Directed by Jean-Simon Chartier
The game just got real. In one of the world’s biggest video game studios, a constantly growing team works on the creation of “For Honor”, a blockbuster game where Vikings, knights, and samurai fight on an epic battlefield where only one will survive.
The game is the dream of Creative Director Jason Vandenberghe, who after more than 10 years has his ultimate passion project greenlit inside the highly-competitive Ubisoft Studios. Backed by Producer Stéphane Cardin, whose last project was pulled, they both seek professional redemption by creating and launching a game that needs to sell several millions of copies in its first months on the market. Joining them in this formidable quest is Luc Duchesne, whose responsibility as marketing director is to create an original and unique brand from scratch. But surviving the human drama and tremendous pressure involved in creating a blockbuster video game is more than any of them could have imagined.
Each year, the number of studios able to produce AAA games diminishes. At Ubisoft Montreal, the 2,700 employees work on 15 different projects simultaneously. It is an ant colony of designers, developers, and managers, and a fierce competition exists between them. Many of these projects will never be produced and are killed before they can see the light of the day. But for Jason, “For Honor” is more than another game, it’s an expression of his personal philosophy with origins in his childhood being bullied by other kids. Video games to him are the ultimate way to channel anger and aggression into creativity.
Four years in the making, Jason risks professional relationships to protect the integrity of his creative vision, while his team endure personal crises due to the enormous demands of convincing their superiors in Montreal, the head office in Paris, and the marketing department in San Francisco that the money they put into “For Honor” is a profitable investment.
From Montreal to Los Angeles, through Moscow to Tokyo, PLAYING HARD offers unprecedented access to a highly secret world where a few game designers are shaping an entertainment industry that has now become the biggest in the world. If the game is the engine of the film, the characters and their own personal quests are the heart, making it an intense and emotional and intimate exploration of what happens when the game gets real. Directed by Jean-Simon Chartier.