Friday, 25 May 2012

Creative Developments: Ideal Places of Employment (Part 1)

Along with looking at places that have openings it's always good to have aspirations, goals to aim for, as this gives me something to strive for rather than just coasting along trying to sort out any old job. Unfortunately at the moment the game industry is in a strange places with studios opening up and closing after the release of just one title which makes it really hard to strive to work for a game studio, but in my own opinion I would like to work places where I've enjoyed the products they've made or the mentality behind the product such as the level of quality control at what not.

Ideal Place of Employment #1: Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games have been behind the titles of some of the biggest and most controversial games ever released. Their flagship title being the Grand Theft Auto series certainly sets the tone for the styles of games they create, most often they're games aimed at maturer audiences (generally ages 18+) but what separates them from companies such as Epic Games or Gearbox is the way they approach this content, often in a very tongue in cheek manner and it's this style of thinking that I really like coupled with some of their more recently releases such as Red Dead Redemption which was a thrilling game experience that knew the boundries between storytelling and game play and how they should be balanced perfectly. Their highest grossing games are always ones that have a third person perspective and plays in a generally open world where you can just explore to your hearts content, which I personally love to concept and execution of, but most importantly is that they seem honest in their work, creating the games that they think their audience would like whilst not focusing on the concept of profit and whilst like any studio I assume they work they're hardest on each project and push themselves on the next, they honestly seem to enjoy what they do and how they do it.

So how would I get hired or even noticed by Rockstar? In my current position I'm quite lucky as I'm very close to Rockstar Leeds one of the 10 rockstar studios around the wolr (with the HQ being in New York City), the branch that's been responsible for the development and release of GTA: Chinatown Wars so I can use that to my advantage as I can aim for the closest branch to seek employment from. Considering my current aim to be a conceptual artist I should build a portfolio that shows a range of skill but also slightly different styles, the pieces should also be appropriate to Rockstar's flavour such as work that references the real world and should probably show works that feature conflict between people that excites or builds tension such as a police shoot out or a roof top chase, basically something that might get them to see "yeah this guy totally get's the style we're aiming for". Ideally I would like to a conceptual artist but I wouldn't want to limit myself as I can model and texture, for this I think I would have to build and texture some fairly realistic models as their track run generally aims to realism rather than something stylised.

It would also be nice to start of in an area where I'm familiar with the locality and culture as opposed to going for a company on the opposite side of the world. I would have to tweak my portfolio quite considerably and work on it but I think it would pay off as Rockstar are a very well known company and to have just have an interview with them would be a great achievement, a job? Even better.

Ideal Place of Employment #2: Bioware

Bioware is a Canadian video games company with it's headquarters based in Edmonton, Alberta. Most well known for their takes on the RPG genre of games and the method of which a player can interact and mould their own stories is something I really respect the company for. Their most notable works have been their own developed IPs Dragon Age and Mass Effect but also their work on the Star Wars franchise which so far has amounted to several games including a MMORPG which incorporates the usual online play but with the story telling aspect the company has come to be recognised for. What I really like about the company is the diversity of the genres for their RPGs from the sci-fi series Mass Effect to the fantasy series Dragon age, this along with the depth of the worlds they create making them feel real and gives emotional attachment to fans is something I'd like to be a part of.

If I were to aim for employment at Bioware my most feasible chance currently would be to try get hired at their Galway studio in Ireland but it seems that studio is only concerned with online maintained as far as their website discloses to perhaps it would be best to aim a little further abroad, perhaps to their San Fransico or Montreal studios. The down sides there would be that I would have to move over there into and that my only way would be to get my portfolio emailed to them and even then it might go unnoticed, which is why it's always good to try build up an online presence. When it comes to putting together a portfolio for Bioware I think something that shows that I have an imagination for creating vast worlds such as pieces featuring a range of characters interacting with the environments in all sorts of genres, I don't think I would need to worry about creating work that it "realistic" as I've seen concept art work for some of their games and it's can at times be quite stylised which may make the company a good choice for me, again I would throw in pieces of modelling and texturing to show the range of skills that I can possess. Again this would require me to work on my portfolio quite a lot from it's current standard as well as my skills but this is all about wanting to achieve something right?

Bioware has had a lot of attention recently from their most recently release Mass Effect 3 and whilst the responses have been mixed it seems but that's not a discouragement to me as I've enjoyed the products they've released and to have a chance to work on creating a new world with Bioware is an opportunity I would love to be a part off.

In my next post I'll be looking at a few more ideal places of employment.

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