Women of Ubisoft – Olivia Forni
As a product coordinator at Ubisoft Bordeaux, Olivia Forni is responsible for planning the processes used by mission designers in Ghost Recon Breakpoint. It’s her job to create and check the team’s tasks, assign them to the correct people, and to make sure they’re understood and delivered on time. She also handles communications between different studios working on the same project, to make sure that all the teams are working together toward a common goal.
Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you grow up? What did you study in school? What did you want to be when you grew up? So, like many people, I chose the most basic course of study possible. I was always interested in new technology, and since I was not bad in school, I pursued scientific studies. It seemed like a good choice, and I even began studying robotics at a school of engineering, but I only stayed for three months. The school was far away, the lessons didn’t interest me, and I felt like many people were sexist. It was difficult to bond with my classmates when most of them didn’t want to accept me as a real engineer.
After that, I found a school in Paris’ La Défense district called the Institute of Internet and Multimedia, and earned a master’s degree in multimedia project management with a videogame focus.
You mentioned that engineering school was sexist; do you think you would have stuck with it if your classmates were more accepting?
Have you experienced similar sexism in the games industry?
Quite the contrary, actually. Everyone notices you, talks to you, but from my experience, I think they’re much more aware, and I haven’t had any experiences that were nearly as negative.
How did your career begin, and what led you to Ubisoft?
OF: I began my career with an internship at Cyanide Studio as a project management assistant. The cool thing was that my manager was out on paternity leave, so I was in charge of my first big project, Blood Bowl 2, almost alone. It was a great opportunity to prove what I was able to do, and to see if I liked the job.
Six months after that, three employees of Cyanide decided to go to Bordeaux to open a subsidiary of the studio, and asked me if I wanted to go with them. It was difficult to implement processes, and difficult to be a project manager knowing that I was the only woman and the youngest employee of the subsidiary.
Why did Ubisoft Bordeaux appeal to you?
OF: I’m really a big fan of Ubisoft games.
What does the studio work on?
OF: The studio works mostly on Ghost Recon games, but we also help on Beyond Good and Evil 2 and Just Dance. I was hired to work on Ghost Recon Wildlands and its post-launch content, and then I worked on Ghost Recon Breakpoint.
Jan 26, 2020 at 17:06