Team Focus – Gregory Wasdyke Apr 25 - TheFeelTrain
We're back this time on Team Focus with the man himself, Greg Wasdyke. Greg is one of the leads on the project, overseeing both the 3D modeling and the sound design of the game. Let's dive right into the inner machinations of his mind..
Q: Who are you and what’s your role at Installation 01?
A: Ayy, I am one of the art leads and I guess I’m also the sound designer on this dang ol' project. I’ve mainly been focusing on revising the UNSC assets for the sake of parity and getting art/ style guides together.
Q: Art and sound design? Those seem completely unrelated to each other. How did you manage to get into both of those areas?
A: Well, I’ve been doing 3d art since I was about 9 years old, and I’ve been doing animation in the form of stop motion since I was maybe 6 or 7. My end goal is to direct films... Well my REAL end goal is to get commercial art to rely less on satiating broad demographic groups with huge multimillion dollar coin tosses, and focus more on a bunch of smaller lower budget projects that are allowed to be more esoteric but also grow more concentrated and devoted followers. Becoming half decent at multiple mediums are stepping stones to this lofty ass goal, so I ended up studying a bunch of stuff like voice acting, sound design, musical composition, illustration, modeling, animation, and writing. Writing for entertainment, not proper academic writing. You should be able to tell by how this s**t’s formatted. The tradeoff for spending so much time trying to get decent at this s**t is that I can’t do basic sums.
Q: Did you end up pursuing a degree in film?
A: I’ve got a BFA in animation right now, which honestly I’m not even sure if I have. I was supposed to get one in the mail, but I can’t remember if it ever showed up. By the way, Philadelphia University of the Arts now has an excellent interactive/realtime art major that they set in motion the year after I graduated! Can’t seem to catch a break from these guys. I started in a 4 year program with film, expecting to take it all the way. The film department didn’t like that I just wanted to make movies full of robots and dismemberment, so I transferred to Animation and never looked back.
Q: Yet you ended up here in game development. How does your passion in film translate to Installation 01? Did it help you get onto the team?
A: Me and my friend of myself have been working on a screenplay adaptation for The Fall of Reach since 2007 on and off. It’s something we both genuinely want to finish, regardless of what happens. This little pet project has been keeping me in the space of interpreting Halo and I’ve become a tad obsessed with it. My first project like this was working on Solitude, which was a total conversion mod of Quake meant for the PSP. I stopped doing that sorta stuff for about 5 years and then made a Halo 1 style shotgun on a whim. I don’t really recall how the shotgun got the team’s attention, but they took me on when it did.
Q: Moving back into art, what sort of aethstetic is Installation 01 going for? A lot of people have been asking whether we prefer 343’s or Bungie’s style.
A: We prefer NEITHER.
Seriously though, the work our artists create are only gonna be reflections of our own tastes, which aren’t always 100% in line with how Bungie’s artists think. I mean, we’re entirely separate human beings. This is why 343’s work tends to have gone in its own direction too. Those artists are just straight up different people with different tastes and different experiences and different life end goals. The stuff that comes out of their pens isn’t gonna look like the stuff that comes out of other artist’s pens. That being said, I do think we should find our own identity while still making this a proper love letter to the people in history who have contributed to the creation of Halo.
The only way I believe we can do this is by understanding the inspiration that Halo was born from. Ron Cobb and Syd Mead’s work on the first two Alien movies. The illustrations of Moebius. Even Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell gets a ton nods in Bungie’s work. Notice how the ghosts in Destiny have interchangeable shells? Also, those Walker tanks. Come on. They’re practically just rounded spider tanks. Also DEFINITELY peep the Trojan exoskeleton suit from the 1988 anime adaptation of Starship Troopers. It will look very familiar to you. Halo’s got a lot of different influences, and I don’t think one can do the series service if they don’t know or respect the roots of its look. Personally I don’t think “Bungie’s style” is a carrot that can be chased. It’s an amalgam of many different passions and walks of life among many different people. It’s best to go back to the source and use it to feel our way through our own look.
Q: In a single sentence, describe what it’s like to be a part of Installation 01?
A: It’s pretty soft, and a little wet. Another sentence could be “ It’s Powerful, large, deep, and beautiful.”
Q: Any advice to give to the young kiddos who have their sights set on Installation 01 or game development in general?
A: It’s not easy, but it’s fun. Be prepared to cooperate with people and compromise, but also prepare to defend every decision you want to make. By this, I mean make a case for yourself. Don’t throw a s**tfit when someone disagrees with your idea. Break the idea down and explain why it has value. Clout means nothing if you’re an asshole to people. Also for God’s sake, if you have ideas, know how to execute them. Hideo Kojima had a lot of game ideas, so he learned how to code. He’s not just an ideas guy. Idea guys are dead weight. There’s no place for idea guys.
A big shoutout and thanks to Greg for taking the time to give such thorough answers. If you you're not an idea guy and you're willing to forge something new and beautiful in the wake of Bungie's legacy, you can apply over at our Join Us page.