We used to call Stéphanie “Environment Artist” but lately, she’s been doing a lot more work with characters and levels, so we’ve switched to calling her “3D Artist.”
Stéphanie is from Natashquan, Québec, a 16+ hour drive away from Montreal and where only a mere 270 residents live. Her parents own a Bed & Breakfast and she’s been accustomed to interacting with people from all over the world since she was young. And to that, she attributes her love of travel and sense of adventure. “I love trying new things!”
She’d love to learn how to play the piano, but would have to fit it into her busy schedule with the numerous activities she already has going on, like wu-shu, ballet, and zumba. She loves all kinds of arts, drawing, dancing, singing, baking desserts and trying the latest (and retro greatest) video games. Journey and The Unfinished Swan were two of her favourites this year, and in the office, we all had fun using the augmented reality app on her copy of The Art of Journey. Her most favourite game of all time is Chrono Trigger.
When asked about her favourite part of Papo & Yo, she promptly answers, “the beginning and the ending. I love the feeling of that first zone when you discover the environment, and I think it’s the place where we put more details and more fun stuff. And the ending … because it’s the most emotional and strongest part of the game … and the music is beautiful.”
She’s been with Minority since the beginning (and even before that, she half-jokes), and though the biggest challenges involved many of those that come with the growing pains of a start-up, she says the beginning was the most fun. She can remember the excitement of the first E3 when Sony said yes to Papo, and with the positive press coverage and awards, there was a definite sense of reward for all the effort that had gone into the game thus far.
Stéphanie got into video games with what she calls “a weird process.” In CEGEP*, she didn’t really know what she wanted to do, except that it had to be something artistic. An advisor set her on a path to do a multimedia program, but after one session, she met someone who had done a 3D class at the Collège Bart in Québec City. When she applied and got in, she knew that’s what she wanted to do in life. “I always loved video games, but at the beginning, I wasn’t sure that it was something I was able to do.” Getting into Campus Ubisoft for a year-long program in 3D modeling reaffirmed that she could, and helped hone her craft.
If you’re on your second playthrough of Papo, you’ll know that the voodoo dolls will matter. Stéphanie is the one responsible for cleverly hiding the 25 hats all throughout the game. Her favourite is the fish hat because to her, it’s the funniest. “I love this one! When you pop out of the water – and there’s this big fish on your head!” It’s sort of the same way that she makes us laugh in the office – full of surprises with funny sound effects and punchy one-liners out of nowhere. And in a small company, laughing together is an important thing, especially when it helps the team bond.
* the name for post-secondary pre-university/technical career educational institutions in Québec