Getting to know the new NZGDA Chair!
18 December 2023

Introducing Chair – Carl Leducq

Last week we asked Carl some questions to get to know him a bit better, learn what drives him and how he landed in this position.  Read what he had to say below:

Who are you?

Kia ora! My name is Carl Leducq (he/him).  I am 29 years of age, half French/half Kiwi, was born in England and moved to New Zealand when I was 3.  I grew up on the North Shore of Auckland, and it is where I currently call home with my wife and 2 kids (and 2 dogs).

By day, I am a Project Manager at the innovative tech company Futureverse, creating novel game experiences, with previous experience at NZ studios such as Rocketwerkz, Weta Workshop & Gameloft Auckland.  I love a good cup of tea at the end of a long day, am obsessed with networking and I love supporting the community in any way that I can!


How did you get into games?

When I was a little boy (probably as young as 7) my family used to travel a lot and as a way to curb my chaos, they got my brother and I a Game Boy with this game called Pokemon.  I was hooked.  The music, the monsters, the desire to be the best, like no one ever was, games immediately became my refuge.

It started a whole chapter of my life where I wore Pokemon t-shirts, watched Pokemon movies, played Pokemon board games, and got the Nintendo 64 to play Pokemon Stadium.

The Nintendo 64 led me to discover Mario Kart 64, playing 007 Goldeneye with friends, and my interest in games never really stopped growing from there.  My family got a PlayStation 2 with games like SSX Tricky, Dark Cloud, then an Xbox with games like Midtown Madness and Halo among many, many others.  And the rest is history.  Games have always been a part of my identity since.


How did you get into game development?

After graduating film school at 18 where I studied directing & screenwriting, I failed at trying to find a career (only able to find small roles on small sets, or projects with friends that had no funding).  At a time where I really needed an income I looked beyond my passion for storytelling and found a mobile games studio in Auckland called Gameloft.  I hopped a bus, walked to their reception, expressed my desire for a job and explained my passion for games (handing them my film CV with no game-related work experience).  To my surprise, I received a call less than a week later offering me an opportunity as a QA Intern.

From that point on, everything changed.  Getting my foot in the door in an industry that I loved and had never considered working in was life-changing.  It was also at a time when mobile games and the free to play model was changing the industry, so there was no shortage of innovation, discussions and excitement going around to keep me hooked.


What’s your favourite genre?

From a young age I gravitated towards the competitive nature of games, especially first-person shooters.  Starting with Halo 2 and moving to Call of Duty 4, the dopamine from winning and strategizing with my team to outperform the other team was an incredible feeling.  I was very competitive at sports at school and this felt like the same joy but in a digital environment.  I joke that in another life I would have tried to pursue a career as a professional esports player.


Where does your passion lie?

I am a creative at heart, and I see so much unexplored potential of games being used as a form of art.  I constantly ask myself ‘what if’ when it comes to game mechanics and how they can be used in a way to convey feelings, stories and impact the player in new ways.

Saying that though, the industry is vast and it caters to many areas such as educational games, puzzle games, competitive games, narrative games and more.  Right now, one of my current passions is the intersection of music and games and how games can leverage the medium of music in an interactive way.


What motivated you to become the Chair of NZGDA?

My journey to Chair started back in 2013 when I was at Gameloft and wanted to connect with more of the community.  I discovered the NZGDA and volunteered to tell my story and experience to students and hobbyists wanting to get a career in the industry.  I’ve always loved networking and get great pleasure from connecting with others and seeing others succeed.

It wasn’t until 2020 when I joined RocketWerkz that Stephen Knightly convinced me to run for the board of the NZGDA.  Although I didn’t get voted in at the time, my skills and passion led Chelsea Rapp (the previous Chair) to reach out to me for help curating their monthly newsletter.  Soon after that, a board member had to step down and I was right there to fill the spot.

Once I was on the board it took several years for me to wrap my head around all of the initiatives – from NZGDC and our events, to Social Media & PR, to Government lobbying and so much more – but every piece I was involved in and learned about brought me more joy than the last. I knew that I was committed to staying on the board for the foreseeable future and when the opportunity to become the next Chair came up I threw my hat in the ring.  I realised that the knowledge I had gained put me in a good position to carry the vision through to the next phase of the NZGDA.


What is it about the NZ Game Dev Community that inspires you?

I wrote a post on LinkedIn about my experience at NZGDC23 where the overall message was about how supportive and kind the community is, and I think most of the community will agree with this sentiment.  It isn’t until you go to an event like NZGDC where you meet so many of the developers you have connected with, helped, or learned from over the course of the year, in person, and realise that everyone is so positive, helpful and just as excited about the potential of games as you are.

I never feel so inspired about NZ as a country, Game Development as an industry and my future in this space as I do when I’m on my flight back home after the conference.  It just feels like everyone wants to see you succeed and information is shared with no expectations.

When NZ succeeds on the global stage everyone can get behind the mission, celebrate the wins and inspire each other to be better.


What are your plans/hopes for NZGDA in 2024?

With the Association transitioning to a professional industry body and introducing a paid membership model to support the ongoing work, the past year has seen significant changes for the NZGDA and the community at large. The sector has also been celebrating the announcements of the GDSR and CODE going national.

My plan is to continue to build our processes and communication around our membership, advocating and supporting all of the studios and individuals we represent in the community in all the ways we do. At a broader level, maintaining the core initiatives that will drive our economy forward to becoming a $1B export in the near future, through projects such as the GDSR and CODE.

Now that the NZGDA has a wonderful team that consists of Joy Keene our Executive Director and Gina Chong our Programme Administrator, along with our amazing Executive Board, we can really scale our operations and bring new and exciting events, opportunities and consistent communication to our community like we’ve never seen before.


If you would like to get in touch, or schedule a time to meet, feel free to reach out to Carl on LinkedIn or email him at   And you can meet the rest of the Executive Board on our website.