I met Aurélie Belzanne through social networks, video game groups.
I want to talk to her today because I know that she wanted to work in the video game industry for a long time and she did it. I think her background can inspire children, teenagers and students who aspire to join the industry.
Marc: Hello Aurélie! Could you please tell us what your current profession is?
Aurélie: Hello Marc, I am director of communication at Asobo Studio,French video game developer based in Bordeaux.
Marc: And is this your first job in the video game?
Aurélie: This is not my first job, I first worked a little more than 5 years in music, at Sony Music, on album releases of French and international singers.
Then I had the chance to join the Ubisoft teams. I joined theAsobo Studio team 10 years ago now.
(Asobo Studio is notably at the origin of the games“A Plague Tale Innocence” and “Microsoft Flight Simulator”, two commercial and critical successes. The studio is currently working on the game “A Plague Tale: Requiem” at the moment.)
Marc: What studies did you do?
Aurélie: I first passed a scientific baccalaureate followed by 2 years preparatory to HEC, it is a very varied preparation that opens up to many professions: it trains in particular in economics / geo history, languages, maths, general culture. I then joined a Higher Business School (or SupDeCo) with a marketing specialization. So I have a bac +5, I think today it is the equivalent of Master, DEA, DESS, engineering degree.
What was your background to working in the video game industry?
Aurélie: At the end of my SupDeCo, I had the chance to do my final internship in the team of a great lady of French music, Virginie Auclair, director of the Columbia international label. This internship as an assistant product manager was very intense and stressful but it gave me the very valuable bases in organization, project management, event management, advertising creation, promotion campaign monitoring, journalist relations etc. I was able to collaborate with incredible artists, such as Francis Cabrel or Jean-Jacques Goldman, Beyoncé, Garou. I was then hired in this same team as Product Manager, then I switched to the Sony Music video team at the time when DVDs were exploding (yes it was in 2001…) In 2003, I wanted to apply to Ubisoft because I had been a player for a very long time and I was passionate about it. I first held a position as Senior Product Manager and then as a Group Manager. In summary, I organized the releases of the games for the French territory, so that the players knew that a game was coming out and buy it. I was able to work on a wide variety of games, Beyond Good and Evil, Prince Of Persia, Splinter Cell, the range of Passion Lea on DS, rabbits morons etc. Today, I coordinate the communication strategy for Asobo:
- internal so that the team is well informed and federated
- external to ensure the notoriety of the studio, in order to better recruit in particular, and its products in collaboration with our publisher partners.
M: What does a typical day as head of communications look like?
A: It is very varied, I define the communication strategy (the objectives, the way of communicating) and I accompany my team which deploys what are called “tactics” that is to say the actions to achieve our communication objectives. Basically, my role is to identify their difficulties and help them overcome them.
I supervise the work of the video team as well, as a video producer. To produce our internal and external videos.
I represent the studio to journalists, French video game associations, schools, and our publisher partners. I participate with their marketing and editorial teams in the development and deployment of the launch strategy for our projects – currently Microsoft Flight Simulator and A Plague Tale. Finally, I intervene at the editorial level on our projects by feeding our production teams references and ideas to enrich our stories and our projects.
What are the points you enjoy most when working in the industry?
Undoubtedly creativity: it is an industry that is bubbling, rich, and alive. Always more inventive and original. That’s my driving force.
What are the negatives when working in the industry?
We would like to see more women there:) Everyone in their place and we work every day to make people want and allow the widest possible diversity of people to come and work in the development studios. It is a long process to motivate young girls in particular to join these professions, but we can see the evolution in recent years.