Sorry it’s been a while – I’ve been spending the last few weeks preparing for a Pathfinder campaign that I’m about to begin GMing (and, admittedly, watching a TON of Yu Yu Hakusho, which I just finished up last week. It’s my favorite TV show, by the way. Highly recommended. I’ll be doing a post about its similarities with FFIX at some point, I’m sure, as I feel I love both pieces of media for the same reasons).
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Eric Pavey, who worked on Final Fantasy IX back in the day. I asked him about the game design industry, the Final Fantasy series, and assorted tips and tricks for you graphic-designers-in-training out there. (Also, he told me that he had some cool exclusive FFIX-related content, and I’ve been trying to get in touch with Squeenix’s legal department, and they have not returned any of my calls. Annoying). Here we go!
FFIXBlog – Do you play video games? If so, did you play FFIX? What did you think of it?
EP – I’ve played games my whole life (starting with the arcades in the late 70’s early 80’s). I did play FFIX. Honestly I wasn’t a huge fan of the series at the time: I’d played quite a bit of FFVII, and some of VIII, but having to wait for the spell sequences over and over got really tiring for me 😛 While working on FFIX, I actually convinced the designers that the “American consumer didn’t want to see the same pre-rendered sequence over and over”, so they actually let you skip them after the first watch. I was pretty proud of that 🙂
FFIXBlog – I’ve witnessed that there’s still a thriving community of FFIX fans out there – why do you think that is? What’s so special about it?
EP – Personally it seemed much more ‘fantastical’ than other others, that seemed more futuristic: The whole look (more stylized\cartoony) and setting (fantasy world) was more approachable to me.
FFIXBlog – How long have you been working with video games/video game art?
EP – I started professionally in 1995, so that means this is year 18.
FFIXBlog – How did you break into the industry?
EP – I got my degree in Graphic Design, but grew up playing video-games, and had dabbled in CG for a while. When I finally figured out people actually get paid to make video-games I went back to school to be an ‘animator’, and never looked back.
FFIXBlog – On MobyGames, where I found the credits, it says that you were part of the “Field Map Graphics” team. What exactly does that entail?
EP – I actually have no idea 🙂 I was part of the cinematics department: We worked on all the pre-rendered sequences in the game. Specifically I did a lot of the intro movies, and worked on one of the big climax movies.
FFIXBlog – What programs/languages did you use to do your work?
EP – At the time, Alias PowerAnimator, v7 StudioPaint, and Maya v1, all SGI machines.
FFIXBlog – I know that much of the work on FFIX was done in Hawaii. Was that where you were? Regardless, what was working with Square like?
EP – Downtown Honolulu, across from the Aloha Tower Marketplace, at the top of a beautiful skyscraper. The whole game team was there, along with the film team working on “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”. Working at square was an amazing experience: 90% of the team was from Japan, and to be immersed in that culture was a big enjoyable eye-opener. Plus, to be paid good money to work in Hawaii was a deal of a lifetime.
FFIXBlog – Any advice for aspiring video game artists?
EP – There is so munch competition, you need to love this line of work. You need to do it all, day, every day. Find who is better than you, strive for that level of quality, and then crush it.
FFIXBlog – Do you still have any art/anything from that era that you would like to (or have the rights to) release via FinalFantasyIX (dot) com?
EP – I do, but I have no idea about the legality of releasing it 🙁
Many thanks to Eric for taking the time to answer my questions! If y’all have any questions for him, I could definitely get in touch with him again 🙂
See y’all soon!