marie-christine bourdua

marie-christine bourdua

Okay, so, my name is Marie-Christine Bourdua. I'm 29 years old. I'm in Toronto, Canada, but I'm from Montreal.

I started to work in videogames, I guess, about three years ago. But my input with videogames starts, maybe, six years ago. So, basically, I met Renaud Bédard, obviously, which is my husband-to-be, and he's the programmer on Fez.

And he kind of introduced me to this whole crowd that is the videogame -- the indie-game community, if I can say. And, obviously, I kind of fell in love. And I was already, like, kind of a gamer myself, so, it was natural to me to be able to get on with all these guys. So, I kind of -- I'm a real organizer, so I like organizing and being involved in things. So, I kind of did some stuff with the Montreal Games Society. I did some translation for them because everything needed to be both in French and in English, and everybody that organized was Anglo, so I did the translation stuff for them. And I was obviously there everytime, and I tried to be in the community because I really loved it and I wanted to be part of the industry as well, but it wasn't quite the time for me.

So, I was just continuing my little way into my professional life. So, I ended up being a web producer for a while at the creative agency called Sid Lee. So, I pretty much learned everything that I know about project management and I discovered that I was a producer there.

In 2012, in April, Fez was launched on Xbox 360. So, the work for Renaud was pretty much not done, but he had to find a bunch for new work. So, Capy[bara, a game studio] came out -- which is in Toronto, and that time we were in Montreal. And Capy, our friends, and a very good studio, and it seemed like an awesome opportunity. And at that time, my English wasn't as good as it is now, so, I saw that as an opportunity, as well, to be bi-lingual. And then, also, because I really hated marketing work -- I was doing production, and it was also marketing and I suck at marketing. [Laughs.] I really don't care about your product. [Laughs.]

[Laughs.]

So, basically, I wanted to do something else, and I saw that as a kick in my ass to do it, basically.

Yeah.

So, we decided to move into Toronto, which we did, and at first I didn't have any work. So, I was just hanging out and basically all of our friends here also just videogames people. So, just hanging out with my friends and learning a little bit more about the industry and coming to here. So, I did some work for TOJam, and eventually Gamercamp, but before that, just in the first few months that we moved here, basically, Polytron was talking about doing the Fez port for PC. And I was looking at Renaud having to do that by himself while working full-time at Capy. I very fast saw that they needed somebody to help that. Like, a producer, basically.

So, I wrote an email Phil Fish saying, "Hey, so, I'm a producer who would love to help you." And he said, "Okay." So, that's how I got the job. [Laughs.] And basically, it was a real mess. Phil is an awesome creator and really great mind, but he's not very good at organizing stuff, let's face it. [Laughs.] It was a great mess. And we also had some legal problems at that time, so they really needed someone to kind of be the mama in there, so I really took that role. And it was great because I learned a ton and I think I kinda helped out a lot at Polytron. It's now very healthy, so that's good.

So, I helped out for two years and while I was doing that I also got a job here in Toronto -- I work at home, but it's still a Toronto studio. It's Cellar Door games, that worked on Rogue Legacy. So, I did the ports for that, too. So, basically, I did six ports for Fez, four for Rogue Legacy, and also helped for the PR campaign for Starwhal, which is Breakfall's game.

And yeah, so, I did a bunch of games and while doing that I helped as an organizer for TOJam in 2013 and 2014, which is a huge game jam in Toronto. I also did Gamercamp, which is a great big festival in Toronto as well that ended last year. And yeah, so, I did that.

And then I got pregnant, so I kind of have slowed down a little bit now. [Laughs.] Because, obviously, I have a little boy to take care of. But, yeah, I did all these things.

[Laughs.] I was going to say, it sounds like you've been doing a lot of stuff.

[Laughs.] Yeah, I guess. Like I said by email, I'm very community-oriented, so -- oh, also, I forgot! I forgot I also founded Torontaru, which is a game social that we will probably talk a little bit more about later. But, it's a game social that happens every month in Toronto. It's basically just a bunch of people that are enthusiasts for the game industry in general. It's not just for game devs, but it's a lot of that. And, yeah, we're just getting in a bar and get trashed a little bit once a month. [Laughs.] Not just get trashed, but being together and talk, and it's great because it really helps you know a bit more community and sometimes it does bring opportunity. For example, my opportunity for other games kind of started in Torontaru, where Nathan [Vella] from Capybara was like, "Hey, what are you doing these days? There's these guys that are looking for a producer and I think you could be a good match.”

