Executive Producer, RARE
As a huge fan of Disney films, Louise O’Connor always knew that she wanted to pursue a career as an animator. She studied classical animation at the Ballyfermot College in Dublin which would serve not only as the launchpad for her career, but was also where she would meet her future husband who was also an animator. She became pregnant in her first year of school and after their daughter Zoe was born, Louise was motivated to work even harder to provide for her new family. “Being a mother spurred me on to be a better animator, I knew I had to get a job and I knew that being a Mom shouldn’t and wouldn’t stop me from pursuing my dream career.”
A career in video games wasn’t initially on her radar and she came upon it almost by accident. Some friends of hers were working at a game studio in England that had an opening, so she applied and got a job working at Rare as an animator on Conker’s Bad Fur Day and she’s been with the company ever since. She’s held many different positions at the studio including animator, art director, voice actor (she played Berri in Conker’s BFD & Leafos in Viva Pinata) and most recently as Executive Producer. She takes great pride in raising her daughter and showing her that it’s possible to “work hard, maintain a healthy work life balance and be successful in a male dominated industry”.
What is the first video game that you remember playing?
“This is going way back. I remember playing a game called ‘The Blues Brothers’ on my Commodore 64. It’s the first game I’ve ever played through to the very end, so I remember it being quite satisfying! Beyond that, the one game I consistently played back then and still do now is Tomb Raider. I’ve always loved the world of Lara Croft!”
What are your favorite games of all time?
“So, I’m a total horror geek, I love all things scary. My favourite, favourite game of all time is Resident Evil 4 – it’s a masterpiece in creepy storytelling and I just loved every second of it. I also love Street Fighter. More recently I’ve loved Inside (brilliant game), and mobile games like The Room, Lara Croft Go and Monument Valley.”
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
“I’m quite active outside of making and playing games, I play a lot of tennis, I do yoga and I do Pole fitness! Random, I know, but it’s the best way to build up your core and upper body strength. I also do a LOT of reading and watch a LOT of TV. I’m a total film/TV nerd.”
Do you and your children play video games together?
“Whenever we can! Zoe and I love playing in room multiplayer games together, so Rayman Origins was a great one for us. Super Mario 3D World was another one that we loved to play together and we regularly play Mario Kart together – she is awesome at it though and constantly kicks my ass.”
How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?
“It’s tough sometimes. I can only carve out a small amount of time, as I’m quite busy all of the time. This is why I’ve been so excited with the mobile games industry. Being able to get into a game while I’m waiting for something is great. It’s easier for me now that Zoe is older. She has her own console in her room, and Jonathan has his gaming PC, so I get the sitting room and Xbox all to myself!”
What is your proudest moment as a parent?
“I struggle to think of one single proud moment with Zoe. She’s just a wonderful young lady and I’m proud of her in general. She’s kind and thoughtful and brilliant, what more could I ask for. If I had to say one recently, it would be when she got her grades to get into her 1st choice university, where she’ll be studying film and Tv production. I’m so excited for her.”
Huge thanks to Louise for taking the time to be in the Gamer Spotlight! Make sure to follow her on Twitter (@RareLouOC) and Instagram (rare_louoc)