Anyone unfamiliar with video games could be forgiven for mistaking them as a geeky hobby for kids, but establishments such as the Créajeux school in Nîmes in southern France are committed to dispelling that myth. Open since 2004, its mission is to bring the industry’s growing appeal, both in France and abroad, to its 300 post-Baccalaureate students.
TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON | PHOTOS: CRÉAJEUX SCHOOL
“Our mission is to ensure people know this is a real career option, and that video games are not just a hobby,” explains Lucie Christen, communications manager at Créajeux. Indeed, the industry is expected to be worth 300 billion dollars worldwide by 2025, and game creators today must call on a wide variety of skills from characterisation to coding.
As a result, Créajeux’s two main long-term courses focus on all major aspects of programming, art, and graphics, and there are 14 classrooms across 1,350 square metres, ensuring that students have access to the latest technology. “We teach a wide curriculum and stay aware of the different development studios, with whom we have had links since the beginning. Students learn everything and specialise later,” says Christen.
The school also helps with job placements, and alumni have become everything from programmers to character designers to artistic directors, at international industry leaders such as Splash Damage, Rockstar Games, and Ubisoft. “We don’t leave them to fend for themselves,” says Christen. “We have an ‘incubator’ at the school that allows them to launch their own projects, and we make sure they have a real job at the end.”
This commitment starts early: the school also offers a week-long introductory summer camp for 14- to 18-year-olds. “We have real family values. Our students are our priority,” says Christen. “Our objective is not just to get them through school. It’s also to give them the tools they need to discover their passion and make it their career.”
Créajeux enrollment opens in December 2019 for courses starting in 2020. Créajeux is also running open days for potential students (and their parents), on 14 December 2019, and 25 January, 26 February, and 18 March 2020.