And then, also, one time I heard someone was looking for work and I knew -- like, you know. That kind of stuff. It just happened that we were in Torontaru. So, that's a great opportunity sometimes to just, like, make contact and it's also just cool to make friends that are in your industry.

So, what was that transition like, going from your job in another industry to working in games? Were you hesitant at all about making that switch?

No. I really wanted to do that switch for a very long time, but, now that everything is in the past and I can kind of look at it, I understand that I needed to -- it's been a long time that I wanted to do this switch, but I think I needed to go through all of these experiences before being what I am now because, basically, I don't think -- I think an indie producer working at home is basically the perfect match for me because I don't think I will be ready for working back in a huge studio again. [Laughs.] Like, or maybe if it's a studio, it must be an indie studio. The pressure is too hard and I don't cope that much while in too much pressure because I really want my job to be good and I'm very perfectionist.

When you know that, it's kind of good because you can work around that and then when I realize that I can just be at home and not be in a studio and be efficient and do my own stuff by myself, I felt like I had wings and I can do so much stuff. I felt much more proud about my own work being just at home.

How do games need help being organized? Was Fez the messiest project that you heard about or worked on?

Oh my God, yes.

[Laughs.] What was all the work that you needed to do there?

Fez was different because I had kind of a personal interest in there. So I did stuff that were not necessarily something that I will do in the future. But basically -- okay, I'm going to start with Fez, and then I'm going to talk about what I prefer to do now. So, Fez needed organization for tax matters. We didn't have a contact. We had legal problems. We, like, we didn't have any communication with the main investor, which is kind of not normal, so we needed to build a relationship with the main investor because there were money involved in there. So, I built a relationship with that person. I also got us an accountant. I set up a postal box.

You know, all of these kind of stuff that is super-boring but need to be part of our health of a company. So, I organized that. And also, in a second, which are more, like, my real skill set, because this is more like business and accounting, like, administration management. But this is not really my main skill set. Which, my skill set is more project managing, which is, like, talking to the platform -- for example, Steam or Sony or Microsoft and just talk about, "Okay, we want to be on your platform." With Steam, you have to do lots of stuff on the consoles to set up your game there and set up your store's page front. You need assets. Do some PR, thinking about the PR list, maybe a strategy, and what's your price? Do you have promo when you ship the game? Like, you have to do some Facebook presence and Twitter and talking to tech journalists, and all of this stuff is a huge part of shipping a game and when you only have a programmer and a designer/artist, you need someone that can do something else. Like, "Just do the game and let me worry about the rest, basically."

That's what I like to do, and that's kind of my trend now or the thing that people know that I do. Like, I like to do a lot of different stuff, but it's great because I can do a lot of stuff for a very small team, so they don't have to pay different people. They can only pay me, and I do PR and I can organize your project and your team. That kind of stuff. And manage, sometimes, also, files and, you know, kind of being the mama of the group. I love Excel. And, I don't know. I'm very a nerdy organization person. [Laughs.]

Well, but, so, you do that and then you say you also do PR and community stuff. Are you interacting with fans as well?

Yeah. With Fez, it was kind of hard because I wasn't -- Phil didn't let me have space to do that. Which is totally okay, like, I understand because we had a weird position. Maybe it would have been different if he had let me have the space. [Laughs.]

What would have been different?

[Laughs.] You know a little bit about the story of Fez, right?

I do, but somebody reading this may not.

Yeah, okay. So, basically, we had a lot of bad press because of some stuff that Phil said in the past. Because sometimes he is not necessarily super -- he will not think about what he says and it will kind up blow up. A lot of people on the internet kind of got a joy to ape that person, which sucks, because he's a great artist and basically he didn't have a great reputation for some people. So, yeah, we had some bad press and good press because we have a lot of fans, too. But, yeah, it maybe would have been different because what he said was not necessarily a good thing to do or sometimes just not being there is not a good thing, either. So, basically, bullies and harassment online. There is a difference -- like, when you have a website and you have people that are super-negative and they will do harassment, like bullies.

