How I Got My Start - with Ines Lagarto
Lab42 is a studio dedicated to the development of its people, inviting everyone to take hold of their learning journey and grow – it’s also a place where developers can find a supportive and inclusive home, with an anti-crunch policy, in which to take their first, next or further step in the games industry.
Meet Ines Lagarto, Producer at Lab42, who joined the team in 2019 following her time as a student at Gamer Camp.
Gamer Camp, run by Birmingham City University (BCU), is a finishing school for coders, artists and producers at which they gain the skills and experiences needed for a career in the games industry, get practical training from top developers and experience all stages of game development – receiving an MC or MSc from BCU in the process.
“Before joining Gamer Camp, I’d only worked on Indie and Prototype projects as both a designer and a producer” says Ines, “But being a part of Gamer Camp made me realise I’m good with people and that I understood how production processes can be applied to give you data and help to support your team.
“From here, I turned my attention to earning an MA and began looking for studios to work with – that’s when I first met Lab42.
“As a newcomer to the industry, I was incredibly nervous about the stories I’d heard around crunch culture and was worried that I – identifying as a woman – would feel I had to prove my worth to people. It was an exciting but incredibly daunting time, but the second I arrived at Lab42 I was amazed to find that none of the horror stories were coming true and I’d found somewhere that would challenge my skills and reward my talents. The shine of Lab42 has never worn off, I’m now part of a team who are always striving to improve both on projects and how they contribute to studio culture.”
Gamer Camp is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year and was founded to fill the skills gap between graduating from a game development course, and the experience game development studios were looking for in candidates.
So just how did Ines’ time with Gamer Camp prepare her for a role in the games industry?
“Gamer Camp gave me the practical experience I needed to work in a studio environment, allowing me to be dynamic with my approach and able to adapt to a range of tasks.
“In my first few weeks at Lab42, I mostly shadowed the Development Director and supported the QA team on Snooker ’19, but I’d also pick up tasks like acquiring kit for new projects from platform holders and helping with studio scheduling visibility. Working across so many tasks allowed me to build relationships with various disciplines and learn about the rhythm of the studio and how everyone worked together.
“From there, I was given my first game project to work with the Development Director on. The game was for mobile and was the first thing I’d ever been a part of releasing – I had no idea what releasing a game looked like on various consoles or platforms, or the process of moving the game along. The Development Director worked with me to support my progress and ensure I was implementing best practices – many of which I still use today.
“And now here I am. I’ve worked on six other titles, two of which with a player base of millions – Human Fall Flat and Call of Duty: Vanguard. Working on these, particularly on Human Fall Flat, has taught me so much and I’m so proud of what our small team has managed to achieve. As well as bringing games to life, I’m also responsible for a team of two as their line manager. It’s an honour to be able to support and mentor my team to achieve their dream careers.”
Gamer Camp programmes help students take their first step into the games industry – and the future of game development is in good hands with this new generation of developers:
"Being a producer is more than just making games happen, it’s also about making games which can change the world and impact society. I’d love to work on titles that make people think about their choices and question the world around us – we as an industry have the power to create experiences for people to learn new things about themselves and our world.”
Not only has Ines worked on fantastic games as part of the Lab42 team, but she’s also been recognised by the games industry for her passion – receiving nominations at the Game Dev Hero Awards for Rising Star and Production Hero in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
So how can graduates look to take their next step in the industry?
“Be patient and don’t quit!” says Ines. “There are lots of ways to get in front of studios – either by going to a University that has strong industry connections (like BCU and the Gamer Camp programme) or talking direct to recruiters and discipline directors, either on platforms like LinkedIn or at conferences and events. Social media is a great way to get noticed and can give you the opportunity to showcase your portfolio and network. Developers will remember you for your enthusiasm and passion.”
Want to find out more about opportunities at Lab42? Check out all current opportunities on the Careers Page.
If you’re looking to turn your degree into a career in games, Gamer Camp might be able to help! Find out more information here.