Here's What It's Like To Work For A Montreal Game Design Studio With Jaw-Dropping Perks
- We got a behind-the-scenes look at Gameloft's Montreal game design studio.
- From the work that goes into games to an impressive set of perks, here's what it's like to work for Gameloft.
Montreal is quickly becoming the North American gaming hub with Ubisoft, Warner Bro Games, and Eidos along with newcomers 2K Games and Google's Stadia adding to the already huge amount of gaming companies setting up shop in our city. This is great news for anyone looking to work in the gaming industry. But under the radar is also one of the largest mobile gaming companies in Quebec, Gameloft, and it's currently looking to expand on its already 450 employees.
With over 19 development studios worldwide, Gameloft is the creator of apps spanning the gamut of car racing games like the popular Asphalt series, and strategy game March of Empires, to children-focused building games like Disney's Magic Kingdom and Dragon Mania Legends.
If you've ever downloaded a game app, chances are you've played one of Gameloft's games.
After two decades in the business, Gameloft is still growing. In 2019 the studio hired over 150 new employees in Montreal alone and is still looking for new hires (check out some of the positions available below). Currently, 22% of the Gameloft staff is female which exceeds the 18% industry average.
Alright, but what is it really like to work in this industry? Is it just hours of staring at a computer screen? Is it all fun and games and air hockey and Friday beers? Well, the answer to both is...kind of.
I was lucky enough to take a tour of the company and get a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to develop a game from A to Z, and more importantly what it's actually like to work at these type of offices.
Turns out, it looks pretty damn amazing.
First up, attention to all the audiophiles and sound engineers out there: this may be the most interesting part of game creation. Unlike a lot of studios, Gameloft creates every aspect of game sound from the musical score to individual sound effects.
I had a chance to check out one of the main audio rooms with Sebastien Menard, World Audio Manager, where they record everything from the swish of a bamboo stick (for the sound of a punch) to the drop of a metal sword.
Boxes of different materials are kept to the side of the room where sound technicians can record the sound of footsteps. Crumpled up VHS tape? That's the sound of walking on leaves.
According to Menard, "with gaming, there are so many audio components. And we have to get creative because it's not like in a movie where all the action happens and you hear what you see."
"In video games, you have to think about all the possibilities, like if a player jumps but what if multiple players jump at the same time? Then X amount of sounds need to be layered together."
While Gameloft has been on the cutting edge of technology for the last 20 years, some of it feels like old-school Hollywood.
It's a dynamic and creative process of testing not only the sounds you know but also sounds that aren't necessarily heard in real life. Think of a fighting game, what is the sound of a punch or blood or even bones cracking (that latter is achieved by breaking frozen celery sticks)?
Interested? Check out some of the audio positions available:
Sound Designer: responsible for creating the entire sound aspect of games under the supervision of the Audio Director (excluding music).
Sound Mixer: responsible for the audio post-production trailer that is intended for marketing and promotional purposes.
Next up was the localization department (translation and adaptation). Are you good with languages? Gameloft translates its games in up to 19 different languages depending on the release.
The staff of 40 in Montreal supports 15 of those languages and in 2019 alone translated over 16.5 million words. It's a big diverse group, that works on everything from translating press releases to reworking game stories for language and specific culture.
As you can imagine the IT section is massive, containing every aspect of game support, risk analysis, programming, infrastructure, and security that is involved in the support of games of this magnitude. Gameloft is currently looking to hire for both junior and senior positions.
Database Administrator: Core activities will involve working with MySQL on Linux distributions.
Junior IT Technician: Offer internal IT support to a varied clientele (artists, designers, programmers, administrative staff, etc).
Senior Infrastructure Developer: Code infrastructure so it runs smoothly at scale for upcoming real-time games
Perks, Perks, and More Perks
This is a company that understands the value of an employee. To say there are too many employment perks to list may be an understatement. It's no wonder the turnover rate is exceptionally low and the rehire rate exceptionally high. To name a few:
Game room with foosball and pool table
Zen room where you can relax or take a quick nap
Three weeks vacation per year to start
Beer Friday (yes, it's a thing)
Stock-ownership plan with guaranteed yearly gains
50% RRSP match
60% monthly refund on public transportation
Full refund on select French classes
Of course, no company is without its flaws, but Gameloft seems to hide what may be theirs under a passion for the work and the employees.
If you're currently in school, Gameloft also sends its veterans (10 years +) out to universities to talk about their experience and what type of skills you should focus on to succeed in the gaming industry. You can speak to your professors to schedule an appointment.
If you already have a bit more career experience, some of the interesting positions Gameloft is also looking to fill are:
Creative Director: An experienced creative director to forge a vision for a project, clearly communicate that vision to all contributors, direct the project's Game Design team, and work together with the producer to lead the production team.
Project Manager: Responsible for outlining the monetization strategy of the games they are assigned to in order to maximize revenues through all distribution channels at a worldwide level.
If none of these positions interest you but you love playing video games, you can register to be a game tester which pays about $50 in gift cards per hour.
Even if you don't see a position that fits your profile, you can still send in your CV to Spontaneous Application.
For a full list of jobs that Gameloft is currently looking to fill in the Montreal office, visit the site here.