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ÆTHERIS : A FRENCH VIDEO GAME TO KICKSTARTER !
If you are a fan of video games in general, and of RPGs in particular, then this series of interviews is bound to interest you! We present you the team behind the game Ætheris, which is currently being funded on Kickstarter. Mix of rogue like, point and click and RPG, what strikes you immediately when you look at the first images of the game, is its fantastic artistic direction. And for good reason: the whole universe has been designed by Gax, a regular of Geek-Art pages and an artist we’ve been following since about… The very beginning of the blog! The opportunity to discuss with him about his role in this project that we really, really want to see come to life. So even before reading this interview, rush to the Ætheris Kickstarter: there are only a few hours left to back it!
Some questions for Gax, artistic director of the project:
1/ How did you end up being part of the Aetheris adventure?
Corto (ed. note: Corto Laly, President & Creative Director of Wildwits) had spotted my work on social networks. We exchanged quite a bit on the universe of their project, on the type of game they had in mind etc. … The current going well I accepted, it was very natural!
2/ Did the universe immediately speak to you?
Absolutely, Corto told me about Lizard Adventurers, my reptilian brain took over right away! I said “yes” before I realized it. But no, nothing, no I don’t regret anything!
3/ By the way, what is the universe of Aetheris, its specificities?
2 bowls of Fantasy, a pinch of Steampunk and a dash of Eldritch! To tell the truth, we intended with this project to go from surprise to surprise: start slowly with classic fantasy and crescendo towards cosmic horror … But I already say too much. To sum up, it’s a game of exploration, survival and moral choices!
4/ How did you work on the game? Was it a commissioned work, were you able to integrate yourself to the team, make proposals, make the game evolve?
I joined the team at the beginning of the project as an art director. I proposed graphic atmospheres, character designs, architecture, landscapes, etc. We brainstormed together and the game evolved. We brainstormed together and little by little this raw material was transformed into a beautiful universe. As for the game itself and the gameplay, it is rather the part of Corto and François.
5/ Is the creative process for a game different from that of a more “classic” work? (comics, fanart, etc).
Absolutely, it’s a team effort and it’s important for me to have everyone’s opinions, even if graphically speaking I decide at the end. I admit I’m out of my comfort zone but it’s a pleasure to learn new things. I’m happy to have joined a team that is, in addition to being truly adorable, has a lot of potential.
As far as creation is concerned, let’s just say that the methodology is changing. My work is no longer static and I have to imagine it in motion, which is why I work in direct correlation with our animator Tristan, as well as François and Nicolas for the programming. For example, I no longer flatten my image when I work with Photoshop, on the contrary, I cut, I compartmentalize, so that the team can find their way through the hell of my files. It’s a bit destabilizing at first but you get used to it very quickly.
6/ What makes his universe so unique?
The mix of genres, as I wrote before, as well as an assumed graphic style. The omnipresent danger that will put your nerves to the test. The moral choices you will make in a universe where good and evil are mixed. And playing as reptiles / batrachians / dinos is cool too, it’s a change ^^ Warning, spoiler alert: these are not the only sentient creatures in this world…
7/ Tell us a little about your relationship with video games!
I’m an unconditional fan of old school RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, Planescape Torment, Fallout, etc. I go back to them from time to time. I go back to them from time to time, they’re my little Proust’s madeleine. These games have strongly influenced my artistic vision as a designer. I’ve always loved isometric 3D. Today, as an art director, I take pleasure in practicing it in the process of creating Aetheris, and in graphically imagining settings that I hope will make you travel.
Otherwise I also love fighting games, especially Street Fighter 3rd Strike, (I’m not really skilled but I train, I love Gouki :). Not very fun fact: when I play online I usually get smashed because I’m not a RoXXoR) Lately I don’t have much time to play, but when I do I think I won’t be seen for 2 months haha ^^
8/ Where are you in your career, what are your projects after Aetheris! Your desires?
Everything is going well. After several years as a freelance illustrator of covers, video game events, game cards etc. … I have sharpened my blade quite a bit.
Today I’m working on the Aetheris project, but I still have time to keep up with the times and accept some more assignments. In the future, I’d like to finalize my ddr/artbook project that I started a long time ago when I was this young nerd playing D&D with his high school friends. And I’d like to continue with video games now that I’ve put my graphic palette pen to it. Learning and broadening your horizon is important and very stimulating.
And why not later on transmit what I’ve learned on my own by teaching, in order to encourage the young generation and share my experience. The future will tell us!
Bonus: How would you pitch Aetheris to players?
A tribe goes on an exodus to save their village from a mysterious evil
Bonus: Is the game for a certain category of gamers?
For those who love travel, challenges, strategy and fighting!
Bonus : We really want the game to be released quickly, we would like you to send a message to the backers, about the game and its stakes!
We need your support, thanks to those who will give us strength. This is not only a video game but also a work of art, it’s out of the box and we will do our best to make sure you have an unforgettable experience. Thank you all and have a great day!
There are only a few hours left to fund this game with an incredible design, both resolutely modern and echoing many classic RPG references. We can only encourage you to go ahead and support this talented Made in France team!