On The Road to a Job in the Video Game Industry

It’s no secret what career I’m aiming for, however, it’s time I start going public with my search.

The reason I started this blog over two years ago is to show a video game company that I enjoy building and interacting with a community. The sense of people coming together to discus a common theme; to help improve a product and create a whole new world around it is thrilling. My goal to help build a community around a developer, and create a loyal fan base has never ceased, but getting started in this industry is discouraging.

Starting requires an internship

The closest I’ve ever got to a “job” in the video game industry is an internship with Ubisoft Toronto in the Communications Department. The Toronto studio for the French-native developer is responsible for Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which is planned for release in Spring 2013.

At the time I was already doing an internship with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and my co-workers really encouraged me to go for another internship. I assume they could sense my enthusiasm and excitement for this awesome opportunity. Even though money is tight with only a part-time job to pay rent and bills, I went for it.

After some emails and phone calls back and forth between Heather Steele, the Communications Director at Ubisoft Toronto, I received an interview over the phone by someone in the HR department.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the internship. I guess the person on phone didn’t get the same vibes as my co-workers at MLSE. I sent off an email asking for an explanation, but it went unanswered.

Okay, now it’s up to me

Afterwards I thought if I build up a community around, well, me as a blogger or maybe even a writer of some sorts; it would make me more attractive to a potential employer. I redesigned ThatShortGuy.com and started blogging a lot more shortly after my internship with MLSE. It helped traffic, but no job offers. So I started looking around the internet to see what video game developers are in Toronto.

I found two different lists of video game companies in the Greater Toronto Area; the GameJobHunter list and CanDevs.ca list. My thought was to find a small developer; they would more likely be hiring and, at least in my opinion, be more open to hiring someone new to the industry (as long as they can prove they can do the job).

I found Bedlam Games. They where small and hiring! Jackpot!

However their last post is from June 2011, and they are the creators behind the poorly rated RPG, Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale. That probably should have set off some alarms, but I kept positive.

No worries, I thought, after some research I found Bedlam Games has some top-tier talent from developers such as Rockstar, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. And maybe they are two busy creating the next AAA game to keep their website up-to-date. All they really need is some constructive criticism from gamers that played the RPG and some PR work; something that I’m more than happy to do for them.

Before I sent off a résumé, I decided to ask the Toronto Video Game Community group on Facebook. The people in that group are highly knowledgeable of the video game scene in Toronto. I thought I could get the Communications Manager’s name (or the equivalent for a small company) and some more background information on the developer.

I got a quick response from Samantha Fraser. You may have seen her on Electric Playground, InnerSPACE and other media outlets.

It turns out Bedlam Games is, unfortunately, no longer with us.

So the search continues, but what does Toronto offer a recent graduate in the video game industry?

The big developers in Toronto like Ubisoft and Rockstar would probably want me to do an internship. That is, work for free first with no guarantee of a job afterwards. If I was still living with my parents, I’d jump at the chance to do an internship with either of those developers, but I’m not. Bills are piling up as it is.

Smaller developers in Toronto, on the other hand, are creating games for mobile, which is awesome, but I’m stuck with a Blackberry until my contract is up. Not to mention mobile games don’t interest me as much as console or PC games, but that could be due to not being able to play them.

So I’m stuck, but I’m not giving up! I know what I want to do with my life, I just need a chance.

So, dear gamers, what do you think I should do? Should I send a résumé to the big developers anyway? Should I try mobile game developers even though I probably haven’t play their game? And, on another topic, what do you think makes a good Community Manager?

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  1. evan says

    i think a deep saturation in 4chan and reddit culture is a necessity for any human being looking to be taken seriously in their professional life, so it sure does look like you’re off to a great start here.

  2. says

    Great post Jeff. I would love to have the answers myself. Anyway, I think you are doing something good: Sending stuff and knoking doors. It may be the best way to test the waters and get known somehow. Anyway, I think passion (this case, videogame’s passion) is a plus for a great community mannager. Good luck in your quest, dude.

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