Rochester Institute of Technology’s MAGIC Center and Vicarious Visions recently signed a partnership agreement that will include new collaborations and scholarship opportunities for students at two of the university’s colleges.
The Memorandum of Understanding reflects a shared desire by RIT and the Albany-based game studio to formalize a long-standing relationship, according to Jennifer Hinton, associate director of RIT’s MAGIC Center. Hinton said the studio — known for game franchises such as “Crash Bandicoot,” “Destiny 2,” “Skylanders,” “Guitar Hero,” “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” and “Spider-Man” — has brought on RIT co-op students and hired alumni over the years.
As part of the agreement, VV established two scholarships to provide financial support to students in degree programs related to game design and development in the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, and College of Art and Design.
“We are grateful for the game studio’s ongoing commitment to RIT and, in particular, the establishment of scholarships that will provide direct financial support to our students who aspire to join the games industry,” Hinton said.
VV studio head Jen Oneal said the game studio is “excited to broaden our relationship with RIT and the MAGIC Center, with sponsorships, class portfolio reviews, internships, a speaker series and scholarship opportunities that will help bring new talent into the industry.”
“Over the years, we’ve formed a strong connection with RIT through our co-op program that has ultimately resulted in a number of RIT alumni becoming valuable team members at VV,” she said. “Seeing the quality of talent that RIT produces, we’ve decided to invest even more in our partnership because it’s important for us to support academic excellence and diversity in RIT’s video game program. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to continue our work together in broadening New York’s video gaming talent pool.”
The annual scholarships are valued at $2,500 each.
The Pathfinders Scholarship will go to a student who “inspires others, is never satisfied and embraces failures as lessons learned,” Oneal said. The In it Together Scholarship is a reflection of the VV’s “commitment to champion quality and passion,” according to Oneal.
“Our diverse team consists of highly talented people who bring their personal expertise, creativity and drive to every facet of the games and technology they create,” she said. “VV wants to recognize students who make work fun and endeavor to be their best selves every day — students who support each other and embrace diversity and strive to include everyone through respectful and open communication.”
Hinton said the MOU agreement will include financial support for the MAGIC Speaker Series, as well as initiatives including game jams and a summer internship that will create content for an internal training platform at VV.