Like, online harassment, when they are doing that on your website and you have a lot of it in your comments, it can kind of implode by itself. [Laughs.] I think the error we did with Polytron was to not monitor that. Because, if you install a safe space and a space where harassment is not acceptable, you encourage the people that want to tell you that loves you and want to say only positive things. So, these people are all kind of, like, don't feel good to be in that space because it's just negative stuff. So, I think that's what we did on Polytron. We didn't really manage this well. So, that's why I think if I knew that before, or if I had a little bit more space there, I could have tried to help out a bit more in that sense. Do you understand what I mean?

Yeah. And I remember it happening, and you have a different perspective on it because you were much more closer to it. But, why do you think that was actually happening?

I don't like to talk too much about it because it's in the past.

Well, I just mean in general.

Yeah.

Like, why does this come from the audience?

[Sighs.] Oh my God. So, because they were angry about lots of stuff, about the fact that it took so long, and because sometimes Phil said stuff and then it just, like, blew up for some reasons. And I think some are exaggerated. There's a lot of people that talked about conspiracies and it's just ridiculous. And just talking about it, not to talk about Fez, especially, because it's just a learning for me. I learned a lot about that, and in the future if that happens, I will have the tools now to really react properly. So, your question was, "Do you interact with the fans?" I didn't have the opportunity yet, but now I have lots of tools to be able to do that in the future.

I did a little bit with Rogue Legacy because I was an admin on the Facebook page, but the Twitter account was -- Teddy Lee was a designer of the other game. The Twitter account is his personal one at the same time, so he was managing it, obviously. So, I didn't get to be very in touch with everything, too. I did a little bit of Starwhal, too, because when I did Starwhal PS3 and PS4 versions, I did only PR. So, obviously, I was on Facebook and Twitter. But, yeah. I like that. It's fun to answer questions, but the thing is these projects are not a project that I work on since the start. So, I'm kind of looking for, in my new project, where I will start a project from the creation part and then the end, because it will be so nice to have all the answers. Because sometimes, it's like, there are people that are asking questions that I don't really know. Like, it's not because I don't know my project or my game, it's just because it's so much and so big. Like, I didn't play all of Rogue Legacy. I'm just not able to do that. [Laughs.] Because it's such a hard game.

And, obviously, I don't know all the little secrets and everything, so, if someone asked me a very particular question I won't necessarily be able to answer it. But maybe if I was at the beginning of the creation process and everything, I would have been able to answer these questions. So, I think in the next project if I'm there at the start, I'm gonna be much more involved with the fans, obviously, because I want to do that.

What are the types of conversations that you typically have with players?

Like, I remember also having some conversations on Reddit on Fez with the fans, because on the Fez subreddit, they are, like, fanatic. They are so intense. [Laughs.] They know everything. How can I say that? They do tarot readings about everything. I don't know. I had some interactions with them sometime, but it's so -- and sometimes I will say, "Hey, Renaud, check that." And he's like, "Oh my God, they are just being way too much right now. They are crazy."

Because sometimes what they do with our project is they make it their own and they do something else, almost. Because the game talks to them in a way that it didn't talk to us that way. So, it's very interesting because it became something else. It became, like, another kind of product. Do you understand?

Yeah. I mean, it takes on --

Another dimension. So, it was kind of nice. But other questions were basic, like, when it's releasing, or when it's coming out to this platform, or will it be a promo or a discount? Or they will ask factual questions like that. Or sometimes just saying, "Oh my God, I love your game. I played it at PAX and it was great." Or sometimes -- [Laughs.] It'll be something like, "Cellar Door Games, you are just talking about ports, when are you going to do a freakin' new game?”

[Laughs.] And you're like, "In fact, we are working on a new game. Stay tuned." [Laughs.] That kind of stuff.

Do you feel like it's the sort of things people who are fans of movies or music end up asking creators?

I'm sure. Oh, yeah. Definitely. Especially with music, but -- yeah, for sure.

What do you think motivates people to buy one game over another? Why do they make the decisions they do?

Oh my God. It's such -- like, a mix of marketing and, like, if your trailer is appealing, if your game is in the taste of the player, because, like, for example, as a player, I have very specific tastes. I know what I like and I know what I dislike. So, I will not buy a game that I know that I don't like. So, that's pretty much -- I think it's one of the those things where, like, you buy a game it's like, "Do you know that game? Did you heard of it? Is it appealing to you?" And, like, "What is it? Is it a puzzle game?" Stuff like that. "Does it look appealing in the marketing or the trailer? Is it good?" I don't know. That kind of stuff.

