In the entertainment industry, whether video games can be considered a form of art is often a hotly debated topic.
At Keywords, we understand the importance of delivering innovative and creative art assets that are true to our clients’ visions. We witness firsthand the exceptional quality of artwork that goes into games, delivered by our pool of exceptionally talented artists.
Recently we spoke with two artists working at Mindwalk, a Keywords Studio, to understand how their work supports client projects and what they like the most about it.
Zhao Yanchao joined Mindwalk more than nine years ago and became Character Team Lead in 2016. Wu Yingying has been Project Manager at Mindwalk since 2014.
Here’s what they had to say:
What does a typical day at work involve?
Zhao: I allocate tasks to each artist to make sure projects are carried out efficiently and smoothly, perform quality check for the team, train new artists and communicate daily with project managers.
Wu: My day starts with communication. Most of my calls are in the morning due to the time zone difference. Afterward, I’ll begin gathering and translating all the feedback and new tasks from clients.
When the translated documents are sent to each team, I will check in with every team to see if they have any questions regarding the feedback.
At the end of my day, I need to check the status of each task/artist, then update the information to tracker and Shotgun/Jira.
What do you love about your job and what have you discovered if anything?
Zhao: I enjoy helping the client to meet and even surpass their artistic requirements and helping the artists to realise their potential.
W: My work covers all aspects, with no special focus. I like all my work.
What do you like best about working for Keywords Studios?
Zhao: Having access to great concept art and becoming partners with top-notch game studios around the world.
Wu: The great atmosphere in terms of projects and teamwork.
How did you get into video games? What inspired your career path?
Zhao: I’ve had a long-established passion for game playing and I wondered how those characters came into being. The curiosity urged me to search for an answer online. I used self-teach software such as Maya and ZBrush when I was in university, which got me an offer in the game industry after graduation.
Wu: I always dreamt about working in the video game industry. Since I was a kid, I was fascinated by them and I think I’m very lucky to be here in the Keywords Family.
What, in your opinion, are the key considerations for publishers and developers when hiring an external services vendor such as Keywords?
Zhao: From my point of view as an artist, I think they care about how we perceive the story and context of their game in its forming stage. Also important is our initiative in finding the best references, in a word, how well we can do in meeting their needs.
Wu: Communication, quality and efficiency.
What is your favourite video game and why?
Zhao: God of War III is my favorite. I like the artistic style of its characters and its combat mode is very fulfilling.
Wu: I have no doubt: Gears of War!
Tell us an interesting fact that people may not know about you.
Zhao: It’s not really about me but makes me proud. Once my son was spotted while we were in a mall. A scouting company wants to sign him as a child actor.
Wu: My main major in university is biology.
And finally, what advice would you give to job seekers considering a career in video games?
Zhao: A good skillset is always the most important thing. Ground yourself and keep getting better. Communicate and learn from your team lead.
Wu: Make sure to follow your passion! The video game industry is challenging, and the growth is very fast. If you have a thing for video games and art, I’m sure this field can give you a lot of happiness and rewards.
If you are interested in an Art Services role at Keywords Studios, you can find current open positions on our Careers page.