What inspires an artist to venture in to the field of animation and gaming? Gio Corsi, Executive Producer for the Games division, Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, recounts for Bollywood Hungama his interesting journey into the world of games.
With more than 13 years’ experience in the animation and gaming industry, Gio’s career in the games industry began as a QA Tester with Electronic Arts Canada. While at EA, he worked on Need for Speed Team, High Stakes and Porsche Unleashed. After a stint in the TV and film industry, Gio was back in the games industry. Under Propaganda Games, he was Director on Turok and then a Franchise Producer on the recently announced Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned.
Having relocated from Canada to Singapore, Gio has long since adjusted to the climate by always wearing shorts and continually smiling because back in Vancouver, it’s most likely raining and cold.
Gio, how did you get into gaming?
It wasn’t what I had in mind in the beginning. I was working as a bartender in my Dad’s restaurant and I wasn’t too happy with it. One of my friends who was working at Electronic Arts asked if I wanted to work for their Quality Assurance department. It sounded fun – a couple of my friends were also working there, and getting paid to play games was just too good to pass up – so I did. Now 13 years later, I’m still in the games industry, and working for Lucasfilm Animation Singapore.
How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been awesome. I haven’t looked back since I started working in the games industry. For me, it has been very rewarding, personally and creatively. I did a lot of acting in high school, and tried to pursue acting as a career. Being in Vancouver though made it very hard. There weren’t many jobs for actors. When I joined the QA department and got into production that was when I found my creative output. It’s completely different from acting, but kind of similar because I’m still creating and entertaining people. It’s just a different medium.
You still act; you make characters act in the game…
Yes. You act with your team as well and keep them entertained and motivated. It’s still a form of acting – in the game and in the job.
What has your inspiration been?
When I saw my nephew playing Need For Speed and loving it. At that time, he didn’t know I created games for a living, and that I worked on that particular game. When I told him and showed him the game credits – I was Assistant Producer then — he was very impressed. That was a proud moment for me. I knew that this was what I wanted to do, to entertain people through television, video games and films.
Which are the companies you have worked for?
I’m currently the Executive Producer for the games team here in Lucasfilm Animation Singapore. As head of the team, I oversee all game projects and work with all the various teams to ensure that the projects are on time, on budget, and are as fun and entertaining as we can make them. I also work with the other managers in helping the studio grow. The gaming industry is also a growing market here in Singapore, and we want to promote the industry, and the studio as well.
Prior to relocating to Singapore, I was with Electronic Arts Canada, Rainmaker Entertainment (formerly Mainframe), Propaganda Games and Human Nature studio. With Electronic Arts Canada, I was a QA tester, became Assistant Lead and then Lead. I joined Rainmaker after as Assistant Producer for Television, then Associate Producer to Producer and then Creative Producer. This was followed by Propaganda Games, where I was a Development Producer and then Franchise Producer.
How do you nurture talent at your studio?
Here in the studio, we want to help people grow so we find out what people are passionate about and ensure that they are a perfect fit to their roles.
Singapore is a newcomer in this space…
Singapore’s gaming industry may be young, but it is growing at a fast rate. The local schools are supporting the industry as well by offering digital media courses – games programming, animation, etc. We’re also helping develop the talent through training called the Jedi Masters Program.
What do you think about the local talent in Asia?
Majority of the talents are from Asia, but we do have people from all over the globe. One of the in-house jokes here in the studio is that we work at United Nations, given the number of nationalities we have here. I think we’ve got about 40 now – aside from the Asians, we’ve got people from Canada, US, UK, Germany, Switzerland, France, etc.