Florent Auguy is an artist who has worked on widely acclaimed video games such as Beyond: Two Souls and Life Is Strange.
His latest adventure brought him into the world of Marvel to help design characters for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Florent to chat about the film, his favourite character to design, working on video games, and more.
Q: You have worked on very interesting projects in the past, but ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ must be particularly special. Can you tell us what it meant to you to work on this project?
A: Indeed, there are differences between working on past projects and on Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. I think an animated film, like Spider-Man, reaches and effect more people than video games. It helps that Spider-Man is family friendly. This is not the case with the type of video game projects I’m working on.
I was big fan of Spider-man when I was a child, so I was obviously thrilled to be offered the chance to work on this amazing project. I re-read all the Spider-Man Ultimate and multiverse comics to imbue myself with the spirit of the movie.
It is great to see the movie has been enthusiastically received by audiences.
Q: What did your role as character designer entail?
A: My role on Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was to find and give direction to some of the characters. I worked on concepts for differents characters and outfits. At that time, Sony was exploring many visions for the characters. The team of freelance artists, which I was a part of, proposed a range of different styles and ideas. They wanted us to explore as much as possible.
Q: That is an interesting approach. How did you find that team effort?
A: I worked away from the office as I live in Paris.
The Sony Picture Animation team wanted to create something that feels uniquely specific to Spider-Man and Miles. It was free and totally crazy. It was a big challenge for everybody, but also very rewarding.
Q: Do you have a favourite character look of the movie?
A: I really love all the characters. It is so difficult to make a choice. If I had to choose, I would say Miles Morales. He is an Afro-Latino kid from Brooklyn who is fresh and modern. I love his dope street style.
He is a teenager who evolves and grows up – a change that is reflected in his costumes. Miles Morales must juggle his high school life with his status as a superhero. I really liked this idea. Miles has been thrust into a world he doesn’t understand and he needs to accepts this situation to help continue Peter’s legacy.
It was a really fantastic creative challenge. I loved work on his differents suits and outfits.
Q: We were extremely saddened to hear of the death of Stan Lee. What did his work mean to you?
A: A lot. Stan Lee inspired many generations with his superheroes. He revolutionised the comic-book world. There is a lot of positivity in his work and I feel he will continue to live with us in spirit. Lee’s legacy remains vast, enduring and undeniable.
Q: On top of the success of ‘Spider-Verse’, you have worked on two of the most acclaimed games in recent memory – ‘Life Is Strange’ and ‘Beyond: Two Souls’. What was it like working on this incredibly cinematic video games?
A: On Beyond: Two Souls, I mainly worked on the characters. It was great to work on a new IP for Quantic Dream. We worked in a design team with concepts artists, a designer, a character designer, a stylist, a decorator and a DA. It was a new experience and very interesting to work on a main character that we follow through several years of her life.
After Beyond Two Souls, I worked on Detroit: Become Human for more than a year before I joined the Life Is Strange team. At first, I was just helping the artists because I was really busy working on Vampyr (another a Dontnod project).
Since August 2016, I have been working as a concept artist on Life Is Strange 2. I design the characters, but also create the game’s environment with Édouard Caplain. The project is exciting and ambitious. We want to offer the best narrative experience to the players. We pay attention to every detail. I hope the players will enjoy this new season.
Q: Video games are becoming more cinematic and visually impressive. Is there a lot of difference for you working on a video game?
A: There are fewer differences between videos games and animated movies. More and more, video game artists are working on movies, and vice versa. I think it is a cool and interesting mix of skills. The only big difference is that in video games we work with real times and some technical constraints. Video games need to evolve, there is still a lot of room to create and experiment.
Q: How did you develop an interest in art and make your way into the entertainment industry?
A: I have been fascinated by art and drawing since my childhood. I believe it is an amazing means of communication! The ability to share ideas without using words. It was a fantastic way to express myself.
I never stopped drawing and eventually it became my job.
I’m self-taught. I had my first publications in magazines at the age of 20. A few years later, I began working on video games and movies. I truly love my work.
Q: What do you hope the future holds?
A: I hope to work on a film as crazy as Spider-Verse. It was an amazing experience for me. I would also like to take time to develop my own personal projects. I have some ideas in mind…