Maybe it -- my answer seems kind of simple and obvious, but, yeah, I guess it's that. When I do PR, I'm trying to do, like, kind of basic stuff that are obvious.: doing a great trailer, making sure we are announcing in outlets that very well visited and making sure Twitter and Facebook are covered and that kind of stuff, and sometimes I will post on Instagram as well, with hashtags and stuff like that.

But, at some point, there's so much you can do.

Yeah. I've heard it said when you're in the position that you are, or working on a game, that there's no such thing as over-hyping it. That you can only under-deliver.

Yeah. Yeah.

[Laughs.]

Definitely. But there's also -- it's funny because I don't know if you know, but Renaud, my husband-to-be, is working on Below, which is a game from Capy.

Yes.

I read an article about an interview that Kris [Piotrowski, Capybara’s creative director] made on Kill Screen, like, basically he was saying that they announced the game too early. And I was very surprised about that because I had never heard him saying that, and I never heard Renaud saying that, either, but I guess it's true because it's been a while that the game has been in development. But, it's maybe true for them because they feel the pressure to deliver, but at the same time, I don't know if it's true because it's good that people know that you are working on something. It's good that, like, Below is a word that people know that it exists.

Like, I think it's really debatable. There's a positive and negative thing about announcing something too early and it's the same -- I don't know. It's the same thing for Fez. Phil is always saying that they announced it way too early.I don't know.

Do you ever see things in the media, even all the way back to Polytron, about being things misrepresented or aren't necessarily true presented as fact? Do you do anything when you see people talking or writing articles that you think isn't really the case? Or what are you supposed to do?

I did some corrections on Reddit sometimes. For example, when Fez 2 was canceled, like, Reddit was exploding. And it was like, "Okay, first of all, all of your emails are being read." I had a spreadsheet of how many emails we had and how many hate emails versus love emails we received, and it was pretty intense.

Anyway, so, I tell people all the emails we receive were read and that -- so, like, making sure that people know that we are there and that we care. Because, I was kind of hurt that people think that we just don't care. That's just building like crazy. There's a whole team behind it, and people think that it's not affecting nobody, right? So, that's a thing that I did sometimes. I tried to make sure that people know that there is not just one person behind Fez, right? [Laughs.] It's a whole team.

I think there's a thing about the Internet, and it's not just games, but people seem to have this perception -- like, when I emailed you to ask if you could talk to me, I understand that you probably get other emails and it's not just my email sitting in your inbox.
Sometimes I get the feeling that there are people who feel that when they email you or when they send a tweet at you, that that is the only thing waiting for you to respond to. Do you ever get that feeling from the audience?

Especially with fans and sometimes, also -- [Laughs.] Okay, I hope I won't get tomatoes at me with that.

No, you won't.

But, especially YouTubers. YouTubers think that they deserve everything. [Laughs.] When they ask for, like, a press code [to download a game], they're so, like, full of it.Like, they really think -- like, seriously, you have 200 followers. Why? Why? Giving you a code is basically just giving you a game free. It's like -- what? To be honest, I don't think they realize that sometimes there's a lot of -- I'm sure at some point, there's big websites, like, I don't know which ones, but they bought games and didn't receive them free. I'm sure they bought games to review. So, I think you're full of it you want me to give you everything just because you're a YouTuber.

I know, like, your presence is very important and that you will bring, probably, players to me. It's totally cool. We are exchanging stuff. But don't be full of it. Don't be mean and don't be -- yeah, sometimes, they are, "Oh, you don't want to give me a code?" I'm like, "Nuh uh. I'm sorry. I have to prioritize." And they're super-mean about it, and I don't understand. [Laughs.]

This doesn't surprise me. I've heard about this with YouTube. But how are they mean? What do they do?

Sometimes there are some that are mean and there are others that are understandable and will be like, "Okay, let me know if I can be on your press list for the future. That would be nice." Like, they understand the way to do it. But I think the way that they are mean or the way they are full of it -- the better example is how they present themselves.

So, sometimes, and I'm not joking, and it's not just one person. It's a lot of people. They will only, like, do the email title and say, "Please give me a code." And then say, "I'm a YouTuber. Can I have a code for review?" And they don't do any link, they don't have an official email address, they will tell you the name of their YouTube account, but they won't link it and they don't have a real last name. Like, how do you want me to trust you? You're not doing this professionally. I feel like I'm gonna be giving a code to some 15-year-old in a basement, you know?

