Sheridan Students Sweep Game Design Category at Ubisoft’s Future Women in Games Initiative
Ubisoft Future Women in Games, a new program to attract and develop emerging talent that reflects the diversity of society and aims to create inclusive games, was launched by the world-renowned game studio in the fall of 2019. Rising above the more than 40 applicants in Game design are three Sheridan Honours Bachelor of Game Design students who swept the category.
Each of the applicants in Game Design were tasked with creating a one-page game feature pitch on the theme of “your morning routine.” Judges determined a select group of finalists who worked with Ubisoft mentors to bring their final feature pitches to life. Sheridan’s contingent rose to the challenge and subsequently, to the top of the podium.
Jaylin Grierson, a second-year student, received first prize for her design Day Planner, a feature for a role-playing game that requires players to plan their day’s activities to maximize productivity. Second prize went to fourth-year student Eve Leveille for Pedestrian Panic, an arcade-style game that challenges players to navigate their way through a maze of dense, pushy crowds at rush hour, and third prize to fourth-year student Jensen Verlaan for Tea Time, a 2D, two-button casual puzzle game centred around brewing tea.
Working with a mentor at a respected studio like Ubisoft was invaluable, says third-place finalist Verlaan. “It really opened my eyes to new design thinking and terminologies like challenging core player skills and designing with affordances and re-playability in mind.” What’s more, the event is focused on moving the dial on diversity in an industry the three Sheridan students will soon be entering. “The game industry is for the most part male dominated,” she says. “Having a program that serves to boost the visibility of non-male designers and programmers is important and relevant.”As winner of the Game Design category, Grierson will receive mentorship and hands-on experience from Ubisoft’s industry experts and a paid internship at the Ubisoft Toronto studio. “It was a phenomenal and exciting experience,” she says. “I had the opportunity to work with professional designers and practice my design skills in an open format.”
Leveille adds: “Seeing a studio so dedicated to uplifting the voices of women game designers is very inspiring for me. This opportunity allowed me to work one-on-one with an industry mentor who helped me set my prototype on the right path and understand the type and quality of work expected from a top studio.”
Sheridan’s Honours Bachelor of Game Design program was launched in 2013 in order to prepare global-thinking graduates for a professional career in the international game industry. Students in the program learn to work through complex design problems on multidisciplinary teams to deliver on engaging game product, following rational design discipline that is iterative and play-centric. A combination of transferable technical and soft skills and a strong understanding of professional practices makes graduates of this program stand out.
“We’re tremendously proud of these talented game design students,” says Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design. “Representing an often-underrepresented group in the industry and doing so in such a professional and skilled way shows that they’re poised to be innovators in their field.”
In March 2020, Sheridan’s three honourees and other finalists and winners of Ubisoft Future Women in Games will be recognized at a special ceremony at the studio’s International Women’s Day event.
Pictured above left: Second-year Sheridan Game Design student and winner of Ubisoft's Future Women in Games program Jaylin Grierson. Pictured above right: Fourth-year Game Design student and third-place finalist Jensen Verlaan.
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