We Want Your Job is a regular feature that involves us talking to people in all areas of the games industry about their job and why it’s so awesome! For you guys out there that want to get into the games industry, or even those that are just curious about the people that make the games we love, this is a unique insight behind the scenes of gaming.
This week we talk to Thomas Wilson, Creative Director of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
Hi! Can you tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Thomas Wilson and I am the creative director of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. I work at Beenox, a Quebec City based development studio located in Canada. I have been in the industry for about twelve years and I have worked on multiple licensed titles in my career including the recently-released Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. As a creative director, my role is to define the vision of a project and make sure the team sticks to it. If the game is fun and looks good, I`ve done my job!
Can you run us through a regular day in the office?
To be honest, there is no such thing as a regular day in the office, and that`s the beauty of working in video games. The creative process of designing games constantly changes my tasks over time. I can be brainstorming ideas one day, writing a design doc another, etc. Depending on where we are in the production schedule, I can be providing specifics for the concept art team, on the production floor testing out mechanics in a prototype, doing level design or build reviews, approving scripts or assets, or even promoting the game at different events. It goes on and on…
How did you get into this role? What do us plebs need to do to get your job?
I got this job by working my butt off. I first got my degree in graphic design at a local college. I then went to study in traditional film animation at Concordia University in Montreal. Realizing I was really interested in 3D animation, I applied to the Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida in the Graphic and Interactive Communications. Back in 1998, there were no clear entry points in the industry so I made it happen. I drew every day at figure drawing classes and spent most of time building an online portfolio that I sent to multiple video game companies around the world. It turned out a development studio in my home town was looking for an entry game designer position. What do you know? I got it!
To get my job, you must be willing to spend a lot of time and effort on your craft. It is a competitive world out there so you must strive to be the best! Contrary to the time I got in the industry, there are programs now that can allow you to get the proper training for the industry. My recommendation is that you look for the best programs and apply there. Once you are in, spend all your energy to be recognized as one of the best students (with respect to your fellow students of course). If you ever meet recruiters, they`ll know!
What do you like most about your role?
Creating. To actually be spending my days using my imagination to create worlds and experiences that players will remember.
If you could change anything about the games industry, what would you change?
I would want to tweak the industry and mindset of gamers out there so that more truly original, creative and innovative titles would be given a better chance to succeed. Unfortunately many people miss out on these original titles because of a variety of reasons, which means sometimes great concepts, games or even studios die off because their games get lost in the shuffle.