Meet the team of Cardboard Utopia, a merry mélange of AAA veterans and passionate indie devs!
Welcome to Cardboard Utopia!
Cardboard Utopia was born in 2014 in Montreal, the game development capital of Canada. Counting several veterans of the AAA game industry in its ranks, the studio strives to produce memorable, high quality games.
Putting the skills of our experienced designers and programmers to good use, we aim at creating engaging experiences through technical game design that translates into deep mechanics for the players to obsess over. We also founded Cardboard Utopia on the belief that the best, most cherished games are the ones that generate thoughts & emotions. To do so, we want to exploit the storytelling power of the video game medium and craft original, rich stories with diverse characters which will resonate with a wide range of players.
Children of Zodiarcs is Cardboard Utopia’s first project.
Cardboard Utopia’s team is made of passionate, talented and experienced developers, many of which have known the AAA blockbuster trenches. We've worked on games such as the Assassin's Creed franchise (Brotherhood, Recollections), Far Cry 3, and Rainbow6 Patriots.
Founder & Creative Director
Jason has been working in the games industry since 2004, were he has been a level designer, a game designer, a lead level designer and a game design team lead and worked on console and AAA projects such as Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, and the Rainbow6 franchise. Two of his proudest career achievements are placing Scooby-snack pick-ups in Scooby-Doo: Unmasked, and writing a silly placeholder line that ended up being recorded by Elijah Wood in the Happy Feet game.
In 2014, ready for new challenges and aching to work on his very own projects, Jason recruited a team of talented devs and founded Cardboard Utopia. On Children of Zodiarcs, Jason maintains the direction of the project, making sure everything stays true to the game’s vision.
Denis has worked in independent and publisher's studios since the CD-Rom replaced floppy disks. He loves to program and drive technical teams. On Children of Zodiarcs, Denis is in charge of everything technical: from coding gameplay to managing the tools that allow the designers and artists to do their jobs.
Lead Game Designer
Samuel is a former Lead Game Designer at Ubisoft Montreal, where he worked on games such as Assassin’s Creed Recollection. After accumulating 8 years of experience in console, mobile, and PC games in the AAA space, he started working in indie studios in 2015 and has not looked back since! Devoted to the long-time success of his team, Samuel not only brings his passion for game design to Cardboard Utopia, but has also been involved in supporting the growth of the studio itself since the moment he joined it.
When it comes to development, Samuel thrives on finding the best ways to keep you glued to your controller. From system design to card balancing to level design, he is in charge of it all.
Art Director & UI Designer
Erica is an illustrator and UI designer who spends way too much time thinking about street fashion, Dynasty Warriors, and train stations. She's been drawing and playing games since she was a wee child, somehow finding a way to make a living out of it since! Her artwork has been featured by Kill Screen, Giant Bomb, Playstation, and Pixalry.
Erica has been working in the indie game space for years, cutting her professional teeth on The Order of Souls, as well as helping out on 100ft Robot Golf and Cibele. Now, Erica oversees the artistic vision and makes sure everything is visually coherent within Children of Zodiarcs.
Lead 3D Artist
Michael has been working in games since the bygone days of the Game Boy Advance. He also worked for the
evil Shinra Corporation Technologies right before joining Cardboard Utopia (Gulp.). As the in-residence well-rounded wizard of everything 3D, Michael brings Children of Zodiarcs’ characters and environments to life with his modeling, texturing and rigging magic.
Damian has been a part of the games industry since 1998, as an Artist, Game Designer and Scriptwriter. He made his game dev debut on the cult-classic Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem with Silicon Knights, then moved on to Rockstar Games where he helped shape The Warriors and Bully: Scholarship Edition among other titles. Heeding the call of poutine and smoked meat, he moved on to Ubisoft Montreal where he had the opportunity to work on Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 and the Far Cry franchise.
Damian enjoys storytelling in all media-forms, long walks on the beach and referring to himself in the third person.
