QD & ME – Sébastien André – Lead Environment Artist
Quantic Dream: Please introduce yourself! What’s your name, where are you from, and what is your role at QD?
My name is Sébastien, I’m 40 years old and I’ve been working at Quantic Dream for 13 years. I was first an Environment Artist on Heavy Rain and then I moved on to the position of Lead Environment on Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human. My background is in computer graphics, I worked on a few films like Immortal by Enki Bilal or 9 by Shane Acker. I have also worked on animated series such as Skyland on France 2. My current role is to manage the Set team which is in charge of creating all the sets and in-game props/items for our productions.
QD: How did you come to work in the video games industry? Was it a lifelong dream, or did you luckily stumble into it?
I’ve always been a gamer and my whole teenage life was steeped in this culture, so getting into the video game industry was an obvious choice for me. I started my career working on computer graphics for various companies in France and abroad. A colleague with whom I had worked in Luxembourg then went to Quantic Dream for Heavy Rain and it was from there that I decided to give it a try ?
QD: Let’s talk about your job at Quantic Dream! Could you elaborate more on your role, and the role of your team?
My role is to ensure the production of all 3D sets and props in our games, from the blocking phase which determines the precise location of these elements, to the final polishing phase. Working in close collaboration with our Art Director to transcribe the ideas from the script and concept art, to produce them in 3D as close as possible to the original vision. It’s above all a team effort, where each artist can express themselves to create a collective emulation and bring out the best in everyone, to make the most beautiful games possible.
QD: Tell us more about the members of your team. Any fun story to share?
We’re currently nine in the team, it’s really a small core of people who’ve known each other for a long time; with some of these people it goes back more than 15 years, we were in other companies together, and then we got the team back at Quantic Dream. The advantage of building a team over time is that we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we can adapt to each other’s skills. There aren’t really any specific anecdotes, but it’s fun to see the younger generations interacting with the “older” ones, with very different backgrounds.
QD: Can you describe to us a typical day for you? Does a typical day even exist for you?
There isn’t really a typical day, it depends on the progress of the projects we’re working on: at the beginning of production or in pre-production, there are a lot of meetings, setting up processes, methodology, artistic and technical reflections. The day-to-day monitoring of the artists is an important part of the process, both in terms of following up on the tasks and the artistic feedback. At the end of production, we go on to testing, debugging and artistic assessments, to fine-tune the game as much as possible.
QD: What are your external inspirations that are reflected in your job?
In the art world, anything can help me in my work. It can be a film, a series or an exhibition. Everything can be a pretext to try to apply this to our games, to aim higher each time. It can be confusing for those around me, for example when I over-analyze what I just saw to understand how things were done ^^
QD: Be careful, BIG question… What are your favourite games?
As a teenager I would say Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX, which really took me on a journey, and I love their respective worlds. I’m more of a single-player adventure gamer and I’m particularly fond of games from the studio Naughty Dog, like The Last Of Us Part I & II. But I also like indie games; poetic experiences like Journey or Rime can be really inspiring.
QD: Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work.
I like cinema a lot, whether it’s a massive blockbuster or a more personal, indie movie. I tend to let myself go according to my moods and my sensitivities of the moment. I also like to travel, to discover new countries, new cultures. It’s a real escape, which can become a source of inspiration for my work, or how to combine the useful with the pleasant, in short! ? I also enjoy running, just to let off steam after a good week of work!
QD: All right! What does your perfect Friday night look like?
An afterwork drink with my friends followed by a restaurant, a perfect way to relax?
QD: Do you have a message for our readers?
It may sound cliché but keep room for your inner child; have fun and always be curious about everything in order to grow up. And above all, take care of yourself in these difficult times.
QD: Final question! Chocolate cake or Fruit pie?
Without hesitation fruit tart ?