Our Team

Ali O’Connor

Creative Director

The need to create has always been a driving force in almost every aspect of my life. While I was always someone who enjoyed artwork I only started to pursue it after High school. Finishing two art programs at Sheridan College before enrolling into the BA of Game design program. As someone who has loved games from their childhood, some of my first memories playing Super Mario world with my father, this seemed liked the perfect career. The constant ability to be creative and continuously learn was something I was always looking for, and I found it in a beautiful package.

Being in the game industry has two rather predominant sides. One of the side of a developer, and the side of the game player. From the side of a Game Developer I have faced the same sort of issues all genders would face. I don’t think it has ever necessarily been about the fact I am female. Though I have felt it from the outside of the industry more than from within. Women who are in the industry, like to play games, or even have an interest in them are seen as the ideal woman or something to be coveted. Most of the women I know have been insulted, discredited, or degraded for being passionate about something within the gaming or nerd culture. That is by far where I have felt the most judgment for my gender.

Maya Sischo

Lead Artist

I am a visual artist and genderqueer individual studying at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. I have an Associate’s Degree and a background in Fine Arts, as well as experience working within gallery spaces. I have always wanted to bring parts of the art community that are not normally seen in “traditional” spaces together; new media, particularly game and interaction design is fascinating and opens up so many new opportunities for artists around the world.

I am interested in approaching new media and all forms of artistic impression in a way that will accommodate inclusion and tell the stories of those who are left behind. In 2014, the IDGA released statistics that showed that only 22% of game developers were women, and a startling 2% were Transgender and Gender Nonconforming people. As a Trans individual, my interest in inclusivity is one that is close to their heart. Games, especially more recently, have been lagging behind other forms of media in regards to queer representation; the Representation of Trans characters in particular is extremely rare, and tends to be only non-playable characters that either serve as a punchline or follow the trend of queer-coding villains. I hope that with the boom in the Indie developer scene, and the changing climate of the “gamer” culture, the unique experiences of women, people of color, and queer individuals can tapped into and utilized. Without a change, there is a vast wealth of untold and brand new stories that will lie untouched.

 

Jack Major

Writer

Jack Major was unavoidably established in 1991 and raised within the fences of small town northern Ontario. It was within those formative years of his youth in which he discovered his dislike for conformity and decided to dedicate his entire life to imagining worlds unlike our own.

He endured Sheridan College's film program, kicking and screaming the entire way, but graduated nonetheless. Since his graduation, he has been operating as a contract director, cinematographer and editor in downtown Toronto. His main passion is screenwriting and he is currently working on writing her first feature film script.

 

Jennifer Stienstra 

 Story Consultant

  I have been writing for several years now, writing short stories, novellas, and scripts.  Having graduated from a Journalism Program, I’m experienced in writing articles and news releases. I also have experience with level design, having designed games Unity in the past, as well as with in-game level creation kits.

The gaming industry has changed in recent years, and now more than ever it feels like a more accepting community. However this doesn’t mean that there still needs to be more change, particularly with LGBT representation within games and in the industry itself. I hope that by becoming involved in the industry and using my voice and personal experiences, I can help add to a positive change.

 

Amelia Pley

Lead Marketing

I’ve always been trying to get the images and stories in my head to flow through the pen in my hand. Short stories, novels, poetry and prose are all things that I’ve built my academic and professional career around. I’m currently a student at University of Toronto as an English major with minors in Anthropology and Cinema, as well as at Mohawk College for Advertising and Marketing Communications Management. I’ve been nominated for awards in both Copywriting and Art Direction and have had my work on display for industry professionals at the 2016 National Advertising Challenge.

In terms of gaming, I absolutely adore Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series to the point of having a heart piece permanently engraved on my body. Collecting a piece of a heart is done after completing some sort of trial – whether it be a puzzle or defeating an enemy. I think that’s really reflective of how life actually flows. You gain experience, more of yourself, after dealing with different issues. With the creation of an inclusive and diverse game, this ideal is something I’d like to make known in Halcyon.

Marley Sumner

Web Designer

Web & Graphic design have always been a passion of mine. I’ve pursued this passion avidly since high school where I began taking Media Arts and Web Design courses. I decided to advance my career and graduated from the Media Fundamentals program at Sheridan College. Upon graduating from Sheridan I sought to do even more, so I took a Web Design program. Finally, my aspirations led me to Mohawk College where I graduated from the Graphic Design program with the knowledge and confidence that I needed to succeed. As for the gaming industry, I have an older bother so I have grown up with all these worlds around me. I have always loved gaming and enjoy seeing how the industry changes and advances and I can't wait to see how we can impact the gaming world with Halcyon.