Outcast Odyssey and Interview with Warren Louw and Chuck Pires

Find out about Outcast Odyssey and the art behind the cards as GameSkinny speaks with Warren Louw and Chuck Pires on their work on the game.
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Outcast Odyssey is a new free-to-play mobile card battle experience by Bandai Namco and Magic Pixel Games. So whether you’re exploring mysterious landscapes, battling fearsome creatures, or dominating other players in the Arena, your deck-building skills will be put to the test with tons of card combinations and strategies.

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  • Explore and uncover dangerous lands
  • Battle fearsome monsters with explosive combat
  • Collect eye-popping cards created by some of the industry’s most prominent artists
  • Evolve creatures and weapons to build the ultimate card deck
  • Go head-to-head with other players and crush your opponents in the online Arena
  • Complete daily Bounties to find some of the game’s rarest and most powerful cards
  • Join a Guild to fight alongside your fellow Outcasts and dominate the Guild Leaderboards

The game features 600 stunning cards by prominent artists like Warren Louw and Chuck Pires, with whom I got the chance to speak with for GameSkinny.

How did you get involved in Outcast Odyssey?

Warren Louw:

Well, my style seemed to be just what they were looking for and so they ended up contacting me through deviantART. Before I even knew exactly what it was all about, I was already all in for it.

Chuck Pires:

I’d been posting my work, doing personal commissions on sites like deviantART when Jonathan from Magic Pixel got ahold of me about possibly doing some work for the game (note to artists: always post your work online!!). At the time my mindset was pretty much “if it pays do it” so naturally I was on board. It wasn’t until we’d talked back and forth more before I got excited about what the game was and what I could do with it.

What was your inspiration for the cards?

Warren:

Basically to just create an epic artwork for the project. Working for Bandai Namco is a huge deal to me, so that in itself is very inspiring. As for what inspired the actual content, Bandai Namco gave me a basic briefing and from there I went into a lot of steam punk designs while trying to keep it forestry enough to suit the environment with the animals. There’s a lot happening in the artwork as it levels up, which eventually becomes quite overwhelming. This is exactly what I was after.

Chuck:

The first thing that popped into my head! hah! Kidding aside, this was a very rare type of project for a couple reasons. A) it was the first in (what we hope) will become a series, so there was not a lot of need for continuity or adhering to reference material. And B) Magic Pixel and Namco Bandai really let us cut loose when it came to the designs. There were ideas and personalities to take in consideration, but visually they really let each artist do what they thought would look cool. I think we all pulled a lot of ideas from a lot of different places as well as a fair amount of our own, but as far as main inspiration, I’d say it was….FUN! A main influence for me as an artist has been that feeling you get when you see something that I’d call “fun.” Something that’s maybe technically impressive can lack it, and likewise the most simple pencil sketch can have it. Saturated colors, crazy designs, just something that makes you want to visit that world. I think it’s something we’ve accomplished with the game and will expand on in the future.

Which cards are you responsible for?

Warren:

Currently it’s just the Maggie Darwin card set, but more are set for future updates.

Chuck:

King Alexander,  The Demon Queen, and a card they were having trouble naming the last time I heard for the expansion, haha!

What was your favorite part of working on Outcast Odyssey?

Warren:

Just dealing with the Bandai Namco guys themselves was such a great experience. Knowing that we are all on the same page about the vision is really reassuring that its only going to be a smooth ride. They’re super friendly too which only made being part of the team really awesome. Then being invited over to SDCC ’14 to help them promote the game was definitely the highlight of my career!

