Around this time every year, Develop Magazine publish their “30 under 30” list. This highlights the 30 young people (well, young to me) who’ve made an impact in game development over the past year. People considered to be making the industry a better place. Finding yourself on this list is kind-of-a-big-deal, as Develop is the premier European game development magazine – reaching 300,000 readers within the industry.
We’re proud to announce that seven out of the thirty on this year’s list currently work at Ubisoft – a real testament to the skill, passion and diversity found within our studios.
To celebrate, let’s take an imaginary trip around the Ubi-world to “meet” our Seven under Thirty.
We’ll start by signing all the appropriate insurance waivers and tearing up the M1 / A1 to Newcastle in an economy hire-car. First stop, Reflections, A Ubisoft Studio – where we meet Producer Sally and Artist Laura.
Sally Blake (26)
Associate Producer – Reflections, A Ubisoft Studio
Blake started her gaming career as a play-tester at Team17 in 2010. Since moving to Reflections five years ago, her hard work has seen her move from testing roles to Associate Producer, where she’s responsible for engine, online, compliance and many other teams. Blake has also been a judge for the TIGA Awards, and has worked with the Reflections Über Gaming School at the Baltic in Newcastle to promote gaming careers. She also runs a diversity course within the studio.
Laura Millar (Hutton) (27)
Artist – Reflections, A Ubisoft Studio
Millar’s gaming career started with Ubisoft Pune in India, before returning to the UK and Reflections where she’s worked as a 3D Artist for the past five years. She’s worked in a variety of capacities across many of the studio’s biggest projects including The Crew and The Division. She also helps out in local education and organises internal game jams at Reflections. “Imbued with a keen passion,” according to colleagues, she played a key role in the development of last year’s Grow Up.
The following staff at the studio also received honourable mentions: Liam Charlton, Amelia Wood, Liam Mcglone, James Walton, Josh Heyde, and Bryn Felton-Pitt.
A quick Uber to Newcastle International Airport and straight onto a brisk fourteen hour flight crossing Europe and the Middle East. Touching down at Changi airport on the island city-state of Singapore, we meet Technical Director Callum and Programmer Adrian.
Callum MacArthur (29)
Assistant Technical Director – Ubisoft Singapore
After a stint working on Driver Parallel Lines at Reflections, MacArthur decided to branch out on his own, creating popular Skyrim mods under the name ThirteenOranges. He later worked at Lionhead Studios as the technical designer for Fable’s heroes and creatures – proving his skills with design, Unreal Engine and community. After Fable was cancelled and Lionhead closed, MacArthur headed to Ubisoft Singapore where he now works as Assistant Technical Director.
Adrian Lim (28)
Gameplay Programmer – Ubisoft Singapore
Lim has spent the last four of his ten years in gaming as a Programmer at Ubisoft Singapore. His previous experiences at EA, Gambit MIT, and in indie game development (twice the finalist of the Independent Game Festival, Penny Arcade Top 10 and winner of DreamBuildPlay) allow him to bring invaluable experience to the team. He’s currently leading a secret AAA project, and regularly gives talks in conferences and at schools, encouraging students to pursue their interests in gaming. Lim also continually works to improve himself, and is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree.
The following staff at the studio also received honourable mentions: Gabriel Tay, Rika Lim, Brandon Chua, Carlos Verlee Vazquez, Jie Hui Ho, Adrian Quek, John Rickne, Quinn Choo, Heidi Kwang, Justin Chow, Fang Liang Lee, and Boon Keng Goh.
Brian Cox (28)
UI Programmer – Ubisoft Shanghai
Not that Brian Cox. This one worked at some of the UK’s top development studios including Rare (on Kinect Sports Rivals, Rare Replay and Sea of Thieves) and Creative Assembly (on Halo Wars 2) He recently took the leap to Ubisoft Shanghai where he now works as a UI Programmer. He likes to experiment with new technologies during his spare time – including brain-controlled games (!) and enabling people with disabilities to play. While at Rare, he created a game called JetPac Reborn for gaming charity SpecialEffect, which could be played with only your eyes.
Next, we’re folded into an airline-approved pet crate and loaded onto a cargo flight at Pudong International Ariport. After a 21 hour flight across India, the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic, we touch down at Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and say hello to Graphic Designer Gavin.
Gavin Bird (28)
Graphic Designer – Ubisoft Montreal
Bird has worked on a huge number of projects during his time at Crytek, Sony, and Cloud Imperium Games (where he created much of the in-game UI for Star Citizen). He joined Ubisoft Montreal last year, and took on new challenges as part of the For Honor team before moving to an unannounced AAA project. He’s said to have exceeded expectations wherever he’s worked, and is known as a hardworking, talented and friendly individual. So that’s nice.
From Montreal Central Station we take a picturesque three hour train journey through the Quebec countryside like a regular video gaming Michael Portillo. Our final stop is the Gare du Palais in Quebec City, where we meet Narrative Director Melissa.
Melissa MacCoubrey (24)
Narrative Director, Ubisoft Quebec
At just 24, MacCoubrey already has work on Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s Last Maharajah DLC under her belt. She’s been twice nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award, and now leads a team of narrative designers for a new AAA project. Her colleagues say her skills are “paired with a talent for inspiring others and a hunger for more diverse representation in games.”
So there you have it. Seven amazing people, and some very talented honourable mentions. If they ever decided to do a “40 slightly over 40” for blog contributors, I might be in with a chance.
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