The lights are on
Earlier this week, we shared the news that Remedy level designer and scripter Greg Louden helped bring home the Academy Award for visual effects thanks to his work on Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. We caught up with Louden to ask him about his work on the film and Remedy’s upcoming Xbox One exclusive, Quantum Break.
Game Informer: Tell us a little bit about your work on Gravity. How many people were on the VFX team?Greg Louden: I was one of the 150 plus fantastic VFX artists and production team members at Framestore London who was fortunate enough to work on Gravity, being led by the VFX supervisor Tim Webber and CG Supervisor Chris Lawrence.
I was working in the FX Department led by Alexis Wajsbrot and I was a FX Technical Director where my role focused on the simulation of zero gravity floating objects. Spoilers ahead but workwise the poignant props for example the floating chess pieces, space shuttle toy, pens and other items in the International Space Station (ISS ) were my animations which other artists modeled, textured, rendered and composited.
Whereas in the Tiangong (Chinese Space Station) sequence I simulated hundreds of props created and rendered by other artists including chop sticks, a lucky cat, a “Go” board, a Yuan coin and other Chinese objects and symbols as Ryan navigates the sequence in first person. It was a fantastic project to be part of and I’m really proud and happy to of been a part of the Academy Award winning VFX team.
Why did you decide to move from film to game design?I worked in film and I work in games now because I love both mediums. I am a massive fan of cinema, games and I love the potential interactive entertainment offers for truly groundbreaking experiences. In general, I just love to create great experiences for audiences, and have been very lucky to of always worked with great teams and great projects that push the envelope.
What makes Remedy a good fit for you?Remedy is a wonderful place to work, everyone is a storyteller at heart, genuine, friendly and very talented. [This] talented team comes together from a variety of backgrounds, from all parts of the world with a vision to create interactive immersive stories.
For example, in the level team alone we have a Spanish electronic engineer, a Czech who studied astrophysics, a French graphic designer, a Canadian game design lecturer, a Finnish Max Payne modder, and more. I also chose to join Remedy because I loved the ambition, style and the innovative nature of Remedy’s approach to interactive entertainment.
How does your work in level design and scripting for Quantum Break use your skill set, and what perspectives from the film world do you apply to game design?As member of the “Quantum Break” level design team my job is to take the level story and design and direct and script experiences using our propriety "Northlight" game engine. My work starts from reading the story, creating level layouts and working with the art team, then leveraging the game design, animation, dialogue, music and drama moments with the team to create a thrilling experience.
Level design and VFX are both about telling stories and my general skills from VFX with regards to art direction, animation, lighting and teamwork are things I always apply to game design also. Furthermore, like all Remedians, I love pop culture so my interest in art, music, film, theatre and games is also very useful on Quantum Break.
How do you see film and interactive media interacting throughout this console generation and into the future?I think film, interactive media and games will become more and more prevalent in the future. I love great worlds and stories in games, and believe a TV show, a movie, a comic, a song, a book or a game all add to the experience, building emotional attachment and immersion.
Remedy has always been very good at that. As Star Wars innovated in the 1970s, I think if you create a great world audiences will always want to return to that world irrespective of the media to see more aspects and stories.