Driving games masters Ubisoft Reflections seek staff infusion
UBISOFT Reflections is looking to recruit around 10 staff while it “spreads its wings” as a multi-project studio.
The Newcastle-based studio is aiming to concentrate on a “bigger spread” of projects in future, and this will require it to add a few skills.
Reflections general manager Giselle Stewart said it was looking for a range of roles, and hoped to attract local applicants as well as international interest.
She said: “They range from user interface to specialist programming roles, but there are a smattering of general ones such as games design.
“We’ve gone from being a single-project company to a multi-project company. The games in development aren’t necessarily all going to be in the traditional driving genre we’ve concentrated on for the last 15 years or so.
“There is a requirement for a slightly different skills range, although we’ve found our skills are a lot more transferable than we thought.
“As the North East is a hotbed of talent for the games industry, we hope we’ll get some local applications as well as international ones.”
The company’s latest release, Driver: San Francisco, received positive reviews when it was released in September, with the Guardian describing its as a “joyous sandbox” and Joystiq dubbing it “polished and sophisticated”.
However, it wasn’t a short process. The latest child of the Driver franchise was being planned back in 2007.
That process was re-started two years later to refine some game features such as the “shift” option, which allows the player to quickly leap between cars. Stewart said the studio’s future projects would also vary in terms of length and would include shorter ones taking a few months.
It is also using its experience to assist with projects running across Ubisoft.
As reported earlier, some of the studio’s experts were sent to work with Ubisoft’s Casablanca teams on PS Vita titles, while the Newcastle studio also adapted the Just Dance 3 game for the PlayStation Move. Stewart said: “We’ve got a fair few things we’re working on now that we can’t really talk about, and we’ve been supporting our sister studios around the world when they’ve needed expertise.
“We’re always keen to work on as many platforms as we can.
“We were among the first external studios to get our hands on the PlayStation development kit, and we’ve got people in the studio who love Microsoft and Nintendo consoles too.
“We’re looking forward to having the ability to build on our driving expertise. There are quite a number of our team members who are quite keen to break into other genres and opportunities that pop up.
“We’ll always put a heavy emphasis on time to experiment. We’re never so quick that we just nail down the first thing we think of.
“We like to have something exciting before we move on it. There’s always an emphasis on quality.”
Ubisoft announced earlier this week that it had been shortlisted for an Innovation Award by the Royal Television Society of the North East for its work on Driver: San Francisco.
The winners will be announced at The Sage in Gateshead on Saturday and Stewart believes the shortlisting demonstrates that “the innovative quality of Driver: San Francisco reaches beyond the gaming community to surpass the standards of entertainment media in general”. As well as the roles currently on offer at the studio, the team is also looking to find a new studio manager after the departure of Gareth Edmondson.
He left last year to make a new start at mobile games firm Thumbstar Games, where he is teaming up with his brother and Reflections founder Martin.
Stewart is currently heading the studio with production director Darren Yeomans.
She said: “I worked with Gareth and Martin for many years, so it was very sad for me personally.
We continue our search for a new studio manager, and in the meantime we are by no means standing still.
“Wherever the studio manager comes from, they’ll be at a very exciting studio. It’s welcoming, innovative and ambitious. It’ll be a great job to come into.”
A profile of Gareth Edmondson will be published in The Journal next Monday.