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Eric Browning Interview

Eric Browning was the lead artist for Visual Concepts Entertainment, Inc during the 16-bit era. He worked on many games for a variety of different companies. From his resume:

Eric Browning's Gameography
Harley's Humongous Adventure Artist SNES - Hi-Tech Expressions
Mickey's Learning Adventure Lead Artist SNES - Hi-Tech Expressions
Clayfighter Artist SNES, Genesis - Interplay
Madden NFL '94 Artist SNES, Genesis - EA Sports
Madden NFL '95 Lead Artist SNES, Genesis - EA Sports

And Here is the Interview:

Snes Central> During the 16-bit era, you worked with Visual Concepts. How did you come to work with them, and what were your major roles in the development process?

Eric Browning> I was in art school, right at the end, and had been working my way through college. I finally decided to quit my two jobs and force myself to find freelance art jobs. That's when VC posted an ad on the job board at my school- a position that required "cartooning, storyboarding, animation, concept art" etc etc. It was like a dream job- and while I felt woefully under qualified I needed to pay rent, so I went for it. VC was about 12 guys at the time. I actually wasn't aware that console games were doing so well- and when I got to the interview Greg Thomas showed me the Super Famicom- which was to be released in the states in a matter of months. I was floored- I'll never forget looking at Actraiser- I grew up on pong in the 70's and the early '80s stuff. Here was fantastic music, big, beefy sprites and rich backgrounds. I didn't know anything about computers but in that moment I wanted to do games more than anything in the world.

SC> How many snes games did you work on and what were the titles?

EB> I think 6, the only one not on my resume was "Lester the Unlikely". I was lester- rotoscoped in. One of those games that starts out way too ambitious, and ends up merely adequate. There were many games that never saw the light of day- many more than actually get developed.

SC> What is the process that you go through when you are creating artwork for a video game?

EB> That's a big question- with the snes you were so confined we all tended to wing it- very little preproduction work. Now, we all do a lot more planning before starting creation of assets- games are big now and expensive, you can't just run in and make art without a plan. So I do drawings of what I intend to make, and run it by the designer and geometry guys, and then start my end, which is painting. Sometimes I just do concept work and hand it off.

SC> On your resume, it says that you worked on Clayfighter. Were you involved in the claymation aspect of this? If so, what was that like?

EB> I had to think about that one- I forgot what I did! I did a lot of the backgrounds- that was fun work. The claymation was done by Danger Productions- they had a short lived TV show called "Bump in the Night", also claymation.

SC> You worked on a game called Mickey's Learning Adventure for the snes. I was unable to find any information on this game. Was it released? What was it like to do the artwork for one of the most recognizable characters in animation?

EB> Mickey never saw the light of day. It was complete, I can't remember what happened. I tried animating Mickey- but Disney does not mess around with that guy and I simply am not trained as an animator. We sent it to Little Gangsters in L.A, an animation house Disney worked with. They did amazing animation- I was humbled by that.

SC> What were the hardest parts of creating artwork for the snes?

EB> The limitations, but what was tantalizing was that if you could juggle assets properly you could do amazing things- Capcom and Shiny proved that.

SC> What is you best memory of working in the video game industry?

EB> The excitement of those days on the SNES. Going to CES and seeing the new games- I had stars in my eyes. The magic of seeing a character you made yourself start to walk around the screen- seeing your art on the nintendo...I still love the snes.

Hope that helps- feel free to write again if you have other questions!
Eric
PS- my son was born a few weeks ago, named him Evan. Good name!

 


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