I took the time this last week to put together a reel of my work on Mass Effect 2, done between late 2008 and early 2010. Look below for a full shot breakdown, and, because you’re gonna ask, the music is Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy.
2010 was not a good year. I don’t usually write end-of-year reviews, and I’m a wee bit late given that we’re nearly mid-January already, but this is mostly an exercise to exorcise a year fairly consistent in its misery – something I’m extra disappointed in because I was looking forward to 2010 as the first year where in my opinion, much more plausibly than 2001 or 1984, the numbers actually read like the future. Additionally, beyond marking 5 years of this site, it was also the year I celebrated my first decade in the industry.
Those of you not visiting via a feed reader will notice that the site has undergone another of its annual facelifts, though this time the occasion is significant for two reasons:
First of all, this May marks the 5th anniversary of maintaining this blog. When I first started I wrote under a pseudonym as the internet then was a place where only undesirables went. I wished my person and place of work to remain anonymous, but now the world has caught up with social media and even your grandmother has a facebook account. The new design should better fit in this age of apps and community, and I expect to have more time to share as updates have been light on the ground for the last while due to my being otherwise engaged…
Secondly, for the last month or so I’ve taken on the fulltime role of “Internation Man of Leisure”, awaiting a work visa after leaving BioWare for a second time, being fortunate enough to have been recruited to join the early stages of one of Ubisoft Montreal’s flagship series’ next major outings. All this so instead of my talk of a new form of cinematic narrative being purely theoretical I now have the opportunity to put it into practice, and I look forward to sharing more on the project in the coming years – after just one week I know it’s going to be big.
Another work-related post – three in a row! In a break from the norm, I’m not involved at all in the in-game animations for the sequel – so it’s cool to see several shots from one of my romance scenes ahead of the game’s realease.Â Not long to go now until this project is done and out the door!
Today marks my first year back at BioWare, and therefore (in my head anyway) the 1st anniversary of BioWare Montreal. No longer the youngest kid on the block, we had our very first ever studio photo earlier this month to commemorate the occasion, courtesy of Bartek.
Note the cool Mass Effect 2 N7 shirts I and a few others are sporting – just a shame it looks like such a sausage party…
This week is all about E3, and this time it’s going back to the way it should be – all loud noises, special announcements and awesome presentations on a world stage. We released a preview video some weeks ago which will forever be known internally as “the one with Parrish’s moustache”, but I wanted to wait until the real deal to throw it up here.
Virtually all of the cutscenes in both videos were done by our team here in Montreal, so a special shout out to the hard work of the guys both here and in Edmonton, and Parrish’s moustache.
Above is the poster I drew up for the event using the IGDA template, (click for the hi-res), exclusively featuring the first actual screenshot of the game released to the public. If you’re in Montreal on the 20th why not drop by and make a night of it – details in the poster.
The keen-eyed among you may have noticed the description on the left has been somewhat cryptic for some time now, referring to my secret location… The fact is Iâ€™ve been working on a new and exciting project and team inception for the last 6 months, and with both being officially announced I can finally reveal them respectively as Mass Effect 2 and BioWare Montreal.
Housed within the downtown EA Montreal studio, a slowly growing team of highly talented animators and I are creating animations and cinematic cutscenes for the sequel to our 2007 project. This is a new kind of game development where we are working remotely while connected directly to the Edmonton servers and are in daily contact with the team there. This is all made possible with the help of the fantastic folks at EA Montreal with whom we share a studio space, and a dedicated support team on the Edmonton side.
Additionally, over half of the Montreal outfit is made up of other former Mass Effect team members having worked in the Edmonton head studio before â€“ helping to ensure that rather than just a random selection of folks under the BioWare banner, we are maintaining BioWareâ€™s culture as well as the same high standards to which we are held. This percentage is only set to increase as more and more make the transition from the main studio to this new team.
Now to the important part â€“ we are currently looking for one final exceptional animator to join the team, as well as environment artists and level designers. If you believe you are up to the challenge of helping create one of the most focussed and ambitious RPG sequels of all time and are looking for a new and interesting take on game development, please visit the BioWare website at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a nice treat today to find another of my previous projects, Jade Empire, has been deemed by Microsoft to be worthy of another go – this one being added to the list of games available for download on the Xbox 360’s Xbox Originals service – pick it up now for just around $10 without having to leave the comfort of your sofa.
Most people who haven’t played it wrongly assume it sports the same basic good/evil choices found in KOTOR, but one of my favourite elements of the project was that decisions made in the game surrounded the altogether more mature philosophies of ruling with compassion or force – an altogether less black and white affair.