Camille is an all-purpose developer who is always looking out for his dear colleagues'
whiplashes needs. After collaborating on magically weird indie games such as Luxuria Superbia in his native Europe, Camille crossed the pond on a raft and got stranded in medical R&D for a few years. Despite developing a boundless love for radiotherapy and oncology, Camille was longing to reunite with his weirdo game creating peers. Always captivated by strange and wonderfully unusual projects, he found Children of Zodiarcs, and thought it wasn't half bad at all. So he started working on it. Then Jason found him, and hired him, since he wouldn't leave otherwise. Yes. That's totally how everything happened.
Despite being the youngest member of the team, Axel is nonetheless one of the studio’s oldest collaborators! He has been an intern with Cardboard Utopia since 2014, helping with game design research and data implementation. Axel’s enthusiasm for the project and for game design in general is infectious and a source of constant encouragement. It’s no surprise that after graduating from Isart Digital Montreal in summer of 2016, he got his first official game developer job at Cardboard Utopia!
Business, Operations & Communications
If you have ever visited us at an event, chances are you saw Andrée. In charge of "all-that-is-not-development" (much easier to say than explain all what she does), she is nonetheless passionate about the games we make and will get you psyched to play before you even touch the controller.
Andrée has many past professional lives that made her the expert information-gatherer and problem-solver she is today. Still a part-time master's student (because let's face it, she's a hopeless school addict) who *happens* to be researching indie devs, she also uses her job as a cover to study her colleagues. But shhhh, don't tell them.
Partners & Contributors
As a small studio, Cardboard Utopia has to deal with the challenge of making great games with limited ressources.
Fortunately we are lucky enough to be able to rely on the support of great partners and contributors:
Square Enix Collective*
Our adventure with Square Enix Collective started in September 2014, when we pitched Children of Zodiarcs (back then "War of Zodiarcs") on the Collective's curated feedback platform where we received 93% positive feedback from the voters. A year later, we lead a Kickstarter campaign, again with the support of Square Enix Collective. This campaign again exceeded our expectations, allowing us to collect five times our initial target.
Recently, we brought our long-standing relationship with the Collective one step further, by signing a publishing agreement for Children of Zodiarcs. Considering that this is a game crafted with love and care to recapture the spirit of the tactical RPGs of our youth, the same kind of games Square Enix has been publishing for decades, we believe we could not have found a more fitting partner to help us bring Children of Zodiarcs to market!
SQUARE ENIX, the SQUARE ENIX logo, SQUARE ENIX COLLECTIVE and the SQUARE ENIX COLLECTIVE logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Square Enix Holdings Co. Ltd
Execution Labs is a "hands-on early stage investor in game studios". Back in 2015, Execution Labs recruited Cardboard Utopia in a 3 months incubator and provided the studio with its first professional investment capital. Execution Labs helped us grow as a company, providing us with coaching and sharing their strong expertise in various business-related areas.
Vibe Avenue is a music & audio production studio comprised of amazingly talented and passionate folks, located right here in Montreal. Vibe spotted Children of Zodiarcs on its very first public showing, the 2015 Montreal DemoNight, and immediately saw the potential to create epic musical pieces and a rich audio environment, true to the tradition of tactical and eastern-style RPGs. Shortly after, Cardboard Utopia officially hired Vibe to take care of everything that will enter your ears while playing Children of Zodiarcs. You can have a taste of their fantastic creations right here.
Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) is an organism which uses the financial contributions it receives from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors, to "[foster, promote, develop and finance] the production of Canadian content and relevant applications for all audiovisual media platforms".
The generous contribution of the CMF has been critical to make the production of Children of Zodiarcs a reality.
Fondation Montréal Inc.
Fondation Montréal inc. is an organization that supports Montreal's startups and young entrepreneurs through grants, support services and networking.
Cardboard Utopia became a Fondation Montréal Inc. laureate in 2016.