[Since Don Mattrick has been part of the Canadian game scene since, oh, 1982 (Distinctive Software, yay), my colleagues at GDC Canada thought him a good choice to keynote May's GDC Canada in Vancouver. Lots of Test Drive questions, please!]

Don Mattrick, Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business SVP, will deliver a keynote at the inaugural Game Developers Conference Canada taking place May 12-13th in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The keynote will be presented in the form of an extensive on-stage interview, with games journalist Victor Lucas, creator and co-host of “The Electric Playground,” asking Mattrick a series of questions exploring the changing landscape of Canadian game development and Mattrick’s own role in expanding Canada’s role in the industry.

Previous to his work at Microsoft, Mattrick helped bring to life such successful game franchises as Need for Speed, Harry Potter, and The Sims during his tenure at Distinctive Software and Electronic Arts.

With 25 years of broad industry and game development experience, Mattrick’s portfolio includes some of the most successful games in the world, including a number of series established during his time at EA, EALA, EA Tiburon, EA Canada and Distinctive Software Inc.

"While it’s one thing to discuss the thriving game development field in Canada, it’s another thing entirely to have shaped the transformation of this growing industry yourself; Don Mattrick has done just that," says Izora de Lillard, event director at Think Services Game Group. "The mark Don has left, and will invariably continue to leave, on Canadian game development makes him the perfect person to discuss the future role that Canadian developers will play in the industry."

GDC Canada also confirmed a number of sessions from high-profile developers, such as Relic Entertainment's (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2) Animation and Cinematics director Owen Hurley on "Realism in Animation. Misnomer or Oxymoron?", who will talk about defining and creating realistic animation in video games.

Mario Vasquez, quality assurance manager at Electronic Arts Canada, will discuss "The Science and Art of Quality Assurance in the Video Game Industry" in a useful session designed to help attendees "improve software quality and reduce development/testing costs by moving focus from manual, black box defect detection to a more scalable, automated white box defect prevention strategy."

Producers Justin Dowdeswell and Ken Yeeloy from Next Level Games (Punch Out!!) will talk about "Building Strong Teams Around Gameplay" and share how developers can "get the best gameplay out of their teams," with tips on creating a cohesive leadership group and implementing an inclusive design approach.

In his session "Generic 'One Size Fits All' Networking", Amaze Entertainment's Ken Noland will teach attendees about the low level details of being a networking programmer and the importance of an open and robust library. He'll also describe ideas for how to design and implement game ideas with multiplayer in mind, and discuss problems such as "forward prediction, compression, encryption, and reliability layer."

Presented by Reboot Communications and Think Services, GDC Canada enables Canadian game developers to share best practices for fostering ingenuity and quality games. The conference emphasizes studying the challenges and opportunities inherent in creating games with long-production cycles, large development teams, and across multiple platforms.

More information on the event's sessions and registration details can be found at the official GDC Canada site.