Friday, November 21, 2014

Legendaries Mode, Round 1 - Rima Brek, Head of Technology for Ubisoft Toronto
In this first entry of Legendaries Mode, Tiger and Rabbit take the time to highlight a person who they believe positively impacted the video game community, Rima Brek of Ubisoft Toronto.


Rabbit: I think we make a really good team.

Tiger: *nods* Yes… and where is this going?

Rabbit: I think we should combine our love of video games and spotlight people in the industry who were influential to us.

Tiger: We have influences?

Rabbit: You know what I mean! There have been a lot of people around the industry from developers to writers and even some professional gamers that have really inspired us directly or created games that inspired us. I thought it would be nice to have a segment where we aren’t pitted against each other and can really discuss a topic we both agree on.

Tiger: That’s a really great idea, good thinking.

Rabbit: Well, I didn’t come up with it on my own but I do think it’s a good idea. So I’d love to focus on one person, talk a little about his or her background, and why that person inspires us.

Tiger: I’m with you but first… *hands papers to Rabbit* you need to read these.

Rabbit: ^reads papers^ Okay… ^continues reading^ This is an APA manual! You want me to follow this?!

Tiger: If we’re going to be using source material, we should credit them properly. APA is the best way to document citations in a paper.

Rabbit: This isn’t a college course! How about we just link our audience to the article we use and state were we got it from? Is that good enough for you?

Tiger: *crosses arms* Fine but if we get a bad grade for this or hit with plagiarism charges, I’m totally blaming you.

Rabbit: ^pssht^ No sweat, I’ve got this covered. I did have a tough time picking our first “Legendary” to talk about-

Tiger: It’s totally Amy Hennig. Without a doubt.

Rabbit: While I do love her I actually chose someone else.

Tiger: *shocked face* What? No way, no way!

Rabbit: Yes way. I figured our audience would already know who Amy Hennig and what she’s done for the video game industry so I wanted to pick someone who might not have the same kind of coverage. I picked Rima Brek, Head of Technology at Ubisoft Toronto.

Tiger: Wow, that’s a great first pick. If I recall, I first saw her name come up on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow as Lead Programmer. Rima Brek was also included in Edge’s “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” list from 2006. Edge touted her as “one of the very few female AI programmers in the industry” and credited her with the creation of a game engine that was used in the development of numerous Ubisoft titles. Edge also referred to her as a key member of the Rainbow Six Franchise, one of my favorite series to date!

Rabbit: Brek has also worked on a lot of other games over her 16+ year career with Ubisoft. She graduated from McGill University with a B.Eng in Electrical Engineering in 1997. After some time at another company, Brek joined Ubisoft in 1998 as a Software Developer and stayed in that position until 2004. During that time she is credited with working on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield among other games.

Tiger: From there, Rima Brek was promoted to Software Project Lead at Ubisoft Montreal in 2004 and remained in that position until 2007. This is where she became the Lead Programmer for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow and Open Season.

Rabbit: After her time at Ubisoft Montreal, she became the Development Director of Programming for roughly a year and then moved on to being the Software Lead of Middleware for the Technology Group from 2008 to 2010. Brek is credited as the Middleware Engineering Lead on games such as Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.
Tiger: In 2010, she became one of the founding members of Ubisoft Toronto and the Head of Technology. Brek was the Engine & Features Producer for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the studio’s first title. At Ubisoft Toronto, Brek leads all the technology development and manages the software, middleware, engine, AI, and programming teams.

Rabbit: Since the release of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Ubisoft Toronto has been working with Ubisoft Montreal on Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4. Jade Raymond, the studio’s director, told GameSpot in March of 2014 that they were also working on two new IPs which I’m sure Rima Brek is involved with.

Tiger: One of the things that really stands out to me about her career is that she has spent all this time with one company. I think it’s great that she’s been able to stay with Ubisoft, doing what she loves. Starting out as a junior programmer and moving all the way up to the head of technology is a great feat.

Rabbit: Well it also helps that she’s doing it with someone she loves, since she’s married to another big name at Ubisoft.

Tiger: That is true. *laughs*

Rabbit: I think it’s amazing that she also works in a field that is usually dominated by men. A lot of the women on Edge’s list were from the marketing or public relations side of the video game industry but Brek is actually making the tools that’s necessary to create video games.

Tiger: There’s a great quote from Brek in the Edge article that I’d like to put here. She says that, “after over eight years in the game industry, including long stretches of overtime, achieving a healthy balance between work and life has become very important to me. As a Software Project Lead, I consider it my responsibility to take the proper measures and make the appropriate decisions to minimize the need for crunch time while still delivering a high quality game.”

Rabbit: Thank you for reading our latest installment for TvR! I hope you enjoyed Legendaries Mode and will look forward to the other video game industry greats that we plan on covering-

Tiger: Like Amy Hennig!

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