Meet Blumenauense, who works for the world’s largest gaming companies

Passionate about drawing since childhood, Jonathan Kopi from Blumenau has landed jobs at the world’s largest game company. Although there was no area in the region, he gave up the company he built in Blumenau and used all his dedication to make his dream come true.

Currently living in Valencia, Spain, Jonathan has been introduced to art since childhood. Now 33, he remembers attending drawing classes at the Fundação Cultural de Blumenau and spending most of the day with pencil and paper.

“My mom used to joke that my favorite day to paint was Friday because that’s when she cleaned the house. In the meantime, I put scraps of rubber on the floor because I had been painting for hours. When I wasn’t painting, I was playing ball. I preferred that to playing video games,” he says.

Jonathan painting in 1999. | Photo: personal archive

That’s how Jonathan ended up studying advertising at Unisociesc, with the plan of working in the field of creating an agency. However, during a class, he was introduced to 3D illustration and discovered that it was his passion.

“There were no courses here, so I searched on the Internet. I gathered information on forums and studied independently. At the time I was working with art in the marketing direction of the company and I was trying to get 3D out there, but it wasn’t in our area,” he says.

Commitment and surrender

While looking for areas to work with 3D art, Jonathan soon realized that there was only one performance market: electronic models. He graduated from college to create a studio, where he worked for five years.

His wife, Camila Bagatoli, eventually left her job at the bank to work in the administrative part of the company. Over time, he established himself in video production and currently works in the field of digital marketing.

Jonathan and Camilla worked together at his company. | Photo: personal archive

However, over the years, Jonathan had to face reality: as much as he was working with 3D and paying bills, it wasn’t something he loved. “It was the most difficult period because I had built something, I had clients and I wanted to stop and start over. There were many objections, but I ignored them and devoted myself to what I love.”

For two years, Jonathan just dedicated himself to studying and building a portfolio to get what he really wanted: working for big gaming companies. “I didn’t want to work with simple games or mobile games, which is what I discovered,” he justifies.

Newly married, it was Camila who supported the couple during this period. “He was my investor,” Jonathan jokes. Her father also helped pay for the courses, knowing that the couple was on a tight budget. Fortunately, all efforts paid off.

Jonathan studied clay modeling to bring 3D characters to life. | Photo: personal archive

First job in the region

With no experience in the field, Jonathan went through three selection processes before joining Koku from Recife, the only Brazilian company working directly with the world’s biggest games. Blumenauense already targeted the company on the account of the game Horizon, which was released in 2017.

“When I heard that a Brazilian company worked on the game, I was shocked and started to continue it. I looked at the portfolios of the people working there to see what I should learn,” Jonathan recalls.

Jonathan is playing on the first horizon in 2017. | Photo: personal archive

After two years of frustrating interviews, remote hiring was consolidated at the end of 2019. It was a dream come true because New Horizons was released. However, with little experience, Jonathan got into another project.

“It took me three months to work with Horizon. And since it was a secret project, Sony sent me a computer so I wouldn’t have to use mine. I’ve been working on the game for 2020 and I can only now tell you that it’s out. Even my friends didn’t know,” he says.

Jonathan’s first day in Koku. | Photo: personal archive

Move to Europe

After working at Kokku for over a year, Jonathan started working remotely for the company in Ireland. It was a big dream to play at 2K, one of the biggest in the region, but the pandemic prevented him from moving to Europe in Valencia.

However, after almost two years of contact with the company, Jonathan and Camila officially moved to Spain and started working for the company of their dreams. He also realized the couple’s plan to live in Europe.

Jonathan and Camila in Spain. | Photo: personal archive

“I spent four years studying and planning because I barely spoke English. In Blumenau, we don’t have game courses or a specialized company, so it all seemed like a dream to me. Anyone who saw it from the outside thought I was crazy,” he says.

The couple has been living in Spain since December and Jonathan is the only Brazilian in 2K Valencia. Cultural exchange with people of other countries is one of the great experiences for him. After years of struggling for his career, he now happily sees the trajectory.

“I suffered a lot from imposter syndrome, I thought there were people better than me. Do what you love, do it with all your love and passion and reap the most beautiful fruits from it. “Believe in your dreams, no matter how far they seem,” he advises.

Jonathan and Camilla, along with their parents, are vital people in the couple’s trajectory. | Photo: personal archive

“When you see a child drawing, know that it can be a profession. Don’t underestimate art and what it can do for that child. It really breaks my heart when I see children who have the same dream but don’t have the same opportunity. Support your child who loves to paint, your husband, your lover, your friend who has a dream that seems impossible to many. You never know how committed he is to making it a reality,” concludes Jonathan.

Horizon Forbidden West

The sequel to the 2017 blockbuster Horizon Zero Dawn, Horizon Forbidden West is an action role-playing video game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.

The official launch of PlayStation 4 and 5 was on February 18, 2022. In it, the player is the main character Aloy, a car hunter who travels to a post-apocalyptic reality ravaged by massive storms and deadly vehicles.

Jonathan’s name in the game credits. | Photo: Reproduction

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