Born in: San Jose
Favourite Manga or Anime: Trigun
Favourite music: Recently, Anime soundtracks
Harry: So it's known 'Ghost in the Shell' is a big influence on this game, is it like a driving force for you to design the characters for Oni. Did you watch 'Ghost in the Shell' and think "I could do something like this".
Alex: Yeah, there's lots of other Anime that's more mainstream that influence me too, other stuff like 'Akira' or 'Ghost in the Shell' and a few others which are really the "weird" Animes with overly realistic drawings are influences. I like 'Trigun' and I have been getting into 'Cowboy Bebop'.
Harry: How many revisions have you gone through when designing Konoko? How many different sketches or drawings did you make until you said "Yes, this is it"?
Alex: Oh, only about 3.
Alex: Yeah. There's a couple initial ones, I decided purple hair early on, because it's not a typical colour, and from there it was pretty much it.
Harry: I remember this first Oni trailer, the one that isn't in-game, Konoko had these huge eyes. Did you think of putting that into the design of her?
Alex: She pretty much has the same eyes, except for that version she has little metal plates underneath them which made her eyes look bigger which they actually weren't. (laughs)
Harry: Heh, well they did look big to me, but did you ever think of putting these huge eyes like you see in 'Sailor Moon' in?
Alex: There's a point where it really gets ridiculous for a 3D model, it doesn't quite look right from the side, and even in Anime they scale down the eyes for profile shots.
Harry: When you were designing Konoko, what exactly were you thinking about? I mean, what was your focus on her?
Alex: I wanted to make her defiantly identifiable that this was obviously an Anime character, and since we don't have flowing cloth because that would have been expensive to do, we couldn't also have giant hair which is more commissive to the generic Anime style. I just made a Japanese character with shortish hair and slight blue hair.
Harry: Konoko has many different dressing styles in the game, how many are there exactly?
Alex: Not quite sure. We have body parts, so we can combine this T-Shirt with those jeans, those kneepads on those jeans with those different shoes. (laughs)
Harry: So you're just playing around with that, heh.
Alex: Yeah, a small fashion show. (laughs)
Harry: Have you always been doing Anime or Manga, has that been your field?
Alex: Kind of. I'm not specialising in it or anything like that. I started off a few years ago colourising comics and I was working with some guys at Image who were doing 'Gen 13', we worked with one of the artists, he did all the inking and we coloured them in.
Harry: This is just a hypothetical question, but let's say Oni is out and an artist wants to make it a comic or Anime; who would you like seeing doing it?
Alex: Production IG, who did Ghost in the Shell, or the guys who do Evangelion.
Harry: You pretty much design all the various characters present in Oni. Did you come up with the idea of the Mech?
Alex: Yeah, I built the model in a few hours.
Harry: And is Konoko gonna take on some spider-legged tanks? (ed. note: Reference to Ghost in the Shell)
Alex: (laughs) I think everything has to be based off a biped. That's the easiest way to animate them.
Harry: Sticking with Ghost in the Shell here; will there be any camoflauging/cloaking like Kusangani [the protagonist of GitS]?
Alex: Can't say yet. But to make invisible characters you don't need to put in the animations.
Harry: Yeah, have shots come out of nowhere. Imagine that four-barraled rocket launcher bobbing about the place.
Alex: Yeah, (laughs)
Harry: Speaking of which, in the E3 trailer you see Konoko holding such a weapon. Does she get it off the Mech?
Alex:Yeah, that's right.
Harry: Awfully big weapon for such a small arm such as Konoko's, eh?
Alex: It's very light (laughs) Polymer is the future. It's actually filled with anti-gravity.
Harry: Ooh! That'll answer some people's doubts about it.
Alex: Actually, 'cause it's Anime and John Woo inspired, there're little wires holding it up (laughs)
Harry: Heh. Speaking of weapons, did you design those too?
Alex: I designed some of them; like the pistol or the machine gun.
Harry: One type of gun Konoko uses looks like one found in Ghost
in the Shell, have you noticed?
|Alex: It's funny, because it's a real gun. Real obscure, Chris [Hughes] and myself are into obscurities of weird guns. It's italian, and it's bottom cylinder firing. The cool thing is it brings the leverage from the top of the gun closer to the bottom where the wrist is. That's why revolver's grips are very slanted; the shock goes straight into the wrist.||
Alex: Yeah, but there are organic parts involved.
Harry: And there's more to her than you think...
Alex: Yeah (Smiles)
Harry: Heh, for some reason she reminded me of Chibiusa from 'Sailor Moon', bu only for a short while.
Alex: It's actually a character from 'Gail Force'. I was looking through some Anime designs and I came across one and I said "Hey! That looks like Shinatama!"
Harry: Who did the first Oni trailer? The one yanked from the web rather often.
Alex: I did the direction for it, Steve [Abeyeta] and Chris [Hughes] did all the animation.
Harry: And the crate with the Marathon logos. A nice touch...You made Hamish [Sinclair] really paranoid with that one...
Alex: (grinning) That was our goal.
Harry: That's why that picture of Damocles has a small Marathon logo on it, huh?
Alex: Yeah (laughs) It kicks up some dust.
Harry: Any significance to the name?
Alex: It's kind of cool name.
Harry: It's not gonna drop on your head or anything...
Alex: No, heh. Although it is kind of neat; it's a giant supercomputer which has all these cables going through the ceiling.
Alex working hard. You can see the webcam left from him.