Insert

So, this is not how a professional relationship will be. So, sometimes, I'm at this point where I'm so pissed at them that I will say, "To be honest, this is not how a professional relationship should be. You should totally, like, make sure to have a professional email address and make sure you have links because you are asking me to look for your website, which is not something I have time for." I'm trying to tell them how -- because, not even just YouTubers, but every time I have a request from a website, I'm looking at every website to see how many they have. I don't know every website, obviously, so I have to do research. And it's a lot of time! Please be kind to me.

That's something that I hate so much. And they are gamers. They are not just YouTubers or journalists. At first, they were just gamers that had the idea of, "Maybe I can do that for a living or try to do that."

Yeah. No, I was surprised when we emailed last week that you said you wanted to talk the next week. I just assume everyone's inbox is way too full. I'm not sure what yours looks like these days, with the baby, but wasn’t expecting us to be talking already this week.

It's not too bad. Like I said, I kind of said no to a lot of contracts lately, so I'm pretty free. But at the same time, I do have a baby.

Not to get too meta, but as someone who does PR, why decide to do this interview then?

Oh. Because -- I don't know. I don't do a lot of interviews and I saw that as a way to learn in there and I wanted to. When I saw your project a little bit more, I wanted to know a bit more about you, and I saw that opportunity of meeting another people in my industry. And I don't know, it was a bit like this and also -- [Laughs.] I always run it by Renaud and say, "Are you sure he's not a Gamergater or something like that?" [Laughs.] Because I'm super-scared of it. He also thought your project was cool and everything so we're like, "Oh yeah, why not?”

I was kind of curious, "Why me?" That's a little bit why I said yes. That's weird. I'm nobody. [Laughs.]

A lot of people say that. But I think people who say that just aren’t used to being listened to and that’s what I’m specifically looking for.

I'm a very social person and I really like my industry and what I do, and also I'm kind of missing it a little bit right now, to be honest. [Laughs.] I love being at home, obviously, but when I talk about it, I'm like, "Oh, I miss it!" But, it's okay. I always say, like, there will always be projects but my baby will not be a baby for his life.

This is true.

So, that's why I'm kind of taking a break and not worried at all about -- I think I have enough friends and contacts to get started again in, like, maybe a year or two without problems.

Insert

You were talking about YouTubers, and I've heard from developers that they get requests sometimes from people posing as, like, PewDiePie's assistant or people who work for really well-known YouTubers asking for codes. I've heard of people basically threatening or bullying developers saying, "Give me some codes or I'll give you a bad review on Steam."

I never had that directly. But it's always, like, if you are very -- it's obvious that this is why I'm saying no, but I don't want them to be offended by it. I don't want them to be offended. And like I said before, since Gamergate, I'm very scared. I'm super-super scared. So, I don't want to be in trouble for no reason. I want to make sure that I don't go through that.

So, I'm trying to be as nice as I can. I've never had specific threats. But it's just, like, not fun conversations. Like, "Oh, okay, then. We won't review your game!" Fine, then. I don't care. [Laughs.]

[Laughs.]

You know, it's always like this. It's weird. There's something we should do about it, to have a better relationship with them. There's probably something that can be done, like, to build better relationships and better understanding of what the relationship between dev and YouTubers. There's probably something to do about it, because it's so weird. And, also -- yeah, it's so weird. There is sometimes YouTubers that are very cool and very big and you know that it's going to be great for you and your brand, but there are those that are in their basement and what they do is not very cool. You don't have to give them codes. It does nothing for you. There's nothing. So, it's probably more for them that they do it because they will review a good game, so maybe they will have a little bit more views. I don't know. Do you understand what I mean?

Yeah. No, I'm with you. It is weird.

There's probably some things to do about it, but I don't know and I don't have the answer. [Laughs.] It's just annoying to have to deal with all this research and I don't know. There must be a way to organize that in a better way. I don't know.

Insert

What else seems weird to you about the game industry?

Oh my God. [Pause.] I don't like when a game dev is telling me that he's doing free-to-play and that he is ashamed of it. I don't like that. I think it's great that you're doing something. Like, if it's free-to-play and it's making sense financially for you right now, I'm happy for you. I don't like when you're ashamed of what you're doing. That's something that I don't like.

