Since its beginning in 2015, Motive Studios has been on an exciting journey and has experienced rapid growth - and there’s no sign of it slowing down. On the eve of its first game launch, Star Wars Battlefront II, a collaboration with DICE and Criterion Games, we met with its newly appointed General Manager, Vincent Pontbriand, to hear about his motivations and what excites him most about the gaming industry.
For readers who might not know who you are, what is your role at Motive?
As Studio GM, not only do I oversee all organizational functions, but I also lead and direct the teams as they drive the creation of entertainment experiences for our players. As we’re a young studio, I also seek to build and nurture our culture, and further develop our mission and vision.
Motive led the development of the single player campaign in Star Wars Battlefront II, which is pretty exciting! Is there something you can share with your fans about this experience?
We had the incredible opportunity to contribute original ideas, within the objective of creating an entirely genuine, but new Star Wars story and experience with Lucasfilm. This was done in tandem with building the studio and team in Montreal, creating and refining our processes, etc. As you can imagine, this came with some challenges, but we adapted and now we’re starting to see the results. It’s more than worth it, in my opinion.
What words best describe your team culture?
We’re still in the process of defining ourselves, as we continue to grow as a studio and are getting to know each other. It almost feels like being part of a start-up. I love that the studio is made up of people from all parts of the world, as well as local industry folks. They have come together to build something new, and everything still seems possible.
What drives you personally, as a leader?
I really enjoy working with talented and creative people who have crazy ideas, and stand by them. It’s nice to work with clear goals and constraints, but I must admit, I also enjoy a good challenge. If you’re dealing with roadblocks, but then finish the job, the rewards outweigh the efforts and it all comes together – there’s nothing more rewarding.
There seems to be so many exciting things coming up at Motive. What are you most excited about (without giving away any secrets, of course)?
We’re about to ship our first project and collective effort, which is very exciting for us as a team. It’s been quite the journey: learning and working in the Frostbite engine (one of the most advanced in the industry), working on an idealized franchise like Star Wars, and so on. But the learnings we have gained from this experience are invaluable and will serve us as we move forward to the next chapter. We have new projects, including building an original IP from the ground up. We’re in the process of building the teams, the technology to support it, exploring and pioneering within the Action Adventure genre. We’ve been handed an amazing opportunity.
You’ve been in the industry for over two decades - what excites you the most about the future of gaming?
For me, gaming is not only about delivering fun and entertaining experiences, but also about providing players the ability to escape and live out other fantasies that are hard or impossible to replicate through other mediums.
I’m interested in new technology, in general, because over the years, it has pushed the envelope of immersion and sensory fidelity, but it’s also allowed us to explore new game genres. Our industry has often been the first to embrace and pioneer through these technologies. We can think of Online, 3D audio and graphics, Physics, Motion Capture, Touch input, Mobile, Wearables, Streaming, Cloud, VR, AR, and the list goes on.
Innovation has never stopped, and if you’re curious, you can presently get a glimpse of the future through indie games or apps. It generally takes a while to make its way into more mainstream games, as it needs to be affordable, ubiquitous, etc.
I’m also looking forward to exploring disruptive new technologies, such as AI, and new ways to empower our players.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To be fearless.
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