— 28 January 2020 | Portrait
12 Devs in 12 Months: Catherine Vachon
To launch the celebrations marking our 15th anniversary, we wanted to introduce studio employees in an original way. People that are not usually under the spotlight, but that deserve to be known for their impact on the games we create. From that idea, we created the 12 Devs in 12 Months initiative. Until the end of 2020, you will get to meet 12 talented and friendly developers. We start off strong with Catherine Vachon, 3D Animator at Ubisoft Québec since 2011.
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST MEMORY AT UBI?
I’d say this year’s Christmas party when the boys were singing songs from Les BB out loud. That was my favourite. It’s hard to beat! But there’s also that time when we moved to our new offices. Our eyes grew wide when we finally got to see the new work spaces. It was even more incredible to share this moment with our families. Especially because usually we can’t bring anyone inside our office. It makes it so mysterious from the outside!
WHAT BROUGHT YOU INTO THE VIDEOGAME INDUSTRY?
10 years ago, I didn’t know what 3D animation was. I never really asked myself how videogames were made. But then I met Marc-André Clermont who was working at Ubisoft Montréal at that time. He explained his job to me and I did not understand a thing he said. So I started reading more on it and it instantly amazed me. As soon as I finished my photography course, I got into a 3D animation program and hop! Ubi hired me.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PROJECT YOU’VE WORKED ON?
Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. I was doing cinematics and it’s the first time my work was being recognized. I was really satisfied of what I’ve done. I gave it all! Also, the release of this game was really positive. What more could I ask? Gods & Monsters is also really special for me. It’s a game that is really in our image. It’s incredible to see what all the team did within a short lapse of time. Regarding the animation, it was a big challenge to work on a new style after working on realistic projects for so many years.
15 YEARS, IT FLIES BY! WHAT WERE YOU DOING IN 2005?
Freshly out of school, I was wandering around Cégep Ste-Foy’s corridor trying to figure out what I was going to do working 40 hours a week, without getting bored.
WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
Coffee. It has nothing to do with Ubi but yeh… Coffee!
UBISOFT QUÉBEC WOULD’T BE UBISOFT QUÉBEC WITHOUT…
Without Andrée Cossette. I’m aware of what people might think about me while reading this. But I really do think it wouldn’t be the same without her. And I’m not the only one who thinks that! I think the studio’s values are the reflect of the founding members (Andrée and Nicolas Rioux) values. I have lots of respect for her and I’m really proud to now call her our Managing Director. She’s just one incredible, inspiring woman.
But there’s not only Andrée, of course. Ubi Québec wouldn’t be the same without Pierre-Luc Vachon, Marc-Alexis Côté, Martin Bédard, Marc-André Clermont, Jo Bédard, Nadina Gafoor, Michelle Plourde, Jeff Bérubé, without ME 😛 and so many more people. All of those people who put some heart into their work and/or some craziness makes the studio what it is today.
NAME A COLLEAGUE THAT INSPIRES YOU. WHY?
Well… It seems like I already answered that question. Andrée is definitely the person that inspires me the most. But since, there are other people that inspire me at work, I’m just going to throw flowers at some of my colleagues. OK, here’s a top 3 :
➝ Sebastien Carrier, a shadow ninja who works his magic in the shadow, a “finder” of solutions, a light in the dark corners of technical animation, he makes other animators work shine in the calm and discretion.
➝ Claude Comeau, a demanding leader but also I really warm person who’s always working hard, a perfectionist of nature, this pioneer of UbiMocap is always full of resources with his background of 16 years of experience in the video game industry.
➝ Mario Brodeur, a true FX top dog. Due to his open-mindedness and his talent, he’s super easy to work with. Nothing can’t stop this versatile artist to lead his team to the promise land.
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The times when we receive messages from players saying our games made a difference in their life. It happened with Assassin’s Creed III, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It’s really flattering.
WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT THE VIBE AT UBISOFT QUÉBEC. DESCRIBE THIS VIBE IN 3 WORDS.
Pro with a touch of craziness. It’s not 3 words at all! I really failed at answering that question, sorry.
WHAT WAS YOUR SONG IN 2005?
Duality, 2005, the beginning of a long love story with Slipknot. I love you Corey Taylor!
WHAT WAS YOUR GAME 2005?
Rainbow Six Raven Shield, the only shooter I ever played at, but I wasn’t really good.
UBISOFT QUÉBEC IN 15 YEARS, WHAT WILL IT LOOK LIKE?
Despite the fast growth of the world of video games, I hope the studio will look a little bit like it does right now. Not too big, so we’ll still know pretty much everyone, but big enough to continue developing solid game like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Gods & Monsters. I also hope we’ll still inspire the youngest in the future, even if they see us as old people.