By Genevieve Guimond (GDES ’20) and Megan Hoins (PWRT ’19)
During the Fall 2018 semester, two of our students interned at Double Stallion’s Montreal studio.
Double Stallion was founded in 2013, and was helped along in its inception by the game company incubator Execution Labs. Their first two games were mobile: Big Action Mega Fight! was released on iOS and Android in 2013 and OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo! was released in 2016. That game is actually a property that Double Stallion partnered with Cartoon Network to create based on their show OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes. During development on two of these games, Double Stallion moved on to start their most recently released project: Speed Brawl.
At the internship, Megan and I spent most of our time either researching and conceptualizing new content in development or contributing to Double Stallion’s social media strategy. When it came to researching for Double Stallion’s new IPs, we were given a lot of freedom as to what we were looking for as long as it could be somewhat useful for the overall goal or category we were trying to gain knowledge in.
Early in the semester, Megan and I asked Lee (our supervisor) if he would like help keeping on top of social media posting as he had mentioned it a few times in the past. He enthusiastically agreed that it was a great idea, and we set to work writing fun little puns and jokes to post on twitter. When working on social media, one thing led to another and soon Megan and I proposed that we should also make Speed Brawl memes for the company’s social media accounts. Honestly, I was a little surprised but certainly glad for the freedom and unique tasks we were able to pursue.
I found out that working within a small company means you need to take on certain jobs you might not have expected to, like social media or demoing at a convention. Regardless of what I was doing, the cozy atmosphere and kind coworkers meant that I was happy to do whatever was needed and felt useful doing so. While I initially expected to be doing more traditional writing (like dialogue, or other script/story related writing), I understood the different needs this indie company had.
Without my time at Double Stallion, I wouldn’t have grown as both a game developer and a writer, since my close proximity to the other members of the team meant I could see a bit of what everyone was working on. Hearing from everyone during daily stand up and contributing to the team made me that much more excited to really get into the industry! Taking part in an internship in Montreal, which feels like the heart of indie gaming in North America, was a can’t miss experience that helped me grow quite a bit, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my mentor and colleagues at Double Stallion.
I was excited to work at Double Stallion way before I actually got to Montreal. I spoke to Lee a couple of times via email and Hangouts, where we talked about our favorite movies, games, books, and other media. It was fun to talk about the things I enjoyed with someone who surprisingly shared a lot of my interests, so I already felt comfortable with the vibe I was getting from Double Stallion.
Upon arrival, I knew immediately that this internship was going to be better than I ever anticipated. Trying to be a game writer has been a long and often difficult journey, but being in a game studio where they valued me as a writer was nothing short of amazing. I felt like I could finally do the work I’d been wanting to do for four years and have an impact, even if it was really small.
I had a much bigger impact than I thought, though. I worked on future content for Speed Brawl and some unannounced projects that we’ll be hopefully be seeing soon. I didn’t think that my content would be accepted as it was, though—I figured it would be edited to some degree and then finalized by the other developers. However, I was often tasked with self-editing based on feedback given by Lee. I collaborated with artists, programmers, and Genevieve, to discuss ideas and concepts before and during this editing process. After that, the content I wrote with Genevieve was considered final and was scheduled to be put in the game. We had done all of the work ourselves with guidance from the rest of the team. That was the first time I realized that I was having an impact on actual game development as an intern.
The atmosphere at Double Stallion was one of my favorite parts of my internship. Writing content and being a part of the game development process was, of course, awesome in every way, but I really enjoyed the group of people I got to work with every day. We all took part in various sprint meetings, where we’d discuss where we’d been and where we’d like to go moving forward. I also got the chance to play-test and provide feedback, which was a lot of fun. It gave Genevieve and I the chance to peek behind the curtain at the programming and art process when we were normally focused on the writing side of things.
Overall, I learned a lot about game development, especially when it comes to releasing a game and the struggles that come hand-in-hand with it. Being an indie company isn’t easy, but to me, it’s worth it when at least one person tells you how much they love the game you’ve worked on. At one point, I mentioned to two people that I worked at Double Stallion, and their eyes lit up. They immediately gushed about how cool Speed Brawl was, and that was one of the best moments I had as an intern. It made every part of my work worth it, and I hope that that kind of love continues to inspire Double Stallion down the road. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!