Located in the coastal city of Da Nang, Ubisoft’s first studio in Vietnam has now hit the ground running with teams dedicated to creating original games for mobile and social-media platforms. We recently spoke with Studio Manager Aurelien Palasse to learn more about the studio, their teams, and how they adapted to opening during a global pandemic.
What can you tell us about Ubisoft Da Nang and its future projects?
Aurelien Palasse: We are a mobile studio, and our teams will focus on creating original mobile games and instant games using HTML 5. Once in full capacity, we will have around 100 talents working on three unannounced projects at the same time.
We’re located in the wonderful city of Da Nang, Vietnam, a hotbed for tech and culture, and one of the best cities to live in Asia known for its beaches, smiling people and great weather. We’ve opened with 32 team members on board. We’re actively ramping up to reach our full production capacity in the coming year. While the majority of our employees are Vietnamese, we are already a multi-national studio with teams representing eight countries.
Can you talk more about the experience of opening a new studio from scratch?
AP: Setting up the studio has taken us a lot of energy, and it's a rewarding achievement to see our first employees enjoying their working environment. I feel like we just passed the tutorial, and that the "real mission" is about to start; now we have to deliver games!
There is a lot of positive energy and excitement, everyone on the team knows they are setting the foundations for the future. Seeing their energy, joy, and eagerness to make great games makes coming to work really rewarding.
Throughout this adventure, we have worked with tons of teams across Ubisoft, from the Ubisoft Mobile headquarters in Paris to the other studios, especially Ubisoft Shanghai since I spent almost 10 years there. We’ve faced a lot of obstacles along the way, but you can achieve a lot when you’re surrounded by great people.
Speaking of obstacles, this is a challenging time in which to open a new studio. Can you tell us more about how you’ve adapted?
AP: Opening up a new studio is full of surprises. It’s a fine balance of planning and acceptance – every time we cross an item off our to-do list, another unknown emerges. We of course had to adapt to one of the biggest surprises of them all, COVID-19, and rethink our plans to ensure we are keeping our teams safe and healthy. I never thought we’d open the office with everyone doing temperature checks, carrying around hand sanitizer, wearing masks when necessary, and sitting two meters apart.
The crisis created other challenges, too. We adapted our building-renovation schedule and managed delays in the delivery of teams’ workstations due to factories in China shutting down. We had to rethink our onboarding strategy, and find a way to welcome new team members from abroad who could not join us due to travel restrictions. We also changed the way we recruit and build relationships with future talent. For example, we are planning to recruit students from Vietnam’s top universities; however, as many of these schools are temporarily closed, we’re rethinking how we reach out to these bright minds.
As you look toward the future, what kind of team are you looking to build?
AP: I can definitely say that we are looking forward to recruiting more of the best creative and engineering talent from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and elsewhere around the globe. Our goal is to create a dynamic environment in which our teams thrive personally and professionally. We want Ubisoft Da Nang to be a studio where talented young developers get their start and more seasoned professionals take the next big step in their careers. We’ll continue to grow our expertise, bringing on full stack developers, lead designers, server architects, and more. To ensure quality, our studio managers have put rigorous standards in place, and we of course make sure that candidates fit with the culture that makes Ubisoft so special. The Ubisoft name has also really helped us to attract developers in Vietnam, and I’m confident we will continue to build a world-class team. We invite everyone that would like to be a part of this adventure and create the unknown with us to apply now here.
For more news from inside Ubisoft, check out our previous coverage.