After three years of an exciting career at Minority as our Environment Artist, Stephanie Landry is moving on to new and exciting adventures. We sat around some delicious Portuguese chow and asked her to share her most memorable moments with us!
How did you get your break into the video games industry?
I’ve loved video games, computers and art since I was a teenager. It took me a while to realize that I could combine all three, but once I knew that, I jumped right into it! Obviously, for a girl like me, from Natashquan, the fact that most video game companies are in Montreal and Quebec complicated things a bit. It was kind of like living on a deserted island in the middle of the Atlantic. But eventually, I think it panned out nicely.
In order to work in Montreal’s games industry, you had to leave your hometown, Natashquan. Tell us about how you experienced this transition.
Natashquan is a small village of about 200 inhabitants. As a result, we only got road access in ’96. The first time I saw automatic doors, I thought I was Magneto from X-Men! [laughs] So, for someone like me, who hadn’t been exposed to a lot of technology during childhood, it may seem a little odd to choose video games. But my brothers had consoles and, early on, I became interested in how games work. My parents had a bed & breakfast and I enjoyed meeting people from elsewhere. That’s when I realized that I wanted to continue meeting people, but in their own city, not as visitors. I wanted to open up to the world. So, I chose Montreal because of its fascinating multicultural soul and for its inspiring arts scene.
You are one of the original members of the team that created Papo & Yo. Tell us about the role you played in developing this game.
The first time I heard about it, I was still studying at the Ubisoft Campus. At the time, it was more or less official. Initially, I offered to help out while I finished my studies. Soon after, as I went on job search mode, I continued to work on this game but it became obvious after we got our first studio, that my place was at Minority! So, it kind of naturally happened as I realized that I held Papo & Yo close to my heart and I had been involved in it from the beginning.
Tell us about the greatest challenge you overcame during the making of Papo & Yo.
At the time, I was the only artist in our tiny team of four, so I had to learn to handle many tools within the first six months of developing Papo & Yo. I had to adapt and diversify quickly: a true baptism by fire! So, what I’m most proud of is having been able to evolve quickly enough to hit the ground running in a very young company.
And your dearest memory?
Our first E3! After we got the good news about getting Sony’s support, they quickly told us they wanted us at E3, set to take place a month later. Let me tell you that there’s nothing like that sensation in your gut, that mix of concern and achievement. In the end, though, we were a hit at the event and we weren’t expecting it at all! Looking back now, having been able to go to E3 – all four of us – to present Papo & Yo…I’ll never forget that!
What will you miss the most about Minority?
The people. I made some very strong connections with the team over the last three years, beautiful friendships based on a strong sense of team. The fact that I will no longer see everyone on a daily basis…I’m going to miss that a lot.
What advice would you give to aspiring video game artists?
Don’t be afraid to take risks, especially early on. It’s important to persevere and to be patient, because this industry is hard to break into. It helps to take time in order to reach a certain artistic maturity and strength in character. In the beginning, I didn’t manage pressure very well, but working with Minority helped me grow a lot in that aspect. Don’t be afraid to follow through with your passions, to work on small personal projects and to get involved in projects that mean a lot to you, even if sometimes they’re risky.
Share a memorable anecdote.
[laugh] On Papo & Yo’s release day, we stayed at the studio all night, tweaking the game. We were all exhausted. At one point, I was laughing for nothing while testing the game, then I’d fall asleep on the couch waiting for the next version to review. Finally, at 5 am, we all met in Charles-William‘s office and pressed the “send” button. I had officially just shipped my first game, I’ll never forget this moment!
I’m moving on with the feeling of having experienced something unique. Having taken part in the establishment of a company whose first game continues to touch lives worldwide…it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing!