initially working on one of the Journeyman Project games,
Francis moved on to became one of the conceptual artists on Star
Trek: Hidden Evil, a pre-rendered (with real-time characters)
third person adventure game set around the Star Trek: Insurrection
movie storyline (although the game doesn't follow the movie's
plot). Being a conceptual artist on the project also meant that
he got to work on other areas of the game.
was involved in the design of all aspects of the game beginning
shortly after an initial storyline had been proposed. I participated
in story and gameplay meetings and produced design work based
on ideas we came up with in those meetings. During production,
I worked with Victor Navone, our creative director to oversee
the actual modeling and animation of all the assets."
a Star Trek game, the assets mentioned were to be either
based on canonical Star Trek elements, or elements that
were to become canonical elements. I asked Francis what it was
like working on a franchise as massive (and potentially finicky)
as the Star Trek one:
A example of Francis' character conceptualising
"Very exciting. Paramount and Activision were both very helpful
in terms of providing us with a wealth of reference material and
original sketches and designs from the movie. Paramount is very
selective about how their property is treated. Luckily, almost
all of us on the team are pretty hard core Star Trek
in particular our writer Eric Dallaire. We started out with a
pretty good story concept, and with all the reference material
we had, it really was a labor of love."
this Q&A format is working out pretty well, I asked Francis
what his favorite book and favorite movie of all time are:
now, my all time favorite SF book is Snow Crash, by Neal
Stephenson. On the surface it's cyberpunk, but the book is about
so many things besides that, and on so many different levels.
Neuromancer would probably be a close second."
movie at the moment - I'd have to say The Matrix. I really
enjoy seeing a science fiction movie that doesn't make me wince
with embarrassment at any point in the film. Blade Runner
is a very close second."
actually don't play a whole lot of games. The games that do come
to mind are Starcraft, Half-Life/Team Fortress,
Grim Fandango and Myst/Riven."
art "style" is really unique - I've certainly never
seen anything like it before - so I asked where the style came
from, whether it developed of its own accord or whether it came
from any particular influences; "I'm not sure where my "style"
comes from. I never really set out to create a totally new drawing
style. I think it's really a matter of having a wide variety of
influences, and trying to incorporate those bits and pieces of
each that really spoke to me. I haven't really seen other artists
who draw exactly like me, but I'm sure there are others around
who are at least similar."