Cyril Tahmassebi, 32 years old, Artistic Director and Concept Artist at Spiders.
What was your career like before you started working in your current position at Spiders?
Although I started drawing when I was a kid and have always loved video games, I only began working in the field after I did a commerce-focussed high school.
I started as a concept artist with Darkworks on the Alive project before working on Gray Matter for Wizarbox. I also went to the United Kingdom for a London-based studio (Digi Guys), working on Project Kane. Then I worked on a few games at Cyanide such as Game Of Thrones RPG, Styx Master of Shadows, Aarklash Legacy,... in lots of different positions.
Additionally, I worked on a number of freelance projects like Prey for Arkane, before finally embracing the role of Artistic Director with Spiders.
It’s been quite a journey…
What motivates you for this job?
Creating, drawing, painting and conceiving visuals for a universe is what I am truly passionate about in this job.
Like artisans, we shape the world down to the most minute detail: the characters, the costumes, the creatures etc… that the player will use to explore, meet, wear and fight.
Do you have any anecdotes from your time spent developing video games?
It’s happened that some of the team thought that my screen was displaying piece of ongoing art... Until I moved the camera and they realised that we were in the game engine!
Your proudest moment?
Being able to fuse my greatest passion, drawing and painting, with another important passion of mine, video games.
Being able to follow the path that I made for myself from childhood, in spite of it being an atypical course.
Imagining the whole little world that came to life in a video game, that made me dream, and that gave me the desire to have this job in order to work, much later, on the other side of the screen.
I have the possibility to do all of this every day when i walk into the studio.
Can you tell us something you personally felt about GreedFall?
Greedfall is both a personal and collective artistic vision.
It represents many discoveries about jobs that I’d never personally had the occasion to try.
In particular, I was able to interact with artists of the Vertugadins workshop, who helped me understand certain mechanics in costume creation, which was an incredibly enriching experience.
Studying the techniques of master painters of the 17th century in working a portrait: the lighting, the decor, the skies, an object, a particular staging… also helped me give Greedfall this uniquely particular atmosphere.
We used a lot of colors (in the warmer tones), as well as the atmosphere (the mists and fog banks characteristic of Rembrandt’s landscapes), the composition (Vermeer and his scenes entering a character’s intimacy), the skies (the clouds and charged skies so particular to the chiaroscuro technique), the lighting (refined, with bursts of light piercing the darkness) and the contrasts (Caravaggio, barely diffused lights revealing and emphasizing the models).
In fact, chiaroscuro, which is one of our art studio’s preferences, perfectly illustrates the shock of civilizations in our game: Séréne is dark and somber while Teer Fradee brings light.
The baroque current, particularly its architectural style, with the cities having this charged and massive feeling, brings a clear contrast between Séréne’s civilization and that of the Teerfradiens, who are much more organic, concentrating on the essentials and living in harmony with nature.
From all these elements, we created our universe and painted our artworks with these references clearly in mind.
All of this gave life to Greedfall’s artistic direction.