In the midst of helping her parents move, Melissa MacCoubrey was surprised by an old find: “We found old, very embarrassing diaries and fell on one from when I was eleven and it was written ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ and it says, even as young as eleven years old, that I wanted to work in video games.” Today, MacCoubrey is living her childhood dream creating overarching stories and narratives as a Narrative Director at Ubisoft Quebec for games such as the newest Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
As creative and exciting as MacCoubrey’s profession can be, especially attending motion capture shoots, it’s not necessarily always about fun and games (pun intended). The highlight of MacCoubrey’s career so far has been pushing and helping her team make AAA games (which is the video game equivalent of a movie blockbuster) more inclusive. For the first time in Assassin’s Creed history, players can choose to play as a female character for the entirety of the game. “I always pushed really hard for it and helped my team get to a point where we could be making decisions like this,” explains MacCoubrey, “I think that’s the proudest moment of my career so far.”
It was during her time at Bishop’s that MacCoubrey landed a position with Ubisoft Montreal as a scriptwriting intern. Having studied English and Drama, as well as being heavily involved in the arts, she believes that, “it was the combination of life skills and school skills that really helped me get to where I need to be.” Her advice for students looking to break into the gaming industry? “I know people hate being told to be themselves,” she laughs, “but honestly, that’s what gets you in. We can teach you the structure, as long as you have the ideas and the passion. That will be recognized.”