Another annual event. Another changed event. Unlike others which might suffer from the being translated into an online or virtual event, Megamigs did it seamlessly. Makes sense as Megamigs is a gaming festival. It exists for several reasons: to allow gamers to see what is upcoming gamewise, to allow those interested in careers in the field to meet up with companies who are hiring and the opportunity for independent companies to introduce themselves to people who play and buy video games.
The two day festival happened on the 12th and 13th of November on the online platform PINE. Like the live version there were several different components to the festival – a Virtual Expo, Chile Pavillion, Italy Pavillion, and the Czech Republic Pavillion. Each giving attendees the chance to look into different parts of the video gaming world.
I decided to focus on the Virtual Expo, MM Stages, Attendees, Games, Speakers, and Play during my time on the platform and was not disappointed. There was a ton to explore, try out, watch, listen to, and learn about there. I will take you through a sampling of what I partook in.
First, I went into the Virtual Expo to discover the many companies and even a school or two who were there. Here are a few I checked out:
- Square Enix is a Montreal company which was founded in 2011. They develop games based on both existing ones as well as original ideas. Square Enix has produced such games as Hitman Sniper, Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, and Deux Ex GO. These and other games have been downloaded over 130 million times in 175 countries. Several of their games were available to investigate, even try out on the Square Enix site.
- The well-known Ubisoft (Canadian Studios) is a company which strives to create new worlds and is dedicated to making the gaming experience all it can be for players striving to make their games original and memorable. In their members section those looking for jobs with the company were given the opportunity to meet up with recruiters and other key people. There were also links to games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6 for XBox, Roller Champions, and Immortals Fenyx Rising.
- Motive (EA) is a subsidiary of the big player Electronic Arts (EA) and is an intimate studio made up of game creators. The motto of the company is to be always working on creating new games and allowing their employees to carve out their own career paths. The result is brilliant developers who came up with Star Wars: Squadrons which was launched recently in October 2020.
- Known around the globe for its emphasis on an artistic approach, Pure Arts uses sculpture designs to bring amazing stories to players. The result is that they produce all types and levels of games from indie right on up to those based on blockbuster movies. As such, they have earned a number of global industry awards.
- A division of Warner Bros, WB Games Montreal was founded in 2010 and boasts over 300 creative team members. What they develop is available across all platforms. They are behind such games as Gotham Knights and Batman: Arkham Origins.
- It wasn’t just video game companies here as other types like College Bois de Bologne as well as the Canada Media Fund, a government based fund which finds independent game designers and gives them money to make their games and helps them promote it.
Next up was the Games section. There you could check out what games were on the cusp of being released, which ones had been recently and how much they cost. Being part of Megamigs also offered some bargains to attendees who were interested in purchasing games. Games like Sushi: Ballad of the Oracle (available soon), where you fight and solve puzzles in an adventure role-playing game, Strategic Mind: Blitzkrieg ($49.99), Hitman: Definitive Edition (-80%, $1.59), Save Your Nuts ($16.99), Goat of Duty (-40%, $8.39), and Life is Strange 2 (BAFTA winner with Episode 1 being offered free of charge).
In the Play section it was possible to play exhibitor’s games for free thanks to Parsec (just had to download it). Allowing you to play from the comfort of your home.
In the Attendees section you found a list of all the companies, etc. who were in attendance. There were pages and pages demonstrating the pull/importance of Megamigs. Some of the companies there were 2 Dogs Games Ltd, 34BigThings, Accelbyte Inc, Altagram Group – Game Localization, Another Reality VR/XR gaming company based in Milan, Apocalypse Studios Inc, Armor Games, Bohemia Interactive, and Beyond Fun Studio.
A big treat for those working or hoping to work in the industry was found in the Speaker section. Here you could watch the talks of people already working in the industry. Hearing it right from the horse’s mouth is impactful. A few examples of those who spoke were: Alexandre Thabet – President at Ludia, Alma Talbot – Associate Manager at EA, Carl Thibeault – Technical Artist at Stadia Games and Entertainment, and Catalina Briceno – visiting professor at Ecole des Médias de L’UQAM.
Finally, in the Stages section talks and panels were held about important topics and issues within the gaming world. A few examples include:
- The Right Business Model For Your Game with Charles-Antoine Richard – Monetization Director at Ubisoft Quebec
- Indie Series: Panel – Hope in the Time of Dystopia. How games can be part of the compassion and hope during a difficult time with Damian Summer – Game Designer at Gloam Collective and Tanya Kim – Executive Producer and Director at Vivid Foundry Corp.
- Cross Platform Games: The Production Challenge with Carl-Edwin Michel – Founder/CEO at Northern Arena, Manea Castet – Lead Producer at Gameloft, Stefan Beauchamp=Daniel – Producer on Dead by Deadlight at Behavior, and Gabriel Huot – Video Game Programmer at ILLOGIKA Studies.