Developer Interview 1: Alex Iglesias
MechWarrior® Online™: Can you give us brief bio?
Alex Iglesias: I’m presently living in Miami, FL. Am 27 years old, and graduated with a BFA in illustration from Ringling School of Art and Design, plus took a few courses at Gnomon school of visual arts. Previously worked at Day 1 Studios, Ignition Entertainment, and have done a bit of freelance. Links: flyingdebris.deviantart.com is where my art is at. firstname.lastname@example.org is my email http://twitter.com/Flyingdebrisguy is my twitter
MWO: Your deviant art profile says all Mechs all the time... so how long have you been drawing Mechs?
AI: If my memory serves me correctly, it started all the way back somewhere between 1994 and 1996, so about 15-17 years.
MWO: What do you have against furries? http://flyingdebris.deviantart.com/gallery/?catpath=scraps#/d488kxr
AI: Haha, Well, for the record I don’t hate all of them. I’ve actually been friends with a few over the years. It’s mostly just the subculture as a whole that makes my brain hurt. If anything, it’s for the all the horrible eye scarring artwork it tends to fill the internet with, and how defensive it gets whenever called on it.
MWO: What is your first MechWarrior® experience? Video games or BattleTech®?
AI: Oddly enough, I believe my first experience was with the Somerset Strikers cartoon which sparked my curiosity, followed by the sega genesis game, then MechWarrior® 2 Mercs.
MWO: Did you start drawing Mechs after that or did you always draw giant robots?
AI: The Mech stuff started probably after the sega game, or MW2mercs, but became a serious habit once I started getting into the novels at around 12 or 13. However, I’ve always liked drawing exploding combat stuff as best as I can recall, the earliest art I remember making were crazy looking crayon doodles of stick figure airplanes and tanks blowing each other up when I was 4.
MWO: How did you get involved with Catalyst Game Labs™?
AI: By pure luck. Around late 2007, Mike Vaillancourt contacted me because he wanted a few illustrations for one of the Cthulhutech books. Afterwards, throughout most of 2008 he kept asking if I was going to go to Gencon that August and hang out at the booth. I was consistently unsure, and pretty much at the last minute decided, “Why not? sure.” What I had not realized was that 2 weeks prior, his company had partnered with Catalyst Game Labs™, and that we were going to be at their booth. Additionally, I also did not know at the time that Catalyst was comprised almost entirely of ex FASA writers and staff. Imagining that I might be at the booth for hours I brought my crappy laptop and a wacom tablet with me to kill time. When I actually got to the booth, Mike began introducing me to people, when I started recognizing names from the credits or covers of BT books from years prior. After my barely controlled mental regression to being suddenly 15 again, I guess I sensed it was a good time to start drawing Mech stuff right then and there. It apparently impressed their art director, Brent Evans, and a few months later I’m getting assignments to do book covers.
MWO: What was your reaction after seeing the first reboot trailer that Piranha Games did back in 2009?
AI: At the time, I was working up in Chicago. The day the trailer hit the net, I seem to recall cheering, there were probably yells of “YES, FINALLY,” “YEAH! MECHS ARE BACK!” as well as jealous grumbles of “damn, why am I not working on that?!”
MWO: How did Piranha Games contact you? Were you surprised?
AI: I found an email in my inbox back in July from Bryan Ekman, asking me if I was interested in working on the project. Not sure if “surprised” covers it properly. The reaction was closer to, well…imagine being a little kid and Santa Claus shows up and says he wants your help to save Christmas, it felt something like that.
MWO: How do you feel about redesigning these iconic Mechs?
AI: It’s a lot of fun and sometimes very challenging. With certain Mechs it’s a small matter of adjusting some proportions, or making certain fixes so that the art matches the specs/gameplay, with others, it’s nearly a complete overhaul of the design. In both cases though, I always try to emphasize the aspects of the original design that make it interesting and immediately recognizable, add certain minor doodads here and there, and downplay or replace the elements that either I’m not too fond of or don’t work well for the game. Through all of this, I also try to respect the years worth of art for those designs that came before mine.
MWO: What do you think about the fan reaction?
AI: Pleasantly surprised, people seem to be talking MechWarrior® again, sharing their past experiences, rebuilding old clans of players, and to my understanding, it seems even the 50 year old guys are coming out of the woodwork to organize their favourite factions again. I’m especially pleased to see the old mpbt3025 beta players popping up.
MWO: How would you describe the style you have applied to the Mechs to reboot them?
AI: For the most part, it’s trying to give the impractical the semblance of practicality with a little bit of real world military stylistic elements mixed in.
MWO: Are there any Mechs that you are scared of rebooting?
AI: Probably the Timberwolf, I know that if I mess that one up, I will never hear the end of it, and will probably have to try to outrun a few pitchfork wielding mobs.
MWO: Are there any Mechs you can't wait to redesign? Why?
AI: I really want to redesign the Mechs with bizarre legs that seem to defy physics in some sense, like the Stalker or Black Python, in order to fix the problem. Aside from that, basically any historically awkward or generic looking Mech that has usually been overlooked in favour of the cool looking ones, I’d love to polish them up, and bring out the cool factor for them.
MWO: You have allot of fans in the community and It didn't take them long to identify your style on the ISN twitter feed have you received allot of questions about the product?
AI: I did have a few emails and messages from people asking about my involvement, and a few people on the websites I frequent trying to call me out to get me talking, had to pretty much lay low with my mouth shut for all of October.
MWO: Was that ISN puzzle thing fun to watch?
AI: It was fun, especially since I really had no idea which pieces were going to be released or when. But yeah, I still have no clue how some people were seeing an Archer in the Atlas fragments.
MWO: Being a fan of MechWarrior® and a creator of MechWarrior® how do you retain your inner fan boy when this is your job?
AI: Mostly it’s just a matter of channelling that fan boy energy directly into my job. Sure, I am drawing for MechWarrior® because It pays my bills (damn art school loans), but also because it’s something that I love, and really want to eventually play. So that inner fan boy isn’t in danger of going away any time soon, it’s too busy being the creative power supply in my head.