lot of uncertainty in my living situation if I immediately try to start out making a studio.

Tu: After hearing the talk, I started thinking about starting my studio. However, funding will be crucial when opening a new business, so until I figure it out, I plan to apply for a company.

Eric: Maybe, if I had the money and time.

Andrew: Yes, as mentioned above it would give me more experience and a better understanding of my own talents, likes and dislikes when building a game from the ground up. Also, having complete creative control over the content I produce sounds like a really fun experience I don’t want to miss out on.

Carson: I don’t know if I would see myself starting an indie studio. There’s a lot of risk involved and I don’t know if I would be able to keep up.

Is there anything else you would like to say about this event?

Angus: It was well done and informational.

Jeremiah: It was great to talk one-on-one with Jason after the talk over pizza!

Tu: It was a productive event, and it helped me understand more about the game industry and how the industry is being operated.

Eric: I want to see more stuff like this.

Andrew: I just wish he had a bit more time for questions after he spoke. I didn’t really get a chance to talk to him one on one, but I still enjoyed the wisdom he shared with us.

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