Champlain Montreal: 2019 Ubisoft Game Lab Competition

By Erin Warner | Management & Innovation Major | Class of 2020

Since the establishment of Ubisoft Montreal’s Quebec studio in 1997, the gaming company has devised a series of programs to educate and inspire young minds with a passion for STEM. One of these programs titled, The Game Lab Competition, has gained the attention of the Champlain College Montreal campus. The Game Lab Competition occurs over the course of 10 weeks in which a team of undergraduate students must deliver a playable video game prototype.

Nick Deluzio, a Champlain junior who is majoring in Game Design, will be collaborating with 7 other Champlain students ranging in majors from Game Animation to Game Programming on one of the two teams representing Champlain Montreal. Each team has been tasked with the creation of a game under the guiding theme, Spectacle. This means, the game must be designed where the player is an audience member guiding the plot through interactions.

“We’re really trying to hit that idea of “Spectacle” through our gameplay and our interaction with the audiences. The constraints we have are pretty tough this year, especially with the audience needing to interact with the game. We’re all really excited for the challenge though!” -Nick Deluzio

As the team has just recently hit week three of the competition, they are still considering themselves within the early prototyping stage. After rigorous brainstorming sessions, Nick’s team is currently deciding between two major game ideas. In both games, the audience plays a big part of the plot utilizing their cellphones to control the main characters’ outcomes.

Team member and game producer, Mitchell Zasa, explained the importance of accountability within the group. Each teammate has a unique and critical role to make the game’s creation possible. Thus, faults in communication can lead to major setbacks within the development process. Mitchell stressed that the internal deadlines and ambitious goal delivery parallel the industry standard.

“This competition is really giving us a glimpse as to what life is like inside the actual gaming industry.” -Mitchell Zasa

To guide each team’s game development throughout the competition, Ubisoft has devised a team of its own Montreal faculty to mentor the undergrads. The Champlain team’s mentors, Jean-Phillips and Manuel, provide necessary guidance about the competition.

“They won’t directly tell us what we should and shouldn’t do, but we can reach out to them whenever we feel it’s needed to ask for their industry level input” -Nick Deluzio

In 2018, Ubisoft hired more than 25 competition participants to work at their offices in Montreal, Quebec City, and Saguenay. This is quite a large opportunity for the Champlain team as Ubisoft is the fourth largest publicly-traded game company in the Americas and Europe. In addition, there are a number of scholarships such as Best Technical Challenge and Innovation or Best Creativity and Integration of the Theme which be awarded to the most successful game prototypes. With 7 more weeks left, the Champlain Montreal campus will be busy prepping for the competition of a lifetime.