For Toronto Film School’s Rob Elsworthy, video games have always been more than a job – they’ve been a lifelong passion.
“I was a difficult teenager, so I spent a lot time in arcades,” Elsworthy laughed. “It was kind of an escape for me, so I have a long history of playing games. They’ve always been there and I enjoy them quite a bit.”
Since graduating from the Communications Design program at OCAD University, Elsworthy has successfully parlayed that teenage interest in gaming into an enviable career.
During his more than 15 years in the video game industry, Elsworthy has worked as a game designer, cinematic animator, visual FX artist and system designer for Rockstar Games and Silicon Knights. He’s also amassed an impressive list of blockbuster games to his credit – from Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne, to Red Dead Redemption, Manhunt and The Warriors.
“What I love about games is the ability to create new worlds. I find it exciting to work in collaborative environments on creative products – and video games are the fusion of all of those things,” said Elsworthy, who now runs his own company, Resistor Interactive.
“We bring together all kinds of different walks of life – people who are artists, people who are designers, people who are coders, even – and they all get a chance to build a product together.”
In landing his latest role as Director of Toronto Film School’s Video Game Design and Animation Diploma program, Elsworthy said he not only checked off a bucket-list item to teach, but he’s also excited to inspire young gaming enthusiasts down a career path that’s been such a fulfilling one for him, personally.
“The most interesting aspect of our program is it’s such an intensive course that you’re going to learn a whole bunch of things and get your hands on a bunch of things early in the process of it,” he said of the 18-month diploma program, whose first-term courses include everything from Game Modeling, Digital Drawing and Scripting for Games, to Programming Logic, Game Platforms, and an Introduction to the Video Game Industry.
“Hopefully, that way we’ll be able to show you all the different kinds of jobs you can achieve in the games industry and be able to direct you to the right path.”
Whatever avenues his students decide to follow – be it as a concept artist, game designer, game modeler, level designer, or other role – Elsworthy said he’s confident all will find a fun-filled career in gaming one they won’t regret pursuing.
“Video games are all about fantasy and escapism – something I think we could all use a little bit of,” he said. “And they’re a lot of fun.”