The Atlas star system is 430.5 light years away from the City of Kawartha Lakes, but its defense begins on Tuesday, October 16 with a game that has roots in the Kawartha Lakes like few before it. Starlink: Battle for Atlas will be released on October 16 by Ubisoft, one of the biggest video game companies in the world, famous for the likes of the Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, and Tom Clancy series, to name a few. Starlink is a “toys to life” game (Skylanders being the most famous example of this), in which users will build ships out of real toys and bring them into the game. The game is the brainchild of producer and Lindsay ex-pat, Matthew Rose.
Rose grew up in the 1980s and 1990s in Lindsay. His father taught GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at Fleming College and as a result, Matt grew up with computers at home. The moment he knew he wanted to make video games was when his father, who was teaching himself programming created a clone of the game ‘Pong.’
Matthew credits enrichment programs at Lindsay schools as the biggest influence on his development. “They taught the most incredibly creative classes and even though I was only able to go for about three weeks a year, they absolutely shaped my elementary school education.”
He describes the classes a ‘bit like going to Hogwarts.’ Noting that traditional rules for school were removed in favour of play-based learning with few limits.
“We discussed and debated topics as you would in university classes, but with a group of Grade 3 to Grade 6 students. Above anything else, we learned creative thinking, problem solving, negotiation, logic and brainstorming, all subjects that are sorely lacking in the standard education system, and which form the foundation for my professional skill set today.”
Matthew’s family moved to Qatar when he was in high school and upon return to Canada he took work with Electronic Arts (FIFA, Need for Speed, Tiger Woods), Koolhaus Games (Madden), Relic Games (Space Marine, Company of Heroes) and finally went to Ubisoft.
In 2017 Matthew got a chance to do something only the superstars in the games industry get to do. He was able to introduce his brand new product on stage at the biggest video game conference in the world, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Matthew stood in front of the world and introduced Starlink: Battle for Atlas. You can see the press conference at this link.
The game aims to allow unlimited creativity for people playing it. Players will build custom starships and explore the Atlas star system. The game is compared to the famous Nintendo series, Starfox, and at E3 in 2018 Nintendo developer Shigeru Miyamoto came on stage to welcome Fox McLeod to the Nintendo Switch version of the game.
Starlink: Battle For Atlas has a massive team that put it together and Matthew isn’t the only Lindsay alumni working on it. While working on this piece Matt found out that two other team members were from Kawartha Lakes — John Lethbridge (senior level designer) and Jaclyn Smith (project coordinator) who also hail from the area.
While players may be travelling far and wide when they explore the Atlas starsystem soon, the journey began right here in Lindsay.