Ubisoft’s Winnipeg arrival creates jobs for RRC 3D Computer Graphics and BIT students

BY Luke Rempel

Ryan Seradilla, a Red River College 3D Computer Graphics student, works on a character design for his portfolio on April 10, 2018./LUKE REMPEL


Some Red River College students and grads could be working at a world-renowned video-game company in Winnipeg this fall.


Ubisoft announced on Friday, April 6, it will be opening a studio in Winnipeg that will create 100 jobs over the next five years — many of which could go to RRC grads from the Business Information Technology and 3D Computer Graphics programs.


“Oh my god. It’s very exciting,” said Ryan Seradilla, a 3D Computer Graphics student graduating this year. “A few of us were looking to move to other cities, but now we’re reconsidering.”


Tom Lepp, a 3D Computer Graphics instructor said that two years ago, people from Ubisoft came to Red River College to check out the 3D Computer Graphics and BIT programs. The Ubisoft team also visited the University of Manitoba for its Computer Science program, and Sisler High School for its video-game development programs.


They must have liked what they saw.


“My phone’s blowing up,” said Lepp. “Former students who are working as far away as San Francisco are calling to ask, is this really true?”


Lepp says there’s already a 3D animation film company in Winnipeg and lots of small independent game studios, but Ubisoft’s arrival as a blockbuster game studio will help develop the industry and create more jobs for people graduating from the 3D Computer Graphics program.


“AAA studios like Ubisoft make the big, sexy products that ship on Xbox and PlayStation 4” said Lepp. “And now we have a little piece of that here.”


Instructors in both 3D Computer Graphics and BIT are planning to discuss with Ubisoft about sending students to their studio on work placement.


Still, not all students are excited about the announcement.


“We hear on the internet that people at these big game studios are overworked,” said Eric Gagne, a second-year BIT student. “But it would be good experience.”


The reviews on job websites rate working at other Canadian Ubisoft studios very highly, but frequently mention there can be long hours when a game is about to be published.


Kent Wilson graduated from RRC 20 years ago and has worked as a senior lighting artist at Ubisoft in Toronto for the last eight years. He acknowledges there are crunch times at the end of a game’s production, but he says extra hours are voluntary and never on weekends.


“If you have a passion for what you do, the extra effort you put in is always worth it,” Wilson said in an email. “It always feels good when you read comments after a game ships and you know you put in the extra push.”


Wilson most recently worked on Far Cry 5 and has previously worked on Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed: Unity, among others.