Scoring the winning goal in the Stanley Cup final is probably what I dreamt most of as a kid

Nicolas Cantin

Art Director

Hello Nic,

Tell us a little about yourself.

What was your dream job as a kid?

Professional hockey player. Scoring the winning goal in the Stanley Cup final is probably what I dreamt most of as a kid.

Why the gaming industry? Tell us about the path that brought you here.

I landed in the videogame industry after my studies in fine arts and 3D infographics in Quebec City. It all started in Montreal in 2000 when Microids, a French company, had just opened a new studio. There, I had the chance to work on the first volumes of the action-adventure game Syberia. Then my path brought me to Ubisoft where I worked on the development of the first Assassin’s Creed with a certain Patrice Désilets… Following a stay at Ubisoft Shanghai, I came back to Montreal and joined the team working on the Thief reboot at Eidos Montreal/Square Enix. Finally, destiny went its course and reunited me with Patrice and JF Boivin who wanted to start a new gaming studio suffused with the Montreal DNA, Panache Digital Games.

What is your role at Panache?

Art Director, Level Artist and Photographer… With our small size, everyone plays different parts at the studio.

What is the easiest part of your job and what is your biggest challenge?

Keeping a little creative craziness in my art while still being rigorous to meet the needs of videogame development. But I believe we found the right balance at Panache.

Artistically, can you name 3 people that influenced you?

David Lynch, a major influence from my youth for his dark and original worlds. I was always impressed by his creative liberty and he is still pertinent to this day.

Banksy, I love his work! And the mystery surrounding his identity adds spiciness to the whole thing.
And closer to us, Armand Vaillancourt. To see this man continue to create at a late age, despite terrible finances. To see him as socially engaged as he is makes me want to keep doing what I do and to create, no matter what.

What is it about video games that you like?

Being immersed in another universe is definitely what I like most. Building an entire city as mayor, winning the Stanley Cup just like in my childhood dreams, being a cowboy riding a horse in 1900, being a monkey making decisions that will become human, only video games can give you this.

These days, what game are you playing?

NHL 2018 on PS4, Forge of Empire on iPad and XCOM2 on PC.

Other than video games, what are your interests?

Photography and music. I am often a photographer for rock shows, a great way to mix both.

If you could meet any living or dead personality, who would you choose? Name 2 and tell us why.

I would like to have a beer with Charles Bukowski in an old tavern, just like in his books.
And I’d like to meet Elvis simply because it’s Elvis.

If you had to write your autobiography today, what would its title be?

Fuck it, ship it! A tribute to the dark side of the game industry :)

If you could have a super power, which one would you choose?

Healing. I believe healing is the best gift you could ever give.

And now, loose questions:

Favorite meal ?

Chinese hot-and-sour soup.

Favorite places in Montreal ?

Parc Lafontaine for family fun, the Noodle Factory in Chinatown for the dumplings, the Plateau Mont-Royal back alleys for walks, the St-Laurent Boulevard and Mont-Royal Street when they are closed to cars.

Your wallpaper?

A screenshot of Ancestors by night.

Your favorite time of the week at the office?

The Friday afternoon game review where we sit down, play the game and watch all the games progress.

Your hockey team?

The Quebec City Nordiques…

Who had the most influence on you professionally?

Benoit Sokal, a mentor who I worked with on the Syberia games.

The best tip you were ever given?

“Don’t end up in prison.” – My aunt Louise

​Merci Nic!