Industry Insight: Jade Raymond

Jade Raymond has worked on some prestigious titles within the Games industry over the years, ranging from The Sims and Splinter Cell to Assassin’s Creed. Her role as executive producer on the Assassin’s Creed series is what she is best known for due to the online uproar at the idea that a woman could take a leading role on a development team. I found an article within the latest issue of Edge magazine, 240, in which Raymond talks about her time in the industry and her new role as head of a new Ubisoft studio in Toronto.

“I was having creative input on a bunch of different projects and that was great.”, Raymond states as she goes on to explain that taking up her role as studio manager would rule out several of the benefits of working within the dev team. Her career initially started out as a programmer so she has always had some creative input into the games she has been working on. The step up involves a five-year plan for the Splinter Cell series, which involves a new game under development at her studio plus book publishing and motion pictures. I think this is a key thing to note that even though it is a games company, and the original idea came out of a game, the idea and demand of trans-media in current society demand that other forms of media are accounted for. For me this is the one thing that I always forget about, I always think that they are simply making games but in reality they take on multiple types of media for the franchise.

Another interesting point is that as the company grows, Raymond’s current mix of roles become less sustainable. She states “I don’t really hang out or chill”, she leaves the office at 6, giving her two hours to spend with her daughter, then she works from then until 11 or midnight. I already new that the working hours within the industry weren’t great but in Raymond’s case she doesn’t actually have any other time to do anything. This could be due to a lot of different things, possibly it is due to her job role or maybe as she says it is down to the lack of support staff as the company is still getting up and running. This is something that I should definitely consider and find out more, as it would be useful to match up my current working hours on projects alongside those of the industry.

The article goes on to discuss the idea of staff diversity within games, as Raymond was the target of an explosion of ‘internet bile’ about her role as producer of Assassins Creed. She states that for her it is important to stay in the public eye because it gives other young women inspiration that they will feel comfortable getting a job in the industry. Which in my opinion is correct, Raymond had a great track record within the games industry prior to her role on Assassin’s Creed, and in terms of the game the company has done a great job on it as a series. It does make me wonder why there was such an outrage in the first place. Included in staff diversity is the idea of idea generation and target audiences, Raymond states “I do wonder if you have a completely homogenous team, how are you going to come up with new ideas?”.

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