Chuck:

Well after I’d been working on the cards for a while it became pretty clear to me that Jonathan and I had pretty similar outlooks and interests in art so that naturally made me want to take anything I thought of to the next level. We were working on the “Demon Queen” and pretty much had the basic layout down but it was looking kind of empty Jonathan’s like, ” What if we throw in an imp serving her food or drinks.” It seemed like even he wasn’t too sold on it but my mind was already off and going. It went from her butler evolving as the cards progressed into a demon, to a imp becoming a more powerful imp. I couldn’t decide which direction to go with it. As I was working on the card, I thought it would be funny to have the imp looking afraid of a big demon who’d appeared on the second card.  I kept pushing this idea until, on the final card, I had a giant snake demon eat the imp with only his hand a wine goblet sticking out. What was great about working on Outcast Odyssey was that whole thing wouldn’t have happened on another card game. This was something I did on my own, I thought it gave it personality and made the card better so I went with it. Just about any other studio or developer would have been like, “No, this wasn’t in the sketch, get rid of it” but I knew Magic Pixel would get it.

Was working on Outcast Odyssey much different from your previous projects?

Warren:

I’d say that one of the things that drew my attention to working on this game that was quite different to previous projects, was that my 2D artwork was going to simulate a 3D nature via the tilt feature on mobile devices, moving the layers within the artwork independently to create depth. Also, this is the first project I’ve worked on where some of the meetings were held on Skype. I’m sure it’s not a big deal to most but it was pretty awesome for me and which only improved the relationship between us all moving forward.

What is it about games like Outcast Odyssey and Marvel: War of Heroes, that attract you to be part of?

Warren:

I became very familiar with Bandai Namco at a very young age (before Namco merged with Bandai) and everyone knew Marvel. Then eventually reaching a point of being asked to create artwork for them, this was an opportunity I just could not refuse. Besides that, just the kind of artworks they are after are always a load of fun to work on too, which only makes me love my job even more.

Marvel: War of Heroes – Mystique

What led you to becoming an artist?

Warren:

I’ve always just loved drawing. Then being exposed to what other artists were doing in my late teens I got inspired to get more involved with what they were doing – gaming and comic art in particular. Otherwise, I always love the challenge that being an artist brings to my life and finding ways to only become greater at what I do and sharing that with the world.

Chuck:

Being bad at everything else, haha! I’d always had an interest in cartoons, comics and games from a really early age. I remember some of my earliest appreciation for art was through video games. Back when the NES was around, information on video games was pretty scarce. No internet, so you  either have to read Nintendo Power or, being a little kid like I was, looked at all the games and picked the one with the most gnarly box art.  BORING TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE WARNING I remember it was my….one of my birthdays,  and my parents had just gotten me a NES. I still totally remember the whole thing, the packaging it came in,  the horrible/fantastic pizza at chuck e cheese, so my aunt Patty took me to Target to get a game. I got to the games rack and had like tunnel vision. All I could see was a copy of Castlevania 3. It had the most awesome box art. It had all the playable characters (minus Alucard) kicking butt and being awesome as well as some of the locations in the game. It’s still holds up in my mind as a very very good piece of art, unlike some of them (I’m looking at you Mega Man 1 cover).

And around 6th grade I had a group of friends who were into games, and a couple were into art as well. Final Fantasy 7 had just come out, and we’d all sit around and copy pictures of “Cloud” or “Sephiroth,” all trying to one-up one another. Video games just kept on feeding my interest in art. There was a magazine back then called  “Playstation Monthly Magazine” every month it would be awesome because they would hire different cover artists from comics or games to do a cover based on whatever was popular that month. All that stuff was kind of my entire world for a couple years. Obviously, you move into 7th and 8th grade and suddenly you’re a lot more worried about trying to look cool or whatever so I’d downplay my interest in that stuff, but pretty much the whole time, up through high school, heck, even now, I was into that stuff, and it kept me drawing.

What’s next on the horizon that we can expect to see?

Warren:

Right now I’m in the process of honing my skills, so you can expect to see better art in future, where ever it manifests. Looks like I might be working on some artwork for Take2 Interactive, but that’s all I can say for now 🙂

Would you work on games like this again in the future?

Chuck:

I want to work on MY games in the future! Haha, but yeah, Bandai has been great to work with so far, so I’d be very happy to work with them again.

