At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, fans got the chance to meet and mingle with several of the artists behind Magic Pixel Games and Namco Bandai’s upcoming card battler, Outcast Odyssey. Considering many of these artists have worked on comics in the past it seemed appropriate, and it was also the first time they got to meet each other. We spoke with two of the artists, Warren Louw and Chuck Pires, about their careers, their work on the game, and how posting your drawings on the internet can lead to bigger and better things.
148Apps: How did you begin your careers as artists?
Warren Louw: I’m pretty much just a blend between East and West. My style is a combination of Western comic artists like J. Scott Campbell, Michael Turner, and Adam Hughes crossed with some of the artists from the Far East like Tetsuya Nomura’s work on Final Fantasy VII and VIII. and Takuji Kawano who did the art for Soulcalibur. In South Africa, I got to the point where I started developing a style that was being recognized globally. Eventually I was being contacted by the bigger companies out there and started getting my work published. Things just grew and grew from there.
Chuck Pires: Around 14 or 15 I got started mostly doing comic colors. There was a studio called Hi-Fi design that did work for Marvel at the time. They were looking for comic colorists to put some stuff online and at the time all I wanted in the world was to be published so I responded. It was all just separation work, basic colors and layout, anybody could do it. But for a 15 or 16-year-old kid it was my dream come true. That got me more interested in digital art.
148Apps: How did you get involved with Outcast Odyssey?
Warren: They actually first contacted me through DeviantArt. I’m not too active over there but I’m glad I actually checked when I did. I was so excited that Namco Bandai was contacting me I decided to really put as much work and effort as I could into that first illustration just to make sure that I blew them away.
Chuck: For the last year or so I started posting more of my own work again on social media websites. They found me through a site like that and said, “This is what we’re doing and would you like to be a part of it?” I said yes.
148Apps: What’s the experience been like providing art for the game?
Warren: It’s been pretty awesome. Knowing that I’m doing work for Namco Bandai has been a huge inspiration and drive behind doing the very best I could. Also, working with a team that is pretty much on the same page in terms of vision for the cards was great. Honestly, I think I’ve put in a little more work than I should have because it may have cost me time that I might have been able to put into another card. But the process from start to finish was really quite exciting. They kind of leave us to our own devices. I’m pretty much doing the sexy women and other artists are focused on the dragons and more masculine warriors.
Chuck: Honestly, it’s kind of been almost a dream job. I’m sure a lot of people say that, but really working with them has been exactly what I needed so far right when I needed it. In game work, you really don’t have a lot of creative freedom as far as what the character looks like. Usually there are a lot of criteria that need to be met. But the neat thing about this is pretty much everything gets used. There aren’t a lot of ideas that get tossed out. With a new project I always just shotgun the ideas out there. So for one of my first cards for them I had four different guys lined up. They have to like one of these, right? Then they send me back a message that says, “Okay do those.” I’m like, “Which one?” All of them. They were all incorporated in the game. But I will get some feedback like “You can’t show that much of the Demon Queen’s butt.”
148Apps: Have you gotten a chance to play the game yet? What do you think?
Warren: At the convention I managed to mess around with it. In the beginning it takes a bit of getting used to. But even during that process, when you’re not sure what is going on, you’re actually having a lot of fun just getting into it, visually taking in everything that’s happening, battling these creatures, wandering across the map, and finding these hidden chests. It’s a very catchy game, and it’s one you’ll be spending a lot of time having fun with, even before you know how exactly the game works, which is a really good thing.
Chuck: It’s definitely got that mix of you start playing and you’re like “this is kind of fun or whatever” but then you notice you’ve been playing it for a while. This could take over someone’s life. That’s good to know. I have a lot of high hopes.
Outcast Odyssey is currently in a soft launch phase in New Zealand and will be launching worldwide soon. Thanks again to Warren and Chuck for their time.