Posted on August 20, 2021

In 1987, Vancouver Film School (VFS) revolutionized entertainment arts education with the introduction of the world’s first one-year intensive film production diploma program. Today, VFS is Canada’s premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution, offering acclaimed and award-winning diploma programs in film, animation, games, design, and beyond. This article highlights VFS’s Game Design program, recently named a ‘Top Global Game Design School’ by the Princeton Review Journal. Part of their School of Games & Creative Design, the advanced production program prepares students for a successful and rewarding career in countless creative roles in just one year.

Like most programs at VFS, the Game Design program features an intensive, accelerated curriculum that is integrated with industry. The one-year diploma is divided into six terms that feature a variety of courses from board game theory, to level design, to modelling, & quality assurance, and familiarizes students with industry-standard software, such as Unity. The program also allows students to choose a specialization towards the end of the program, either in Coding, Game Art or Level Design. 

Chris Mitchell, Head of VFS’s School of Games & Creative Design, wholeheartedly believes that the program has grown tremendously since its inception, saying; Over the past 10 years, we’ve integrated two game engines, made use of full industry-level performance capture via Beyond Capture, photogrammetry, a host of new technologies and created new courses that teach exactly what the industry is after. Our curriculum runs the knife’s edge of what’s possible between technical content, production experience and design knowledge. Leveraging all that, we’ve been in the Unreal student sizzle reel multiple times, won the Unity Student Game of the Year the last two years in a row (the only school to have ever won it back-to-back), and have the most wins overall of any school. Our students make wonderful things and go on to make a major impact in the Games industry.

The Game Design program is designed to propel students into immediate success, and the results speak for themselves. For the past 2 years, VFS students have nabbed the Unity Award for Best Student Project for the games they created as their final project (‘The Cluckening’ in 2019 and ‘Afloat’ in 2020). Furthermore, upon graduation, VFS’s alumni quickly go on to find meaningful and fulfilling work in the industry; past students have been credited on some of the best-selling video games in the world, including Luigi’s Mansion, League of Legends and God of War.

Finally, the work created by VFS’s Game Design students lives on forever – online. Launched nearly a decade ago in 2012, VFS Arcade hosts over 200 retail-ready video games created by their Game Design graduates (no quarters needed!). Referred to as “the centrepiece of a student’s portfolio” by Chris Mitchell, the website allows visitors to test out these games, which include VR games, mobile games, couch co-op games and more. New content is uploaded every three months, in line with VFS’s Pitch + Play – an event for current graduates where industry professionals (including designers and recruiters) get a first look at the newest games and have the opportunity to connect with the Game Design students.

Over the past year, Vancouver Film School adopted a new motto: Don’t Let Anything Stop You. With on-campus learning resuming this fall, nothing stands in the way of aspiring creatives pursuing a career in Game Design (or any creative career for that matter!) at Vancouver Film School. 

Josh Hamelin

Writer, Vancouver Film School


Find out more about the Vancouver Film School and the Game Design program at

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