Ubisoft Paris commits to help students fight school dropout with Fusion Jeunesse
This year, some of Ubisoft Paris’ employees gave their time to help highschoool students fight lack of motivation during their scholarship thanks to Fusion Jeunesse, a Canadian organization. These students had to create a game with the help of mentors from our studio, and an award ceremony was held with the participation of our MD!
Following the path of Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Bordeaux, we decided to launch a partnership with Fusion Jeunesse in 2019! The aim of this Canadian association is to fight school dropout, and to that end they created different tracks to encourage students. One of these tracks was really interesting to us because it was about helping students create videogames, which is, like, a topic we can help with.
So, when Fusion Jeunesse started operating in Paris and its surroundings, Ubisoft Bordeaux told us that it was a really nice opportunity. We first met with Fusion Jeunesse during Inclusion & Diversity Week, last November, and that’s when some members of our teams decided to invest some of their time to be a mentor for students, helping them organize, communicate and create a videogame!
Throughout the year, they met with the students regularly to talk about what it’s like to be in the videogame industry, what skills you need and how you can work as a team to make the best game possible. While these last few months have been pretty strange, our mentors kept on talking with these young developers to help them achieve their vision.
On June 16th, Fusion Jeunesse organized a closing ceremony and awarded the best student’s projects during a show worthy of the Oscars. And Marie-Sophie, our MD, was among other French personalities who had the pleasure of doing the opening speech!
“As a studio, we are very proud to be part of this adventure and to help students stay motivated throughout the year thanks to videogame. Fusion Jeunesse’s mission is essential because it encourages you to explore your creativity and to experiment team work and pluridisciplinarity”
She added: “Being creative is about being curious, opening up to others and to the world. “I want to congratulate every one of you who went through this challenge and to thank both the teachers and our mentors. The variety of what you created is impressive: escape games, knights protecting villages, quests to find vaccines… and much more! So bravo to all of you for proving your passion and motivation can give astonishing results”
After this introduction, it was time for the students to discover what they were looking forward to with a lot of excitement: the names of the winning projects! Fusion Jeunesse had many awards to give: best scenario, best graphics, best gameplay mechanics… Quite similar to The Game Awards’ ceremony, especially considering that we had exclusive trailers and gameplay demo of the games that received awards 😉
During the show, we even had the pleasure to see Quentin Guerrero making an appearance to give the coveted “Best Visual Signature” award!
We saw too many great games during this ceremony, so it is impossible to talk about them all. What we can do though is to let our mentors speak about what they lived and how they helped students develop the games! So here are a few words from Brahim, Quentin and Pierre.
I met Fusion Jeunesse when they came to the studio during the Diversity Week and I immediately signed up to be a class mentor in Drancy’s High School. I met the students in February, I introduced myself, we talked, it was a good time. When we started creating the video game, I gave them a lot of advices; I helped them on the scope: they wanted to make a dozen maps, full of mechanics … with the time provided, it was not possible! I helped them a lot on the level design part, because I told them that it was better to present something that had gameplay but with graphics not necessarily AAA-worthy than the opposite.
When COVID arrived, their teacher, a Fusion Jeunesse volunteer and myself created a WhatsApp group and re-motivated them. We made a Google Drive where they could post all their documents, and we communicated regularly, helping them using the game engine they had chosen: Construct 3. We had in the team a young person who liked the code, another who was a graphic designer, another who liked to make sounds, a young person who took care of the script part… in short, we almost had a core team. In the end, they worked very well despite the circumstances, they were on the verge of overtime sometimes ? They managed to present a playable game, so we were very happy.
I did a debrief with them afterwards to explain that they had in a way simulated a real development, with teamwork, communication, the fact of being motivated when we face problems, composing with everyone’s skills… I am super happy with the work they did and the way they did it. For me, everything about Fusion Jeunesse is positive because it brings them a lot… and it brings me a lot too. So next year, I’m doing it again, it’s a no-brainer.
Fusion Jeunesse provides young people with a unique opportunity that I wish I had when I was a student. This is why it was important for me to take part in this adventure. The creation of a video game is above all a collective process of enthusiasts whose goal is to deliver a work that will leave a mark by its story, its artistic direction, its gameplay, its soundscape… thanks to each of its components that required creativity.
As a mentor, I wanted to pass on my experience both as a former student but also as a developer of video games in order to show them that each course is unique but that all roads lead to Rome as long as we put the necessary passion, will and efforts into it. I also wanted to push their reflection on what they were going to produce so that the experiences they would develop would have a meaning and that they would create something that they would be proud of. And that happens through storytelling, gameplay or anything else. Whatever the medium, I think it is important to pass on the values that inspire us to the young people of today because they are the adults of tomorrow. Passing the relay must be as exciting as receiving it.
I had the privilege of being the mentor of a class of young people from Lycée Jean Moulin in Torcy. Initially, I was scheduled to go 4 times a year to present my job and help these high school students to design a video game. Because of strikes and the health crisis, I was only able to talk once in school and another time remotely. During these sessions, the students presented to me the progress of their various projects on which I was able to give some advice. I was amazed to see how creative they were. At the end of the year, I was asked to be a member of the Jury to award prizes for each game. I was impressed by the involvement of the students and the quality of some of these games. With a little polish, I am convinced that some games could even compete with other games on the market!
It has been a pleasure to contribute to this initiative. It was an opportunity for me to remember how I went into video games when I was in high school. I hope that this experience will spark some passions in some of these high school students!
If you are inspired and want to become a mentor, feel free to head to the Play for Good website or reach out to me to get more information!