Why did you join Virtuos?
I was looking for an experience in China, and after some research it appeared that Virtuos was the place to be to grow my carrier and improve my network.
At first I had some prejudices about outsourcing companies – that western companies just outsource the least interesting parts of production. But at Virtuos it’s different. Thanks to Virtuos’ excellent track record and a strong reputation, we actually get the most interesting parts of production: main characters, top quality assets, iconic levels…
When our clients dream too big, and don’t have the capacity to realize all those dreams in their games, that is when we step in to make those dreams come true! Okay that is a bit corny, but you know what I mean, I think.
What is your favorite Virtuos project?
My favorite project is always the one I’m currently working on! I’d love to talk about it but I’m not allowed yet, come back in a few months
Generally, my favorite projects are when we are directly integrated to client pipelines. We become part of their team, share their game engines, work with their files, and are suddenly part of a new giant AAA team for a few months.
Do you need to know Chinese to work here?
You don’t need to know Chinese. Most of our staff can speak English, and when they can’t there’s always someone around to translate for you. Most foreigners I know don’t speak Chinese at all and have no trouble to live and work here, for years.
But the real fun begin when you jump the step and start learning the language. Suddenly, the world becomes wider. You can leave foreigner districts and explore the hidden wonders of the city, travel in a grandiose country without a tour guide, and meet warm people with a really different culture.
Suddenly, workmates turn into friends.
How many projects do you work on in a year?
As a Lead Level Artist, I supervised around 30 levels on 8 different games last year. Some of them were part of full games developed here, but most were outsourced levels for famous AAA games on Xbox360, PS3, PC and even next generation consoles.
I’m also training the staff, which is constantly growing. It’s very rewarding.
As a comparison, in my previous company I worked two years on one single game!
What’s it like living in Shanghai?
Shanghai is a city of contrast. I couldn’t define it better. Contrast is everywhere and, as an artist, is purely amazing.
Contrast in wealth (you can have a drink in a luxury bar at the top of a skyscraper and then eat street food just down the building), contrast in people (my closest friends are from 6 different countries), contrast in style (from the high tech financial center of Lujiazui to the cozy streets of the French Concession, to popular alleys around People Square), even contrast in weather (tropical summers and ice-cold winters!)
What is your favorite game?
They’re legions ! I’m an “old school” gamer who tries to evolve with the industry. My favorite games are usually fast paced and challenging (Tribes and Unreal Tournament series) and RPGs with a strong narrative (The Witcher…). I don’t like easy games which tend to reward simple actions.
Challenge is a lifestyle.