Hey, Ivo. Please, tell us a little about yourself.
I kind of always wanted to work in games, but was told to choose some "proper job", or that the games industry is a career full of stress and long hours. Well, what can I say, I am not really a person who'd get excited by a 9 to 5 job, so at one point I just said "screw it" and applied for a position at Bohemia. I got rejected. So I applied for another position later that year and, well, here we are. I have worked at Bohemia for some two years now, but my first project was the Take on Mars launch trailer. That project was insanely fun, so much so that I basically stayed in the office with the TKOM team for the next year and a half.
Can you tell us a random fact about yourself...
I used to work in a comic book store. Super fun period in my life, but it made me hate the Big Bang Theory.
What was your first positive interaction with video games, that you can remember?
Oh man, only one? One of the first would probably be Gothic, I guess. I played a ton of games before that, of course, but Gothic absolutely blew me away by the level of open world freedom it offered at that time. Also, it had just a dash of that cheeky humour that makes fighting inevitable extinction by the hands of evil old gods bearable.
And your most memorable video game moment?
That would definitely be the moment in Knights of the Old Republic. I had never watched Star Wars before playing KotOR, and when I got to the "I am your father" bit I couldn't understand what the fuss was about. It was such a puny reveal in comparison to that KotOR moment. Also, I once did an environmental quintuple kill in Overwatch.
What's your all-time favourite video game? And what sort of game do you like to play generally?
I don't know if I have one all-time favourite honestly. The Dragon Age series would be on the candidate list, and so would Mass Effect or The Witcher. This year, I got blown away by Hellblade. I guess it is clear that I really enjoy story driven RPGs and choice and consequence mechanics.
What's the worst — or most memorable — bug you've come across in a video game?
Is there anything better than trigger-happy nukes-wielding Ghandi in Civilization? But really, in Knights of the Old Republic 2, all textures on Ebon Hawk sometimes changed to rainbow, making for a seriously trippy experience. Also, people leaving Earth on mortars in Arma 3 definitely deserve a mention.
What's your favourite movie, TV show, and/or book?
My favourite TV show? Firefly for sure, big damn heroes dammit! From newer stuff I think that Sense8 would, ahem, steal the show. As for movies, that's tough, there are too many. But from the new ones, if you haven't yet seen The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by the Coen brothers, go and fix that. You can thank me later. I also really liked Sicario – Roger Deakins made each shot of that film into an art piece.
So, as a Video Artist, what do you do?
That can change quite a lot, but generally I make trailers for our games, update videos, dev diaries, and sometimes handle live streams. The actual workflow differs greatly from project to project; it is fundamentally different work to make a trailer in Arma than to make it in DayZ. But generally, I figure out with our publishing folks what they're after and then work out with the team of that specific project what is possible, how we can achieve it, and whether we can expect some changes in the game itself to be made. Often I am working with an unfinished version of the game quite some time before it hits gold, so some planning wizardry is almost always involved.
What do you enjoy about your job, and game development in general?
I really enjoy the passion and creativity of our community. I put out a trailer and it literally takes minutes for someone to make some sort of amazing remix. The first thing that appeared on Reddit after we released the Jets trailer was a version with Danger Zone replacing our music track. And somehow it just worked. After Laws of War, someone instantly re-edited the trailer with clips by SovietWomble and ZF – I was literally crying with laughter watching that. And the other way around, sometimes I am watching community-made videos and just wonder "how the hell they did this or that?" I think it's safe to say that no other medium has such a passionate and engaged audience, every single day I am inspired and humbled by our community creators and that just feels amazing. Another thing is that it's just great to work with people who like to play and create and who come from such a wide array of backgrounds!
What has been your favourite ever video game trailer, and why? (Question by Dean Darlington)
In general it's tough to say, there are so many great trailers produced every day. The Mass Effect 2 launch trailer was amazing. Assassin's Creed Black Flag had a trailer called "the heist" that was insanely pumped. Choose Life AC Odyssey live action trailer was a great and fun concept. Pretty much anything Blizzard puts out there is a masterpiece. Death Stranding trailers will really leave you thinking. Battlefield V's Devastation of Rotterdam will knock your sock off. Hellblade also had some absolutely fantastic trailers that I respect even more knowing Melina Juergens somehow managed to give a BAFTA-winning performance as Senua and still see to her video editing duties. From the trailers I made, the Laws of War DLC reveal trailer and Tanks DLC trailer are my most favourite, especially because I think we really managed to pull off something we ourselves weren't sure is even possible in the beginning.
How much work / time does it cost to create one video trailer? (Question by @A3_Melle)
This is vastly different from project to project. Some trailers might be quick and easy, some take months. Sometimes this is because of technological specifics (it just takes more time to set up multiple planes to do what you want than multiple tanks). Other times this might be because we are venturing into "unexplored realms". For example, with the Laws of War trailer, we ditched huge bits of the video and created new ones because the message simply didn't work the way we envisioned. Some trailers might require motion capture and voice acting, some might not. Some might have music composed specifically for that purpose, some might use one of our existing tracks.
What advice would you give to others just starting out? (Question by @alexdsut)
Practice, fail, learn, and – most importantly – be proactive in getting in. Are there maybe some local events, like conferences and meetups? Attend those. You'll learn a lot and you'll get to know people. It is a great difference if you go for an interview and have it with people you never met, or people you already know from events like these. Maybe join IGDA, especially if they organise such events in your area. They also organise mentor cafés and can pair you for meetings with industry experts that can teach you a ton and point you the right way. Read some Gamasutra. And remember that no matter what your field of interest is, you don't have to be in a school or in a studio to be able to practice it. You can grab an online course or a book – Unreal Engine, Unity, or Eden editor (wink wink), and create away!
Is there anything else you're currently working on in your spare time?
I moved recently so my spare time now consists of putting together IKEA furniture. Seriously, I'm having dreams about constructing wardrobes. Aside from that there is a backlog of books and films, and I also try to broaden my knowledge about areas of gamedev I don't understand so well, like level design.
To finish, tell us one of Ivo's Top Tips...
If you find fade-touched silverite in Dragon Age: Inquisition, you can craft a staff that generates armor on attack, basically creating a tank mage that is so hard to kill it ain't pretty.
Our next Featured Bohemian is right around the corner, so keep an eye on our social media pages for the latest updates. But until then, feel free to learn more about working at Bohemia Interactive by checking out our Careers Page – we may just have the perfect job opening for you. Until next time...