Inside Activision: Interview with Beenox Lead Designer Francois Taddei

With Inside Activision, we interview team members to share what it’s like to work in such a close-knit environment.

by Kevin Kelly on March 02, 2018

What do you do at Activision?

François Taddei: I am a Lead Designer for Beenox, in Quebec City, and I have been working here since 2004, where I first joined as their spokesperson. The last project I completed was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, which was led by Raven Software. Ever since I joined the design team, we have been working on video game franchises such as Guitar Hero, Skylanders and Call of Duty. As a lead, I manage design teams, establish their goals, and focus on their development. I even cook Italian meals for them, when we’re about to reach an important milestone on a project. 

What is your favorite part about working here?

We have strong, well-established values. Team spirit is king, everyone has an impact, we develop our talents and love challenges. Working on so many blockbuster franchises could be terrifying, but we have built a great team of people and each time we move on to another project, I humbly believe we grasp the essence of the brands we work on, and how to please the fans. For example, when I designed the Deadpool level in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, I read comics about this character, such as Deadpool: Games of Death, which became a huge inspiration.  It was fun to implement goofy Easter Eggs as well. 

What is your favorite Activision video game?

The Activision game I spent the most time with was Call of Duty 2. It came out a few years after I joined Beenox, and I remember we played multiplayer games on our PCs as soon as lunch break started, or during our social gatherings each Friday. Then we moved on to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which was even more exciting.

In addition to Call of Duty, another game has a special place in my heart and that is MechWarrior 2.  I was a fan of the BattleTech roleplaying game, and when I first saw the MechWarrior box in a computer store, I wanted to jump in and pilot the Timber Wolf on the cover. It was an immersive experience with all the bells and whistles I could possibly ask for.

How do you put Activision's Core Values into action?

To me, Activision’s Values are more than just fine words. One that strikes a chord with me is Constant Feedback Equals Constant Growth.  I try to be self-aware by actively seeking feedback and I’m committed to learning.  As a lead, I give that same supportive and constructive feedback to others in order to help them develop as well.

Finally, if you could be any Activision character, who would you choose and why?

It has to be Pitfall Harry, because I love to travel around the world and explore ruins. Pitfall! was also the first Activision game I played as a kid.  I remember reading the tips from David Crane, designer of Pitfall!, in the instruction booklet and telling to myself: wow, someone made this… maybe I could do the same thing one day? And thankfully, that has become my career.

And fun fact, before joining Beenox, I was reviewing games for a local tv show and my first review was for Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure:

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