Behind the Games: Corina King, Project Creation Coordinator

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There are a great many interesting jobs behind the games you love. And this is particularly true within a company as diverse as Gameloft. True, it can take a particular kind of person to make the most of this fast-paced environment, but it can be a place where people really flourish. Corina King is one such person – and the moment you begin talking to her it’s clear why. Even at 8 am, the 21-year-old Corina is lively, open, and confident. But more than this, she is already exploding with enthusiasm that is infectious.

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Finding a path

Recently, Corina has taken up the position of Project Creation Coordinator in Gameloft’s Montreal Studio. It’s a fascinating and exciting role – which we will return to later – but it is not where she started. “I was never sure what I wanted to do”, she explains. “For example, originally I wanted to be a coroner. So, I went to college. But it didn’t really suit me as a lot of what I was learning felt unnecessary. That’s why I left! Suddenly I wasn’t in school, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I started contemplating what I enjoyed, my passions.”

Gaming had always been a part of Corina's life. “Dad wasn’t an amazing babysitter”, she giggles. “He used to sit me on his lap while he played WoW.” But the family gaming didn’t end with her dad. “My older brother used to beat me all the time in Smash Bros. Even now when I try to play it I can feel the anxiety he caused me.” She is still happy playing games though and does regularly. “I grew up playing consoles, and still do. But I play on a budget, so mostly I play older games.” And her tastes are pretty diverse, as she swings between Sci-Fi RPG epics, shooters, and more recent 2D indie games in her list of favorite titles.

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A life of games

This ubiquity of gaming for Corina meant she hadn’t considered it as a career. But now, asking herself what she was passionate about, a light turned on. “I started looking for a school with a Game Design Course, and I found one here in Montreal.”

Corina was driven, working two jobs to put herself through the Game Producer course. But again she started to realize that she didn’t feel the course was meeting her needs. It was too easy and she felt unchallenged in her studies.

Then, at 18 years old, she got a years’ placement at Gameloft Montreal. “I interned here for a year as a Community Coordinator as part of my course. Then, at the end of the year, my manager came and suggested that maybe I would want to stay on full time.” And if you have been paying attention, I am certain that you will appreciate that Corina’s preference for learning-by-doing meant she jumped at the opportunity.

Grabbing her chance

“I thought it would be easier to move forward in the industry from inside rather than continuing to learn and then trying to break in.” Whether this statement is true for everyone or not, Corina was certainly about to make it true for herself through hard work and taking every opportunity open to her.

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Becoming the Community Coordinator for Dungeon Hunter she connected closely with the DH5 community. “It was a great role that required I learn a lot about the game, the community, and the structure of the studio. Interacting with the Dungeon Hunter community was great. But, to solve players’ issues directly, I also got to connect with the game team.”

Within a year Corina’s role was already evolving as some of the Montreal Dungeon Hunter team’s focus shifted to Dungeon Hunter Champions. “I got to work on setting up community tools and protocols for Champions. This was another opportunity to integrate more with the development team and gain a greater understanding of the production process.”

Project Creation Coordinator

Though Corina’s work on Champions was a part of her role as Community Coordinator, it wasn’t long before her drive and enthusiasm opened new doors. This was when she became Project Creation Coordinator.

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This was not a role I was familiar with and not a common one in Gameloft, so I inquired what her day-to-day entails. “It is actually a very new concept. We just launched it in-house, here in the Montreal studio, in January - so I am not surprised you don’t know”, Corina reassured me. “I work with the Prototype Team to create… prototypes… for all upcoming titles. That means I have to meet with teams and team leads to work out what they want - and coordinate getting an early form of that produced. Basically, it is a little bit of everything.”

“One of my favorite bits is working with the Concept Art team”, says Corina, becoming more animated. “Helping with specific art design and direction, coordinating the direction…” her excitement at the thought of this coming together makes me eager to see these projects.

“Then I also have to help with the game direction, and work with the team’s producer, to work out what is possible in the short time frame we have for these pre-production prototypes.”

Growth and production

This pre-production work is a perfect storm for Corina. She likes to be busy, craves information, and needs to be practical. This new role offers exactly this. Plus, doing all of this in a studio the size of Montreal is even more energizing. “It’s a large studio, which is great - there are lots of people and it’s always bustling. It can be a bit tough to socialize at times, but this is only because it’s hard to know everyone across all of the teams.”

“That’s not a problem within my team though, and every one of them is awesome. Incredibly passionate and good at what they do”, Corina continued. “All of them understand where they are in the structure and do their job without any need of encouragement. Everyone is understanding too, so people are always there for any issue - professional or personal.”

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Corina’s rise was fast. And while she was fortunate in some ways she did make her own luck, as is clear when asked to give advice to others looking to break into the industry. “Try, try, try. Get your foot in the door and do not let them close it. Be motivated and enthusiastic, jump at every opportunity to meet people. If possible, go to connected schools. Internships through these schools are a brilliant way to start. And even if your first step into the industry isn't your ideal, push, be passionate, and always ask for more to grow your skills and talents. People want you to work hard and prove yourself.” It is a mantra she lives by, and it is clearly working.

Back to school

Corina has recently been able to go to some school meetups to talk to upcoming talent and let them know about her experiences breaking into the industry. Here she received a lot of questions from women wanting to move into gaming. A lot of these queries centered on if she had experienced any issues because of her gender, and she answered honestly, “No. The studio is certainly predominantly male, but I have never felt any barriers because of this. I’ve never felt any opportunity was closed to me, and there is lots of support if I need it. I also know if I ever did face any problems with it that I have the talent to shut it down.”

Rapping up, it’s hard to deny that Corina’s mix of confidence and talent is going to take her as far as she wants to go. And this is something already clear as her three years in Gameloft have only seen her talents expand. Anything else Corina? “Yup, Can I give a shout out to mum and dad?”