I don't like that there's not enough women, obviously. But sometimes I enjoy to be the only woman, because I work with nice people. But I think it will be nice to have a little bit more feminine perspective. I'm not a huge feminist. I am feminist in a sense, but I'm not an activist or somebody that will go through fire the cause. But, obviously, my ideas are feminist. So, it'd be nice to have a little bit more space for girls.

What I like about the industry is that there's a lot of people who think like me and there's a lot of, for example, Dames Making Games is making games in Toronto to lots of, like, girls learning code for, like, little girls. Ten years old and up. So, that's awesome. This kind of thing is great and it's a thing that will probably solve the problem in the future.

Is there more that the industry could be doing to diffuse cycles of frictions and tensions?

I think there's a lot of things since events that happened last year. I think there's a lot people that are more sensible about it that were not -- like, I think everybody was so sensible about it, but now that it happened, they're even more sensible about it and want to change a little bit more. So, obviously, there's still problems and communities that want to make sure people are more nice to each other, but, it's gonna be a long way. It's gonna be such a weird and very difficult trip. [Laughs.]

So, yeah, I don't know how to fix that but -- you know? I was talking about the community with the comments on Fez before, at the beginning of the interview.

Yeah.

Did you ever watch on TED Talks, the talk about Monica Lewinsky, "The Price of Shame," I think it was called?

This was like, a couple months ago?

Yeah.

Yes. I remember it.

So, I obviously listened to that super-carefully and it kind of blew me off and made me realize a lot of stuff. And then, also, read an article about the guy that posted that video online. Like, the guy that worked at TED Talks. He was saying that what happened was that people were so mean and they really said a lot of awful stuff on the comments and everything. Then they decided to monitor it and all of a sudden it became a safe space. And all of a sudden they received so much messages of hope and positive stuff and thanking Monica and a lot of awesome and refreshing messages. And what you learn from that and what I learned from that is that you have to make sure that in your life there is around you a safe space and you have to make sure that there's nothing that goes in it. There's, like, a circle and you have to make sure that nobody can cross that. And if nobody can cross that that aren't negative, that means that it begins to welcome the people that have something good to say about it.

There's also an article online that I can link to you if it interests you. It says if your website is full of bullies, it's your fault. And it really also helped me to understand this idea of safe space, and I don't know why I'm talking this much about it but it really makes more sense about how to make sure to try to have a better environment around you and around the game industry. I think there's too much little minds behind these TVs and controllers that are a little bit too young and doesn't understand that words are very hurtful and can affect lives.

And that there's people behind avatars?

Exactly. There's people behind these TVs and controllers.

On the other side.

Yeah. And you will probably not say these awful things in their face, so why you are doing that on your computer, right?

Did games feel like a safer space for you when you were growing up?

I am very sometimes a clueless person. I am very naive, I think, in a sense. So I don't think I was thinking about that kind of a thing. But if I go back on the games that I really liked a lot, like, obviously there were no girls in there and no role models for me, for sure. Like, for example, I really like Commander Keen and Crystal Caves. I don't know where we were in that world, but it was -- I don't know if you heard of that game, but it was on the floppy disk.

I remember those. But I just mean, did you ever feel threatened by people around games growing up or --

Oh God, no. No. My friends growing up was a lot of boys, so, they wanted to play Final Fantasy, so they were just happy that I wanted to watch. You know? [Laughs.] Like, I was happy to be around them while they were playing or that I wanted to play Sonic with them, or some things like that.

So, I never felt that way. But I think I was pretty damn lucky because I heard so much about -- I think it's just because I knew the right person. I'm pretty convinced that I was kind of living in a bubble. [Laughs.] So, that said -- and also, my brother-in-law is also in the videogames industry and he's in my life since I'm 11, so, I've been quite around games, but with positive persons. I think I was more under the eyes of my friends. I was more, "Oh my God, she's a girl and she likes games! That's awesome!" It was more like that. Yeah, that's true. It was like, I was a girl playing Soul Calibur and, like, trying to beat them at it. So, it was cool.

Insert

Well, girls mature faster than boys.

[Laughs.] I don't know.

I'm not that much older than you, and I remember my circle of friends, it was much more like that: "Oh my God, that's awesome. Come hang out with us!"

