Hey everyone. Well, we are knee-deep in the beta testing, tracking and fixing bugs. I thought I would take a break and talk about a few of the folks that came in later in the project and made a huge difference!
When we were working on Shadowgate, I was talking with a friend who owns a recording studio here in town about my need for a female voice over artist. He suggested a woman named Betsy Brantley, who lived close by. She came in and did a great job as the lieutenant and while she looked familiar, I didn’t think anything of it. When we were talking about having Argonus use a narrator throughout the game (as if creating an epic Greek poem/story), I immediately thought of Betsy. Not only is she one of the nicest people I have ever met but she can read a phone book and make it sound compelling! I had finished the dialogue and brought her in and asked for a voice that sounded a bit like Cate Blanchet from LoTR. Sure enough she nailed it! It was then that I realized where I had seen her before – she was in Princess Bride. We talked a bit about it and how she was the acting model for Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I can’t say enough about what Betsy has meant to me and our game. I’ve played many a title where the voice over distracted from the game but Betsy’s voice simply enhances it!
I also wanted a voice that would represent the player – Argonus. We would bring this voice in when the player is recording major events in the game in their journal. For this, I found a great V.O. talent in Aris Gerontakis… as in Aristotle lol. Perfect. He does, in fact, live in Greece and was very excited about the project. Aris gave me quite the range of Greek accents and we settled on something that was in the middle of the road and perfect for our character. He ended up doing the voices for all of the gods in the game as well. Super sweet guy and just a joy to work with!
Even though Argonus and the Gods of Stone is a 3D game, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for 2D art. I spent a TON of time talking with artists online about working on the project. Most of these fine folks can be found in a great FB group called Daily Spitpaint where artists are given a topic and 30 minutes to complete a speed paint or sketch. Brilliant – you should check it out! Anyway, I met an artist named Nabetse Zitro on the site and asked if he would create illustrations for the same journal entries that Aris was doing the voice over for. He said yes and has really exceeded my expectations for the game. His understanding of human (and non-human lol) anatomy is just amazing. After he had finished all the art for the game, I asked if we could include his character sketches as a separate DLC and he was open to that as well. I’m excited to make that available to players!
Lastly, I wanted to take a few of these sketches and bring them to life for marketing materials. On the same Spit Paint group, I met Steve Hamilton and loved his broad-brushed painting style. Nabetse agreed that Steve’s style would be perfect for painting over his pencils. The Argonus image on the main Zojoi page is the culmination of Nabetse and Steve’s work and I couldn’t be happier! Steve just finished another overpaint of Athena saving Argonus from drowning and I’ll be showing that off soon. Lastly, Steve is working on some new loading screen paintings and they, of course, are wonderful.
I don’t think there is anything I enjoy more than finding and hiring talent. Whether it is an artist, animator, programmer, intern rigger, it doesn’t matter. Giving folks a chance (and paying them) to get involved in a project I’m passionate about and seeing that same passion is the best feeling. Now if I can just find that artist who can turn our characters into a great Jack Kirby-esqe comic illustration, my life would be complete!
Next post will be talking a bit about the beta process. Thanks for reading!