Welcome to an interview for the series Game Credits Who’s Who (#GameCreditsWW). Ever read the credits page of a game you enjoy and wonder about the various positions listed? Would you like to work in the game industry someday but are not sure how some of the positions work? This Monday series will take a personal look into those positions and introduce you to real people doing those very jobs in the game industry. This week, let me introduce you to Mischa Thomas, RPG line manager and art director.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do as a RPG line manager and art director.
I entered the business some ten years ago when I published my first RPG (Noctum, first Swedish edition) when I was twenty-four. Some years later I got a diploma in game design. I have found myself filling many shoes within the RPG industry. Within my own company Wicked World Games 1.1 I basically handle everything from hiring, conceptualizing to the actual design, writing and layout. For the past couple of years I have also been working for Modiphius Entertainment.
I started out as a writer on Mutant Chronicles at Modiphius, charged with handling all of the Dark Legion material. They needed someone who knew the original material by heart. Over time, I got more responsibility for the art direction as well. And I guess one thing led to another. I have been into the MC universe for over two decades, which has given me quite the knowledge base. As a line manager, it is my responsibility to see to it that the material follows the visions we have set out for a game. When working on older licenses which have iconic canon material, it is very important that those particular things that made the game special don’t get lost in the mix when designing a new version. Often it is a balancing act that can be quite delicate.
When you art direct, your actual job description varies a bit. Again, if working with an established license, you have to stay true to the original art while still breathing new life into it. So for example, if you create a new creature for a game line, it still has to follow the artistic influences, even if it is more modern and drawn in a different style. To achieve this, I headhunt fitting artists and work closely with them and the rest of the creative team in a iterative loop until we get it the way we want it.
At other times it is your job to come up with a complete art pallet for a new game or concept, starting from scratch. Both are equally fun and challenging.
How did you become a RPG line manager and art director?
One can say that it’s the end of a chain of events and introductions. I was introduced to Chris Birch through Gobion Rowlands. Gobion was currently working with Chris on Mutant Chronicles. And earlier he had helped me with my novel Visceral. And I met Gobion through Angus Abranson who at that time published my horror sci-fi game Cold & Dark through Chronicle City. Gobion was in the process of publishing his game Broken Shield there as well. Way back when, I had an internship over at Mongoose Publishing at the same time Angus shared an office space with them. So yeah, a couple of links in a chain.
I am still working on Mutant Chronicles. I have been part of art directing and line managing over a dozen books in that game line. I wrote the Dark Legion chapter for the core and most of the Dark Soul and Heretics & Mutants. Other Modiphius projects on my desk are the following:
Siege of the Citadel: Mutant Chronicles board game (art direction and concept design)
Robert E. Howard’s Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of (art direction)
John Carter RPG (art direction)
I also have several projects going through my own company. So it is quite busy, which is the way I like it.
What is your greatest frustration or pet peeve as a RPG line manager and art director?
For me it is bottleneck situations. At times there can be the smallest thing that can halt an entire production line. Most of the time it’s nobody’s fault, it can be anything from a process that is simply time consuming or due to the fact that someone has fallen ill. But none the less, it is frustrating.
How can readers learn more about you or contact you?
Feel free to get in touch with me through my webpage or Facebook.
Public Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cold-Dark-204350396301638/