Mariko: Today I am interviewing Sébastien, who is one of my important senpais1 from the Production Department. Please introduce yourself and your role at NERD.
Sébastien: My name is Sébastien and I am the manager of the Support team. We take care of developing tools for developers, automation, and do some project coordination.
Sébastien at the office
Mariko: As a Technical Support Manager, you’ve been involved in many projects, but which is the most memorable? What were the challenges?
Sébastien: This is a difficult question… I think the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System were very challenging. There were a lot of things to implement. In the end they turned out great.
Mariko: Speaking of retro games, at NERD, you’re known as “Mr. Retro”. What draws you to these games?
Sébastien: Obviously the nostalgia, but also the fact that some games have aged very well. Some games are definitely still worth playing. It’s like fine wine – some get better over time. (laughs)
Mariko: I think many people at NERD and Nintendo also know you for the Continuous Integration System (CIS). Can you please explain what it is?
Sébastien: When I joined NERD, I had the task of setting up the CIS. The main idea is to automate various things, like compiling and packaging applications or testing.
Mariko: I heard that you also did game programming in the past. What was that like?
Sébastien: I started my career as a game developer. It was fun for a while, but once I was involved in a big project that took three years and in the end was unfortunately canceled. It was eventually released, but by a completely different team. It was a big AAA game, and I thought it wasn’t for me. Later, I had the opportunity to do middleware support. It was a lot more fun because I got to travel all around the world and implement the technology for various game studios. It was more satisfying. That’s how I moved from game development to support.
Mariko: Please describe a typical day.
Sébastien: In the morning, I start by reading my emails and messages to catch up on projects because I work closely with people working in the headquarters. Then, I usually have meetings. After the meetings, I have to process the requests from our headquarters and other teams. If I have spare time, I work on long-term projects.
Mariko: This is going to be a tough question… but what is your all-time favorite game?
Sébastien: The game that had the most impact on me was Another World on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a great adventure game. It has this unique atmosphere and amazing cutscenes for the time. It was developed by a single developer (both the art and programming). I was really impressed as a kid and it was the reason why I wanted to become a game developer.
Mariko: If you could be any game character, who would you be?
Sébastien: Monty Mole from Super Mario Bros. My daughter and I like to look for him in Mario games because we think he’s so cute.
Mariko: Thanks for your time today Sébastien, and looking out for your kōhai 2 when I first joined!