Montreal

Laid off? Make a video game. It worked for one Montrealer

Taking two years out of your life to design a video game might seem like an unorthodox solution to finding oneself unemployed, but it’s one that’s working for one Montrealer.

Getting laid off was just the motivation Nicolas Témèse needed to realize his dream of making a game

Self taught in 3D animation, Nicolas Témèse made a video game almost entirely on his own. And it's getting noticed. (Courtesy Nicolas Témèse / Colorspace Studio)

Taking two years out of your life to design a video game might seem like an unorthodox solution to finding oneself unemployed, but it's one that's working for one Montrealer.

When 34-year-old Nicolas Témèse was laid off from his 3D animation job two years ago, he took his savings, borrowed from his loved ones and sold many of his possessions, so he could work on designing his first video game out of his Plateau Mont-Royal apartment.

He told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that his creation, a puzzle game called In The Shadows, has been getting positive attention at gaming conventions in the U.S.

That attention led Témèse to sign contracts for the game to be available on PlayStation and Xbox when it's finished next year.

Nicolas Témèse's game In the Shadows is inspired by retro 8-bit games. (Courtesy Nicolas Témèse / Colorspace Studio)

Témèse never formally learned computer programming. Like many professionals, he is self-taught and he developed the game almost entirely on his own.

He could not do it any other way, he said.

"I'm independent by nature, it's part of the reason I'm self-taught," Témère said. "That's why I studied 3D [animation]. You can get the skills to make a game alone, you don't need anybody to do it."

The game is inspired by retro games like Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. 2, and involves players guiding a character through a sometimes-cute, sometimes-creepy dream world.

"It's a puzzle platformer with shadow creatures that crawl in the night, and you can use lights to transform them," Témèse explained.

He plans to finish the game by the end of the year, but it will be a big financial strain.

"I put so much time on it at this point and I don't want to put it aside and have to work," he said. "I chose to be broke in a way."

And that commitment to doing something he loves will be reflected in the game, he assures.

"People want to do things but don't because of fears. [The game] is like a call to follow your dreams and to live."

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