RedKeas is our concept artist and is currently working on Irena Genesis Metal Fury for the SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive. Thanks to her talents and drawing expertise, she is helping us to conceive the visual aspects of the game. She imagines the main characters from a physical perspective which has proven to add depth to the Irena universe. Concept art plays a major role in the development stage of a video game. Through this interview, discover who RedKeas is, her artistic vision and her plans for the future working with White Ninja Studio.
Hi RedKeas! Thanks for agreeing to answer these questions for the White Ninja Studio website. I'm sure that players will be happy to know who is behind the concept art of Irena Genesis Metal Fury and future productions of the studio. Could you describe yourself and explain to us what led you to the field of video game art specifically?
Hi! I'm RedKeas and I'm a video game concept artist. I live in France and I've had a passion for video games, comics and manga for as long as I can remember. I chose to pursue video game art simply because it's a media that I grew up with and that I have loved it since I was a child.
As you well know, at White Ninja Studio we love classic games and that's why we decided to develop games on old consoles including mainly the SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive. What do you enjoy about working on a retro project?
The nostalgea; I have much affection for the consoles of my childhood. Working on a retro project gives me the impression of going back in time.
Over the years an aura has been created around the SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive and is now well established on the homebrew / indie scene. Could you share with us when you first discovered it? What are your favorite games?
I discovered the SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive and retrogaming later in life as a teenager. My first games were Sonic 2, Mortal Kombat, Streets of Rage and Tetris!
Not very original, but I always liked Sonic, the gore side of Mortal Kombat (which gave me chills) and Monster World IV.
Would you be interested in playing games on other consoles such as the Master System, Saturn or Dreamcast which are also excellent consoles?
Dreamcast yes; I've always found it fun (although I think not everyone agrees).
And what about Super Nintendo, which is still the big rival of Genesis today? Do you have a preference for one of them?
I will disappoint more than one but I have a preference for Nintendo; my first consoles being the Nintendo 64 and the Super Nintendo. I naturally continued with their portable consoles. I have always been very attached to J-RPG and Nintendo content.
The concept artist is a key element to give soul to a game. Since you have been working with White Ninja Studio, your progress has been consistent and is building an ever stronger identity to the universe of IRENA. Can you share with us your vision for this game?
When I work on IRENA, I put myself in the shoes of a 13-14 year old kid in the 80s: I imagine bright colors, flickering lights, exaggerated shapes and a modern style. This kitch-like genre is a combination of nostalgia and modern techniques which has given me a clear artistic direction for IRENA.
Sci-fi is a genre that is characteristic of IRENA's universe. Are there any movies or TV shows thathave influenced your work?
Terminator, Alien, Star Trek, Ghost in the Shell, and Pitch Black mainly.
Lately, you have produced excellent illustrations representing three female characters (Celina, Valkun and Kayshan) wearing Genesis outfits with generously shaped bodies. For any fan of the console, it's a real favorite. How did you come up with this idea?
This is part of a Meme that I saw where we compared the usefulness of a console and that of a human being, so I said to myself, if I need to choose, choose both! It started from nothing, then I took reference images for the console, the outfit formed quite "quickly" after 3-4 tests and several adjustments along the way. Why choose?
When IRENA's Kickstarter campaign was announced, we mentioned the presence of an Artbook planned for the collector's edition which will be produced by you. Can you give us some details about this work that you are preparing and your wishes as an artist?
This ArtBook will be a collection of the artistic direction taken for the game with concept, comments, illustrations and some surprises! I would like people not to see it simply as a book with illustrations but as a diary that traces the artistic choices that the team made; drafts, failures, successes and of course exclusive illustrations that I created with great pleasure.
Have you ever imagined a game, a universe or a concept on which you would like to work?
Yes (many actually), but I have ideas and drafts for a small 3D or low poly game in a style that is reminiscent of the first Nintendo DS games. It's not quite retro, but I grew up on this console and I really like its aesthetics. I'm interested to see if this type of content could become popular.
For the last question, can you share with us your ambitions and projects for the coming years?
Above all to use my passion as an artist as my main profession. I don't have the ambition to work for AAA games but rather stay on the indie market with small, creative and inventive projects. To continue to learn Pixel Art (With OHKO our super GFX Designer) and 3D; But in the immediate future I would like to continue working with White Ninja Studio; we are forming a super small team and it works very well! I aspire to new adventures with them!