I do believe you need a degree if you want to work overseas at a "studio" but if your aim is just freelance then you should be fine. But if a studio job is what your going for, then you better be really damn good(same goes for freelance but you hopefully get what I mean)
I believe in Marc Brunets case, even though he didn't have a degree from college, he got the job at blizzard because of their lawyers and the skill of course but that's not what were talking about. SO in that case, if your really good, things might just work out. Not sure what kind of degree you'll need. Maybe the degree you get doesn't have to be something major. Probably doesn't have to be an art degree either. Best tip I can give is to try asking in other places and other artist to find out some more information of the topic at hand. I wouldn't really know much. But I hope this helps,
If others see this, hopefully they can chime in as well.