When I have fun with crazy ideas and concepts, that is reflected in the work and the reactions players have.
After anyone has worked with Cameron Brotzman once, they ask to work with him again. Originally from the creative haven, Austin, Texas, Cameron spent his time in college pursuing the best education in concept art and game development. Having developed a distinct aesthetic style that appeals to everyone who views his work, Cameron’s ability to work quickly and maintain quality has made him a key component to any art teams.
And while his concept skills are remarkable, it’s Cameron’s attitude on the job that are the most impressive – always pleasant, calm and easy to work with, he is constantly pushing himself to learn and create work that gives a voice to the game’s pillars. He admits that the key to successful game development is by focusing on the end goal, “I like to envision the final experience and the person it’s intended for. If that demographic reacts the way we had hoped in-game, that is the best compliment to the work itself.”
Cameron Brotzman's original concept for the player-character in We Went Back.
However, he also cautions others to remember to not take yourself and your work too seriously: iteration, change, scoping, and pivots are integral to the process of making a successful game and that while some see that as discouraging, he tries to see it as an opportunity. It also means not being scared to have fun with the development process in order to spur creativity, “I also like to remember to have fun with the ideation, because when I have fun with crazy ideas and concepts, that is reflected in the work and the reactions players have.”
I want them to be scared from the environment before anything even deliberately scares them.
This sense of play within the creative process of development shows in Cameron’s work. Inspired by influences such as Alien, Prey and Dead Space, he admits that he pursued a retro-futuristic foundation for all of the assets he created. For example, this last December he assisted the marketing team with a poster advertisement of We Went Back and the reaction from the public was immediate – players requested stickers, wallpapers and more information about the game.
We Went Back's first marketing material, done by Cameron Brotzman.
While Cameron’s attitude toward development is typically positive, he is also aware that the challenges of development can be daunting, especially for those who are starting out, “The hardest thing is probably time management. There are a lot of things to concept out and creating a hierarchy of importance and executing on it in a restricted time frame is often challenging.” He suggests that the best way to mitigate this challenge is by learning what tasks take priority in the pipeline. He has also found that juggling between two tasks helps him focus, “I always make sure to have another task I can work on if I get blocked in another area. That way I can give my mind a quick break, still be productive and come back to the original task with fresh eyes.”
Cameron’s work on We Went Back has had an immense impact, yet he still maintains that the focus belongs on the player first, “I want them to be scared from the environment before anything even deliberately scares them. That would mean we did our job right.”