The feelings behind this week’s blog post are pretty straightforward. I’m really, truly happy. I’m not the most expressive person in the world when it comes to emotions. So, trust me, if I use two adverbs in the same sentence to describe my happiness, then I’m downright ecstatic. Why the good mood? Well ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce that we finally have an artist joining our team!
For the last couple of months, finding an artist has been one of the biggest things on my mind. It’s the one piece that our team has been utterly lacking. There were ups and downs in our search for an artist, and for a while there I was starting to worry that our entire game would need to be based off of a stick figure aesthetic. We did have some great applicants from all around the country, but we are especially excited about the person that is joining us. He is extremely talented, and he is living in Seattle. So, without further ado, please allow me to introduce the newest member of our team, Wu-Gene Hong!
Wu-Gene actually has significant local roots, beginning his college days not far from our “company headquarters,” attending Seattle Pacific University. However, in order to further pursue his artistic dreams, he transferred to art school at SVA New York, graduating with his degree this last May. In art school, Wu-Gene started out learning how to be a cartoonist. Eventually, he discovered more of a passion for sci-fi conceptual art, and he shifted the focus of his studies to this arena. Beyond helping us with AOTW, Wu-Gene’s goal is to build an artistic career in the entertainment business, either with video game or movie art.
There are also a few non-artistic details to know right away about Wu-Gene. For one, he gained some very valuable practical perspective while in New York. For example, living in the Big Apple among artists taught him the true meaning of cramped living quarters. In fact, he learned to endure so much on the East Coast that his new perspective even moved him to dub Rich and Austin’s apartment “really clean” in comparison.
Wu-Gene also enjoys watching sports. Like many Americans, he is kind of a soccer fan but not really. So, understandably, his passion for the sport died with the US loss to a small European country this last Tuesday. Wu-Gene’s real love is in baseball. His heart belongs to the hometown Seattle Mariners. Consequently, his heart has been broken for about 13 years straight. But hey, playoff hopes spring eternal, especially this year.
At this point, you may be saying to yourself “Wu-Gene seems like a cool guy and all, but what exactly is he going to do for the art in your game?” Well, in short, the answer is everything. He will have a great deal of artistic control over the game, creating everything from unit sprites to environmental backdrops to characters. He’ll likely work very closely with Austin to make sure that his overall aesthetic fits with the story. I’m very confident that he will be able to go above and beyond all of our expectations and truly take our game to the next level. I can already tell that he is passionate about this type of art. He’s also very creative – constantly making connections between different art forms and inspirations. Rich, Austin, and I hope that this project will also give him a chance to get a feel for the process of working with a team during the art creation process; a skill that will stand him in good stead in what I am confident will be a very long career in the arts.
Furthermore, at least for me, bringing a new member into the team makes things even more real. I mean, in convincing him to join the team I’ve set a lot of expectations about the opportunities that this project will afford him. No matter what, I don’t want to let him down now. I know he won’t let us down.
All that said, this is just a very brief introduction to our newest team member. Please look for future blog posts by Wu-Gene himself in which he talks in more detail about his creative process. But for now, check out some of his early tank turret design concept art below. These are scale models, both from a side and top view perspective. Also, be sure to click through to his full online portfolio to see some of the amazing work he has already done!