Was it more stressful working on a project like this as compared to comics?

Chuck:

Not at all. Comics are about turn around, the clock is always ticking. Some people excel  like that, others don’t. IMO comics are where the horror stories are. It’s fun work, but with so much output tiny mistakes can end up costing you a lot of time. I remember when I was working on a book, I’d just finished my final page, got it approved and was getting ready to send the working file. An email pops up saying I have to go back and repaint a specific characters shirt and gloves. They were the “wrong” color. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but you multiply that over 20 something pages and it adds up. After 6 or so hours I’d gotten pretty close to getting all of them done. I was absolutely spent. Another email. I open it up and ” hold on that, he’s changed his mind, like the way it looked before.” I learned a good lesson on that book. Save multiple copies of whatever you’re working on!

I believe games can be just as stressful or even more so than comics, but my involvement with this game was pretty much me, in my apartment drawing pictures of things I’d probably be drawing on my own if things like rent and food weren’t in the mix.  The only real stressful part would be when I’d be trying to lay out a piece that would look good in every version of the card.  Working from reference gets tiring but I’d been doing it for so many years it was kind of daunting when Jonathan was like, ” Ok, let’s see the coolest looking king you can think of!” Aside from that working on Outcast Odyssey has been absolutely great.

Brightest Day – Cover Artwork

Do you have any favorite games and systems?

Warren:

I’m all for my Playstation gaming. I don’t really have as much time as I used to for it and am yet to get a PS4, but I always try to at least keep up with the Metal Gear games, being an all-time favorite of mine. Other than that I really love the Uncharted games, the last Tomb Raider was just awesome and really enjoyed Vanquish… Hope a sequel hits the PS4! Then lastly I love making time to play Diablo 3 with my girlfriend. The expansion is next on my list.

Chuck:

Too many. Castlevania for one. I’ve been a fan literally as long as I’ve been playing games. When I was a kid I could never understand why people liked the Mario games so much. I remember thinking they were just like shovel ware that the manufacturers had thrown in to have something to ship the console with. Yes, I was a kind of intense little kid. Of course Castlevania was insanely hard. I never got passed the 3rd or 4th level on my own, but I LOVED the world. Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves all in this bleak and awesome world. I don’t think It was until Symphony of the Night that I actually ever beat a Castlevania game, but I loved playing and getting my butt kicked by them all the same. This is embarrassing, but I was talking to my Mom a while ago and she had found an old creative writing assignment I’d done around that time. Yeah, it was pretty much the story of Symphony of the Night fleshed out into this big crazy fan fiction free for all. God, what a dork.

The first couple Thief games would probably be next. Another one where I was just totally enamored with the setting and world. Pretty sure I used to have dreams I was Garett, sneaking around nobles mansions, swiping loot!

Resident Evil 4 would be next. Aww, wasn’t that game awesome? The Wii version is my favorite. I don’t know if it’s from drawing with wacom tablets or what, but I am a surgeon with the Wii mote and the handgun.

And lastly my current obsession. Demon [Souls and] Dark Souls. Honestly, what the heck is there not to love about these games. No boring long-winded story, no trekking back from place to place handing in X number of wolf pelts to  complete a quest. Just you, and a world that wants nothing more than to smash you. Also, yes, I’m suuuuuuuper stoked for Bloodborne.

As you can see they are really great and very talented guys with an amazing gift. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to find out more about them as individuals and about their experience working on Outcast Odyssey. Be sure to check out more about the game on their website.


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Author
Image of Venisia Gonzalez
Venisia Gonzalez
Venisia is a public relations professional, video game industry contractor, published author, freelance entertainment journalist, copy editor, a co-organizer of the Latinx Games Festival, and a member of the Latinx in Gaming and the Puerto Rico Game Developers (PRGD) community. Her passion is video games. She loves the adrenaline rush from a multiplayer match and understands the frustrations of a brand-new raid. Venisia finds immense value in gaming especially in the realm of mental health.