Meet The Team is an offbeat interview with the studio’s talents. Get to know us, discover our backgrounds, our favorite games, our life at Ubisoft and our hidden talents! This time, let’s meet Ciprian Laza, our Studio Production Director.
Hi Ciprian! So, do you play?
I play a lot of games in my spare time and have grown up from a small age with gaming hardware. Nowadays I play mainly on my PS5 with very short bursts of PC, mobile and Switch gaming. But my gaming preferences and habits are all-over the place from blockbuster AAA games that just launched to older indies and everything in between.
I do like to keep gaming and my professional life separate though, as I am a strong believer that in a large organization, the best thing you can bring to the table is to play to your role.
Which video game has marked you the most?
I have quite a few throughout my life which I have fond memories of. The original Mafia game is an experience I loved and just took me by surprise, coming out of nowhere. It’s probably the game that marked me the most and I did enjoy the recent remake as well, being a game I platinumed. I also loved Heroes of Might & Magic 2, 3, 4 & 5. My absolute favorite being the 3rd one.
Although from Ubisoft, the game that marked me the most was Assassin’s Creed 2 and consequently following Ezio’s adventures in Brotherhood and Revelations. And one of the most recent great experiences would have to be Ghost of Tsushima, a game that I consider a masterpiece and I think the development team has done justice to the chosen style & tone. I’m actually quite a fan of what comes out of Sucker Punch studios.
Your favorite video games characters?
My favorite would have to be Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher. A character that has so much emotion in his unemotional behavior and nature and someone so fictional, yet so relatable.
But somewhere up, there’s also Nathan Drake, a character that proves that humor has a time and place in any situation, and is living proof that anticipating player behavior through dialogue and reactions can create depth in immersion. For example when you get into a really weird situation in game and as you’re playing, you think “what the…” and the main character says that out loud half a second later!
How did you end up in our studio?
I was always a big fan of the Ubisoft portfolio and when thinking of large publishers and their respective games, Ubisoft must be number one on player centric titles coming out from one company. When I met the leaders in the studio throughout the interview process, I was instantly sold. I had this feeling that a giant company on one of the most thriving industries to date, has soul and is passionate for its talent and craftmanship. After I got to meet a few people, I realized it wasn’t a coincidence and I still think that is true today, after I joined.
What is your typical day like as a Studio Production Director?
For now, it’s a lot of meets and greets with the people in the studio and a lot of reading and understanding some of the history and decisions that are representative for where the studio is. I imagine this will continue for a while. I also try to bring with me some of my past experiences and talk about how I did things in my past life, if and where relevant.
I see the studio and my role in it, just like any other entity or project, so it’s fairly similar to your closest Senior Producer or Production Director just with a wider lens, but at times shallower, just so I can stretch across all projects. My mission every day is to offer my support to production and make sure that we are responsible financially and culturally on our way to build greatness through gaming.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
In my spare time I enjoy playing games, surprise surprise! I’m playing mainly on Playstation as I’ve been a Sony fan my entire life and my PSN account is testimony of that, being almost level 700 on PSN. I am also a massive fan of the automotive industry in its entirety, from project management and process to the final products. But above all else, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling to new places or just going out for a walk.
If you could work on any Ubisoft game, what would it be?
I think the most natural to me would be the Ghost Recon franchise and The Division, given my past experience. Having met with Massive Entertainment and Lucas Film on the gaming side of things, I’m excited to see what they’re making next. I can’t wait to play Avatar, Frontiers of Pandora.
Have you always lived in Paris?
No, I’m very new to Paris. I was born and raised in Bucharest and as an adult, I moved to Stockholm, in my 20s, where I lived until this year. Stockholm still holds a very dear place in my heart, but the weather doesn’t always love me back. But Stockholm summer is a time and place very hard to match, I think.
What is your proudest achievement?
It would have to be when I found out that I would be a father and all throughout even to this day. Might sounds clichee, but the whole experience was anything but clichee. From the day we brought home from the hospital our newborn daughter, Lucia, which is now 2 years old, up to this day, it was extremely challenging but very rewarding. Being a parent is a lot of hard work, at least that’s my own experience, but it’s so rewarding as you see them grow. And on that front, I have many more years of hard work and watching a little human grow up.