Do you ever watch the end credits all the way to the end, after you’ve finished a good movie or game? I sure do!
I like to enjoy the soundtrack until the last note. I also check the crew involved out of simple curiosity. What sort of jobs? People from what parts of the world were involved and of which ethnicity?
And when I see a greek name I smile, which is sort of normal when you come from a small country. It’s nice to know that people with the same origin as yourself are creative and involved in a mighty project… Especially when there is a gerontocracy in place in the country in question, and young people cannot properly express themselves, be creative and prosper.
Andreas Chrysovitsanos‘ name was first on top of BFBC2 credit list and I was intrigued, because there are not many greeks in the video game industry (as far as I’m aware of). I decided to get in touch, he kindly responded to my interview request, so here you go.
Could you please tell us a few words about yourself, as well as how did you/your family settle in Sweden?
My name is Andreas Chrysovitsanos and I’m 29 years old. I’m born and raised in Stockholm/Sweden. Both my parents are Greek and come from the lovely island of Lefkada. I have two elder siblings, one of them also working in the game industry here in Sweden.
My parents got here during the early 70′s and in the beginning they only intended to stay just for a short while. But when my older sister was born here in Sweden, they decided to stay.
Luckily for me or otherwise maybe I’d never gotten the chance to work at DICE.
On the other hand, I miss the warm weather, the food and the lovely beaches of Greece!
What are you exactly doing in DICE? What has been your contribution in BFBC2?
I started at dice in 2002 as a 3d Artist. Since then I’ve worked in many areas within graphics. I’ve been doing objects, buildings, characters, levels, effects and lighting on projects like Rallisport Challenge 2, Battlefield: Bad Company, Mirrors Edge, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
In BFBC2 I worked as a “Technical Art Director”. In short, my responsibility was to basically find the best solutions for us to build the graphics of our game. At the same time, ensure that we can hit the quality that we aim for within the boundaries of memory and performance on the different platforms. So, it meant a lot of collaboration together with the Art Director, the artists and the coders to achieve the best game possible.
I think that exactly as it is the case in music, the cover is as important for a game as for a music album. I definitely like BFBC2′s artwork a lot! Who designed the cover artwork, concept art, wallpapers, etc? Did you contribute?
Most of our artwork, cover art, concept art, wallpapers etc was designed by our Art Director together with one or more concept artists that work here at DICE. I’d like to say I contributed, because I also like the artwork, but unfortunately I can’t take any credit for that part.
What were the guidelines that you wanted (or were fixed) to follow as far as the artistic direction in BFBC2 goes?
BC1 was a good looking game but it didn’t have a lot of visual variation so having several settings that had their own distinct look was a big focus in BC2.
We also wanted to take advantage of Frostbite’s capabilities to render really big landscapes – we wanted the game to feel big and epic with long view distances and bombastic landscapes.
Another focus was to make the game world more dynamic. We put a lot of effort into creating visual effects and animated objects – we also introduced ambient war; scripted events and effects outside of the play area designed to give the impression of a large conflict.
Do you think that BFBC2 would be that good if there was not a strong competitor enthroned in the top position of military FPS shooters? Or you really didn’t have MW2 in mind when crafting the game?
I actually think that MW2 wouldn’t be that good without strong competitors either, such as
Battlefield! Of course we compare ourselves with the best out there and if you want to reach the top, you have to aim for it. I think this goes for all game developers. Games inspire each other, and that’s the way it’s going to be.
But I wouldn’t say that MW2 was the only game that we had in mind during production, and not only did we have games in mind either. Both movies and real war stories played their role during production.
Is there a technical reason, ie. economy of resources, that the multiplayer characters’ faces all look the same in the different classes?
Hmm…I wouldn’t say the look the same, because there are differences, i.e. some of the classes don’t even have faces, there are different races etc. But to your point, there is always a matter of prioritization when creating content for a game. In this case we thought we’d better spend our time on polishing the rest of the game and having more destructible content than tweaking the faces of some soldiers that you either way end up sniping from hundred meters away!
Have you contributed to the multiplayer maps? Did you have any real world vistas and locations in mind?
As a Technical Art Director I was involved in all maps in one way or another. Both with the layout of the maps but also the look.
Yes, in many cases we had real world vistas and locations in mind. We use real photo references for almost all our maps, but many times we only extract smaller pieces of a real world location or modify locations so they fit in our gameplay but also our Art Direction.
What are you currently working on (it it can be disclosed)? Are you part of the team developing M.O.H. multiplayer?
I know it’s a bit boring but, unfortunately I can’t say what I’m working on right now. And no, I’m not a part of the M.O.H multiplayer dev team either so…I guess I have nothing to share with you about my current work.
But as with all games, I’m pretty sure you’ll find out sooner or later.
You have worked on Mirror’s Edge which has been hailed as a groundbreaking title in terms of gameplay and art. Do you think it had the success it deserved?
No, because I love Mirror’s Edge. I love the whole concept of it. I think that the Art Style is amazing, the sound is inspiring and the idea of this female parkour heroine is very compelling to me. I love the feeling of running over the rooftops, feeling the adrenaline in my body and the feeling of freedom that this game offers. Yes, it has its weaknesses and there are things that could have been improved but I think Mirrors Edge is unique and I’d love more people to experience it.
Are you a video games fan yourself? All-time and current faves?
Yes, I love videogames, but unfortunately, I don’t play as much as I’d like today, so for the moment I don’t have a current favorite…except for BFBC2 of course!
Some of my all time favorites are:
• Diablo 1-2
• Resident evil 4
• Half Life 1-2
• Warcraft series
• A lot of the LucasArts games: Monkey Island, Day Of The Tentacle etc.
Do you work exclusively on computer, or do you also draw on paper?
At work it’s almost exclusively only computer, besides during building times when I clutter the most bizarre things…haha. But at home I try to draw on paper as much as I can. It is important for me to maintain that part of my artistic skill and not rely exclusively on computers.
What are your influences (art, movies, comics, … whatever).
When I grew up, one of my greatest inspirations has always been the Disney movies. My dream was to become a Disney animator. I still love the cartoon movies, especially by the great PIXAR studio, but overall I really enjoy the creativity that is put into these movies.
Overall I get really inspired from stuff that are pushing the boundaries within their genre. E.g. Avatar is a great example in the movie industry. Watching that, makes me want to stretch the boundaries in what I do.
When it comes to art, I’m always looking for new artworks and artists on the web. There are so many talented people out there that influence me it would be unfair to mention one.
Thank you very much for your time. Got anything to say to all the BFBC2 fans out there?
It may sound a bit cliché, but knowing there are people out there that enjoy what you do and that seem to care about what you do, really makes my work meaningful and all the hard work worthwhile. So I would like to say a big “thank you” for buying and playing our games and for showing your support out there on the forums. Keep it up and we’ll do our best to make even greater games in the future!
- Interview by Field Operative 2010