Interview with FP and Youngest Ubisoft Director, Liam Wong

Posted on 16th Feb 2022 in ESMS, Community, Stewart's Melville College, Former Pupil

Former Stewart's Melville College pupil, Liam Wong (2005), became the youngest director at Ubisoft, one of the largest video game companies in the world, within just two years of graduating from university. During his time at Ubisoft, Liam was involved in the design of game series’ such as Far Cry, which is reported to have sold over 20 million copies. Whilst working in the gaming industry, Liam also taught himself photography as a hobby. This hobby quickly turned into a career and he has now had his work featured by the likes of the BBC, VICE and Business Insider. Due to his incredible accomplishments, he was deservedly named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

We were absolutely delighted that Liam was able to find the time in his busy schedule to speak with us about his incredible career achievements to date, as well the advice he would give to current pupils at ESMS, who would like to follow a similar career path.

What first got you interested in Game Design?

I was always playing games when I was younger. I took an interest in creating custom content for games like The Sims, making skins and then working on artwork for games whilst I was at school.

What led you to create your first ever Game, Colour Coded, while still in university?

I never knew I wanted to pursue a career in the games industry until I made this game. There was a competition run by my university - winners of the competition would be nominated for a BAFTA. I formed a team and we participated in it. Five of us made a game in ten weeks and it was a great experience to learn how game development worked even on a small scale. 

Do you have a favourite project you have worked on and why was it your favourite?

I was Art Director on the Far Cry series. I was able to travel to interesting countries for research. Another favourite is the game I'm working on currently, which is still unannounced. I work with a Japanese team and we're working on something fun with a really cool art style. 

What do you believe are the most crucial soft skills to succeed in game design?

Problem-solving would be high up on the list, alongside teamwork skills.

What is your fondest memory of your time at SMC?

Art class. I had a teacher called Mr Nasmyth who was really supportive, even when I was struggling in other areas. I loved being in Art class, with music on and just creating things surrounded by my friends.

How did your time at SMC help you to get to where you are today?

School gave me a lot of structure which I wouldn't have had otherwise. I also have particularly fond memories of playing rugby a few times a week and it taught me a lot about teamwork.  

What do you like to do to switch off?

My main hobby is photography - although it has become a bit of a career in itself - I have released a couple of books. I also like just watching movies to get inspired.

Are there any books or podcasts you would recommend to any young people?

BAFTA Guru - there's a segment on the BAFTA website which has little videos and podcasts for young budding game developers. They also have a BAFTA Young Game Designers competition, which is a great initiative:

You were very young when you started at Ubisoft. What advice would you give to pupils who would love to excel in a similar career path?

I became an art director at Ubisoft at 25 which was very rare and unheard of in the big studios working on the bigger games. I had graduated two years before so I didn't have much work experience but they saw my potential. In my free time after school I would play games as 'research' and in parallel would work on my art. Any free time I had was spent doing a mix of both. To excel beyond that, it was important for me to gain some experience in teams so that I was able to become a better leader. I was always very quiet in school and so I worked a lot over the years on getting better at communication and presenting my work - both are key skills to have in game development and as a creative. The advice I always give is to surround yourself with talent - this is applicable in any area that you want to work in. When you're surrounded by people who know their areas of work, it makes things so much easier and you're in a better place to learn faster and more efficiently. 


Thank you for your time, Liam. We can’t wait to see what else you go on to achieve!

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