QD & ME – ÉMILIE MOULINIÉ
QD: Please introduce yourself! What’s your name, where are you from, and what is your role at QD?
Émilie: Hello! My name is Emilie Moulinié, I’m 29 years old and in March 2021 it will be 5 years since I joined Quantic Dream. I first spent 2 years in the Lighting team – which obviously manages every light effect in our games – working on Detroit: Become Human. Initially I trained as an Environmental Artist – I love working on atmosphere and lights – so in order to learn new things and discover new challenges, I then asked to join the Set team, which is in charge of all the environments!
QD: How did you come to work in the video games industry? Was it a lifelong dream, or did you luckily stumble into it?
Émilie: It’s really a childhood dream, but when I was younger, this industry seemed inaccessible to me. For a while I wanted to become a graphic designer, so I joined the communication and graphic design school E-art Sup, in Paris. There, I was able to discover the brand new Game Design training program, and because I’ve always liked video games, I thought it could be interesting! It was also at this time in my life that I played Heavy Rain and it was a real lightning bolt. As I was playing this game, I thought to myself that I really wanted to work in this business and take part in transmitting strong emotions through the creation of detailed, cinematic environments, with ever more crafted atmospheres. But I realised that if I really wanted to work in video games, I would have to go to a slightly more specialised school, so after two years at E-art Sup, I went to Supinfogame, in Valenciennes (France), for three years. When I left school, I did my 6-month end-of-study internship at Cyanide, then when I saw the offer from Lighting Artist at Quantic Dream, I was super motivated and I went for it! I admit I sent them a lot of resumes, ha ha! But I always really liked the studio, so I took my chance and got my first job as a Lighting Artist on Detroit: Become Human. .
QD: Let’s talk about your job at Quantic Dream! Could you elaborate more on your role, and the role of your team?
Émilie: Basically, the Set team is, as you can tell, in charge of creating the sets, but also textures, the setting up, sometimes even the general lighting style. Our job is to push the quality of a set to the maximum in order to retranscribe as well as possible the atmosphere and details as imagined in the concept arts and adhere to the global artistic direction. And of course, to make sure that everything we do is above all optimised for the game.
QD: Tell us more about the members of your team. Any fun story to share?
Émilie: Mmm, I must admit that at the beginning it wasn’t necessarily easy; I’m the only woman on my team and the youngest too. But I soon realised that I was surrounded by super friendly colleagues, very attentive and always there to help me when I needed it – and that also goes well beyond my team. It can be a bit intimidating to be surrounded by artists with many more years of experience than you have, and you can quickly feel ‘tiny’, but they never considered me as such. Our very different experiences don’t prevent us from discussing, exchanging and considering my work on the same level as theirs, and that’s really nice.
Otherwise, if I had to tell you every little funny story from my team, it would take pages and pages, ha ha! I would just say that in this period of pandemic and working from home, I really miss our lunchtime role-play sessions with some colleagues!
QD: Can you describe to us a typical day for you? Does a typical day even exist for you?
Émilie: Like many here, I think I don’t really have a typical day. It will depend on the progress of the project and where the studio’s at… Sometimes I will have one or more assets to make, modelling, sculpting, texturing and integrating stuff in the engine. Other times, I’m going to create textures, rework shaders, redesign a scene, rework the light on another… Or simply train myself on new tools, because everything evolves very quickly in this industry, so we have to keep up to date with the new technologies at our disposal.
QD: What are your external inspirations that are reflected in your job?
Émilie: It’s hard to say. As an artist, our job is above all to transcribe the artistic vision of the project and therefore to take ownership of the artistic direction when working on stages. Afterwards, if those inspirations were to be reflected in my job, I would say that being a big fan of cinema, I am very receptive to the universes and atmospheres of movies directed by Lars Von Trier, David Lynch, Denis Villeneuve, Bong Joon-Ho or Satoshi Kon, among others. Otherwise for photography, I’ve always loved the work of Willy Ronnis, Lasse Hoile and Saul Leiter. I don’t know if all these references can be seen in my work, it depends a lot on the project I’m working on. But there are always things that I unconsciously have in mind when I work on a set, or when we discuss on how to improve something.
QD: Be careful, BIG question… What are your favourite games?
Émilie: Difficult question, indeed! As a child I grew up with Nintendo, so Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda (of which Majora’s Mask must be my favourite) are two series that have always been with me. Otherwise, of course, I really like games with a strong narrative focus, where the worlds are quite advanced and detailed. I’m a huuuuuge Hideo Kojima fan, so of course I love the Metal Gear Solid saga, and also more recently Death Stranding, which has become my favourite game of the last few years. I also like rather “short” experiences –ok, Metal Gear Solid is the exception to the rule, ha ha! – with contemplative games like Inside, Journey, and more recently The Pathless, which really spoke to me. I like simple systems and experiments that focus on the universe, the feeling and the visual. On the other hand, even if I’m not usually fond of big open worlds (I find them much too long, often boring, so simply put, they exhaust me quickly, ha ha!), I still fell in love with Ghost of Tsushima!
QD: Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work.
Émilie: I love photography! I’ve always enjoyed it, it’s a passion passed on by my father; I love to work with atmosphere and light in my photos. Before that, I used to do almost only portraits, but now I also like to find compositions or atmospheres that speak to me in landscapes or cities. By the way, you can follow me on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/emylili/
Besides that, I sing in an incredible choir: La Chorale Sauvage et Clandestine de Paris. We’re not too much on the wise choir repertoire in a church, we’re in a rather modern mood, dynamic and smiling no matter what! Follow us on our social networks and you’ll be able to discover our super diversified universe, which includes Tryo, Barbara, Christine and the Queens, Coldplay, Queen, among others… Lots of surprises there, so we can’t wait to do some more live shows, so join the fun! 😊
As you can certainly tell, music is also a big part of my life. In my musical landscape, which includes my favourite artists like Steven Wilson, Björk and Peter Gabriel, there’s also Muse, which is my favourite band ever! I’m even one of the administrators of the official French fan club, “Muse France“! You can follow us too, we do great stuff… Yes, the message in glowing balloons at the Stade de France concert in July 2019, that was us!
QD: All right! What does your perfect Friday night look like?
Émilie: It depends on the mood… I love cooking and cinema, so I’d say a good meal in a Korean, Japanese or Thai restaurant, followed by a movie, makes me happy! But during these times of global pandemic situation, a home-made kimchi jjigae, with a good movie or a Netflix session, can be very perfect too. And if I’m not having any if this, well… I miss headbanging and having fun in a mosh pit at a concert! That can be a perfect Friday night occupation as well!
QD: Do you have a message for our readers?
Émilie: I address this message to women who want to work in video games: come and join us! It may seem like a difficult industry, because parity is far from being a reality at the moment, but you must not hesitate. If this is your dream, go for it! You all have your place here and you are legitimate to apply in any studio, you have your contribution to make to the world of video games. The industry needs more diversity and it’s accessible to everyone!
QD: Final question! Chocolate cake or Fruit pie?
Émilie: I’m more into salty food. And I’m very picky for dessert! I don’t like it when it’s too sweet, so dark chocolate is mandatory! And then, the fruit pie, well, even if I love fruits, I always find cakes too sweet… So, let’s say a lemon pie, but put away this sugar, because acidity is tasty! 😜