Yeah, exactly. It was more like -- I don't know. I grew up in a small suburbs of Montreal and people were happy that I wanted to go in there and play with them. I didn't have consoles then. I only had a computer at home, so, I was kind of seeking my friends that had consoles so I could play with them. [Laughs.]

Well, so, clearly something changed?

Something changed. Like, it's crazy. It affects people more than we think. My baby is, like, one year old and he's playing Metamorphabet on our iPad, and obviously he's playing games though us because we are playing in front of him. And we give him a unconnected controller because if we don't, it's impossible to play. [Laughs.]

Insert

But, yes. You are -- kids know games much more younger. I know that Renaud has a different experience than me because games was in his life for much more long time and early than me. Like, he had Commodore and a little portable game -- I don't know. There was only game in that huge device. Anyway, it's kind of crazy. He had much more contact than I did. So, I think that's also another thing that is different is everybody is connected to games from start now. Because now your parents are not games people, but there's so much stuff now. Everything is gamified, if I can use that word and nobody is barfing in their mouth.

Your baby might have, but I didn't.

[Laughs.]

Are there things you wish the community at large talked more about?

It might be weird and meta, but I would love that people realized how much community is important. Because there's people that aren't in your community, here in Toronto that I don't even know about, and that they never go out. I think they don't understand how much they are keeping themselves from something very awesome and from something super-important. Like, there's one time in my life where I needed a Ouya devkit really badly because I needed to test something on it and I didn't have one. So, I emailed my friends and I was like, "Do you have an Ouya devkit for me for like an afternoon?" "Yeah, of course! Come hang out." "Okay!" And I did.

And if I didn't have this people in my life, it would have been a little bit more complicated. So, it's this kind of things and I think the indie community is so, like, close together. Much more than you think. That, there's like a secret society almost. [Laughs.] And, like, forums and secret stuff that we are talking together because we are so close together. We are friends. And it's great because it's not competitive. And, to be honest, I was looking for that kind of relationship since the beginning of my professional life and I really found it in the game industry. And I think it's great. And I really think that people are sometimes undervalue it.

How much did the act of producing a game teach you about how they're made?

Obviously, I know how games are made. I did a lot of web production before, so I know how an interactive project is made. I guess there's a lot of little things -- like I know how an engine works and obviously I spend a lot of time with Renaud and he is so passionate about his work, so I know a little bit more about programming and, yeah, I think I understand how games are made, for sure. It's more about how the teams are working together to kind of make an idea flourish and begin the game. I understand that for a game jam but for a big game, I'm not sure how -- yeah. Since I never worked in a studio, I never picked up this kind of conversation between a creator and a programmer. So, like, I'm not totally sure how it works, but I have a good idea about it for sure. I hope so I know, because I'm scheduling. [Laughs.]

For that matter, what is it that keeps you coming back to make more games, period?

Oh, my God. Because it's fun? Because it's what I do. Because, at this point, it's, like, all I know. I mean, at some point you want to make sure -- you have experiences and you want to make sure that these experiences are going the right way. You don't want to redo it again. Like, restart from the start again. You kind of want to work on what you have and on your experiences. So, basically, I think this is my industry and this is where I wanna grow for real. So why don't I just stay here because I know I'm where I belong?

I've been doing a lot of events stuff, sometimes, and I think I'm gonna be doing another event shortly. But I'm not sure that games related to events is necessarily what I really want to do for a living. So, for sure, I need to stay in the production because this is what I like, but, now that I have more experiences, I can also choose. So, for example, the next project that I'm going to accept will not be a port. [Laughs.] So, yeah.

I understand. You wanna do a variety of things.

Yeah. I wanna learn more stuff, you know? So, I will not go to a port again, for sure, just because I want to learn a bit more about it and learn new stuff. Because now I think I can do ports with my eyes closed. So, it's been a lot of ports that I did. So maybe I can do something else. And I have an opportunity with some other games because they are working on a new game now, and I was super, super into it and very enthusiastic. But then I realized that it is way too expensive here in Toronto, so I couldn't really afford that because it will have been double, if not triple of my salary, which makes absolutely no sense. So, I just decided to take a break and we'll see when I'll be back in Montreal -- because we're moving from Montreal next year. So, maybe I'm gonna have other opportunity with Montreal and we'll see what happens there.

don't die Logo