Meet Ben - Cinematic Designer
So, what made you make the move to Vancouver from sunny Santiago?
I first came to Canada to study Graphic Design at BCIT about ten years ago, then I went back to Chile to do Graphic Design for a bit, but I got bored man. The work felt really samey for me. I always wanted to get into the video game industry, but I didn’t know how to program, I didn’t know how to do any of the classic video game jobs.
You’ve always wanted to work in games, I take it you’re an avid gamer?
Yeah, I used to play competitive Counter-Strike way back when. It was crazy fun. My team was one of the top two teams in Chile. We won a lot of tournaments, but you got paid in joysticks and keyboards and stuff. Impossible to make a living out of that!
Any other games that were a big influence on you?
Honestly loads, the list is massive. Standouts would be Quake, Street Fighter, World of Warcraft, and Oblivion. Oblivion in particular, that moment when you leave the sewers for the first time and you look around with that feeling of wonder, I was like …wow… I remember that feeling very particularly, and thought, that is the kind of feeling that I want to evoke in people.
How did you actually make it into the video game industry?
I always loved film, so I figured I’d go for film and editing and try to get into video games that way. So I packed my bags and came back to BC to study film at Vancouver Film School. I worked my ass off and my teacher ended up recommending me for an internship at Relic as a Render Wrangler, which is basically someone who checks status of renders and organizes them for the team. Thing is, there wasn’t that much to render wrangle, so I thought I’d make myself useful and learn how to use the cinematic tools, specifically the in-engine cinematics for COH2. I got into actually producing videos from there.
What’s your favorite project you’ve done at Relic?
I created and directed most of the COH2 trailers, and I love them, because it’s kind of where I grew up. Two of my favourites are the Western Front Armies trailers. There’s a funny story with those trailers, as I had free reign to do whatever I wanted, but I only had a month or so to finish them. So naturally I completely overscoped myself while I was still learning the tools, and ended up having to crunch big time.
Outside of work, what do you get up to?
My non-gaming hobbies are photography and biking. Vancouver’s gorgeous, and there’s plenty of great rides around here, so it’s great for both honestly. I also hang out with buddies from work quite a bit, we play D&D regularly, or have a video game night or whatever.
Favourite Relic game?
That’s tough man. To play right now, it has to be COH2, but I’ve definitely played DOW II the most. I racked up a stupid amount of hours in that game.
Pressure time. Before we go, say something super deep and poignant about your work.
I’m a big believer that game trailers are supposed to convey the emotions that the audience should feel when actually playing the game. Truth.