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"When we remember the characters we loved as children, we get an idea of the impact characters have on us"
An interview with Mathieu Granjon
In this issue:
Apart from that, I’m still working for Ubisoft, after having finished "AC 3" MP. But once again I can’t reveal more, other than to say that it will be amazing!
CE: Thank you Mathieu Granjon. Please check out Mathieu's links for more of his great work:
CE: In 2010 you started "BanBan GuGu". Tell us what "BanBan GuGu" is about.
MG: I started this project for one reason only. During my professional work, I don't do what I studied for... illustrating, so I decided to create a website where I can post my personal illustration work.
The traditional blog platform was too complicated for me, and so I created a really simple html site, with images and a few texts only. The main idea is to build a universe and a story by introducing one new character at a time, as well as a new part of the story, in the form of a strip. But there are no hard and fast rules. If I feel like doing an image without narrative, I simply do that. The same goes for the style. This project is a good opportunity for me to test a lot of ways of making images. The only rule I have is... always in 2D!
CE: For the last 3 years you have worked on Ubisoft's "Assassin’s Creed" franchise. How did you become involved with these "Assassin’s Creed" productions, which titles have you worked on, and what were your roles?
MG: I have worked for Ubisoft Annecy as an art studio director and art manager since December 2008. I have been working on the “Assassin’s Creed” brand ever since.
First I was in charge of the art direction, technical art design and a part of the game design of the city of Monteriggioni and the Villa Auditore for “Assassin’s Creed II”, in collaboration with the Montréal studio. It was our first step in the Assassin’s brand, but I am really proud of this small city, and many players love it.
CE: Could you tell us a little bit about how you started out. You studied at Ecole Emile Cohl. What did you study and what were your professional plans?
MG: I graduated from the Emile Cohl Art School, which is a really good place to study when it comes to professionalism. All the teachers are professionals, and they teach everything from very academic art to digital painting, animation, 3D, video games and other such subjects.
When I enrolled, it was my dream to create 3D images, but I quickly realized that drawing and illustrating would become my reason to live. For my final piece, I made an animated short film, I graduated with honors, and one week later I started to work at Infogrames, Lyon. Ever since I was child, I had wanted to work for a video game company.
Mathieu Granjon has been working on Ubisoft's “Assassin's Creed” franchise in various capacities such as Art Director, Technical Art Director, Art Manager, Game Content Director and Studio Art Director, to name but a few. Characters Engage spoke to this very talented, dynamic and versatile French artist about his work on “Assassin's Creed” and his interesting personal projects.
After "AC 2", well actually at the same time, because these 2 productions overlapped, I also worked on "AC Brotherhood", the multiplayer part. We created the entire multiplayer game in Annecy, based on the solo engine.
On the multiplayer part, I was responsible for the complete art direction, which included backgrounds, characters, menus, UI, player feedback systems, special effects and costume design.
I was also the Light and Ambiance artist for all the maps, created new shaders for the multiplayer characters, which fitted our multiplayer constraints better, and I did all the visual effects.
Together with my teams, we created 2 totally new workflows for characters and maps, from the concept art to the 3D. I have also done a lot of work with the marketing team, ahead of the launch of the Multiplayer in 2010. It was the latest big thing at the time. One of my biggest challenges was to rebuild an art team from scratch. I also did a lot of managerial tasks during that period.
In 2011, I worked on the "AC Revelation" Multiplayer. It was pretty much the same mission, but with many more tasks concerning game design validation and overall game content supervision. In 2012, it was the same tasks again for the "AC III" Multiplayer, with the added official role of Game Content Director, beside the art part. I finished working on it in August.
At the moment, it is no more than a site, but I’m working on the main story, and a game version. I'm also considering a short movie or a comic. I'm free to do whatever I want with this property.
CE: What are you working on now? Apart from your work on "Assassin's Creed" 3 MP, is there something our readers can look out for?
MG: Well, I have 4 personal projects. Apart from "BanBan GuGu", there are 3 others I really want to try to turn into something. I can’t really give any details, but one of them will start this year (2012 – 2013). I can, though, say that none of these projects are conventional. They all have really new things to propose. Oh, and all of them are video game projects, of course.