Rodrigo Barros

A Brazilian inside the world of games.

By Thais DNT

Have you ever thought about developing video games professionally? Well, it’s possible! That is exactly what the Brazilian Rodrigo Barros, age 32, does for a living.

Rodrigo has been living in Montreal, Canada for six years and he works for one of the largest gaming companies in the world: Ubisoft. His resume includes games such as Prince of Persia – Forgotten Sands, Assassin’s Creed – Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed 3.

His job is to implement rules and game features, which are defined by the Game Design team. His actual job title is “Gameplay Programmer.”

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Rodrigo was born in João Pessoa and moved to Recife while doing his Masters programme. During his studies in I.T., he began thinking about working with video games. “Like many people of my generation, games have been part of my life since childhood. My interest in games was one of the reasons that made me opt for training in I.T.”, he says.

Rodrigo Barros

During his Masters programme at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), Rodrigo studied under one of the pioneer academics in game design in Brazil, Professor Geber Ramalho. The possibility of working with games became even more of a reality after his Masters, when he got his first job at a mobile gaming company called Meantime.

The decision to move to Canada came while he was still an undergraduate student at the Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB). Rodrigo had the opportunity to go on an exchange for two semesters at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. “I returned to Brazil with the idea of some day trying to get back here. While I was working, I became informed about the immigration process here. And I decided to invest in this idea,” he explains.

In 2007, Rodrigo arrived in Montreal as an immigrant. He chose Montreal because his dream was to one day work at Ubisoft, a company that produced one of his favourite games: Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Not to mention the fact that the city is considered a leader in the video gaming industry in North America.

Like any adaptation, Rodrigo had his good and bad moments. “First, as any immigrant can confirm, leaving your country permanently is always a little tricky. Leaving your family, friends and life behind is not easy. Second, there was the language barrier. I had a good level of English when I learned of the immigration process, however, I had never studied French”, says the Games Programmer.

Prior to Ubisoft, Rodrigo worked at Electronic Arts Mobile (EA), where he added games like Tetris, FIFA, Bejeweled and The Sims to his portfolio. “I think the coolest part of this industry is knowing that your work is recognized and appreciated by so many people. It is very rewarding to watch people’s reactions while they are playing a game you helped create, “said Rodrigo.

Though the work environment is fun, dynamic and interesting, Rodrigo explains that there are moments of pressure, as in any profession. “It is true that sometimes we go through slightly stressful phases, especially near the end of a production, but that’s part of the ‘game’.”

Even though he spends all day working with games, he still plays during his free time. “I really like playing in my spare time, because, contrary to what many people think, working with games does not mean you spend the day playing. On the contrary: you spend the day working. “