The Bethesda Game Studios Interviews: Rick Vicens

Did you like the official Skyrim Trailer? Give today’s interview subject, Rick Vicens, a holla if you did.

What is your job at BGS?

I’m a character animator. Specifically, my focus has been on creature animation for Skyrim.

How did you break into the industry?

This is a two part answer for me. I broke into the animation industry with an internship at Nickelodeon while attending the School of Visual Arts. That internship then led me to working in Film and TV. After a few years of working as an animator in that industry, my friend Dennis Mejillones (character artist here at Bethesda), convinced me to make the jump to games. I put together a demo reel and just applied. Best decision I have made in my career so far.

What’s your favorite memory/proudest achievement while working at BGS?

I loved Oblivion, so working on the Skyrim trailer has to take the top spot at the moment. Todd asked Jang Joon Cha and myself if we were interested in creating a trailer, and we both jumped at the opportunity. It was a chance to bring some of my previous game cinematic experience to the table while using in-game rendering (which was new to me). The best part has been the great response from the fans and coworkers.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about your job?

I would say that the biggest misconception is that I just animate all day long. A big portion of my work is actually making sure my animations work in game and have the right feel. In film or TV, you typically get shot ownership, but never get to do every shot that involves a specific character/creature. Here you own an entire character for the length of production. It allows you an opportunity to really think about how the characters move as well as give input on how they behave. It is so rewarding to see the character you created animations for moving around and behaving in the world.

If there was one developer you could meet, who would it be?

Shinji Mikami. Resident Evil is one of my favorite series of all time and he is now part of the Bethesda family! I had a chance to meet him at our Holiday Party, but I failed miserably. I basically chickened out and didn’t attempt to introduce myself. A missed opportunity at being homeboys for life.

If you weren’t developing games, what do you think you’d be doing today?

Probably trying to break in to the acting business.

Favorite lunch?

Chicken Fajitas!

If you could trade jobs with someone else in the office for a day, who would it be and why?

It would be a dark day in concept art, but I would trade jobs with our resident concept artist Ray Lederer or Adam Adamowicz . I think they probably have the coolest job. Imagine being paid to draw pure awesome all day!

Worst job you ever had?

Door-to-door salesman in Miami. Just imagine yourself in a suit and 90 degree weather. I would walk under the blazing sun all day, being rejected business to business. To spice things up a little further, it was a pure commission job.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I’m probably drawing, reading, playing video games or watching a film. I also make it a point to travel somewhere new every year and to nap regularly.

Reader Comments

  1. Rick and everyone at Bethesda, I hope you get a chance to read this;

    You guys just truly rock. I am a big fan of the Elder Scroll series and am really looking forward to Skyrim later this year and just wanted to say thank you! I work in the IT industry you always hear more bad than good, as I’m sure you guys do too. It’s always nice to have someone go out of their way to thank you instead of complain. Keep up the excellent job and I so look forward to the fruits of your labor!

  2. Great interview!

    Mr. Vicens,

    You have helped to create one of the best video game trailers in gaming history. Thank you for this contribution! I cannot wait to play Skyrim!

  3. [If there was one developer you could meet, who would it be?

    Shinji Mikami. Resident Evil is one of my favorite series of all time and he is now part of the Bethesda family! I had a chance to meet him at our Holiday Party, but I failed miserably. I basically chickened out and didn’t attempt to introduce myself. A missed opportunity at being homeboys for life. ]

    Ha ha and cool :D Just be ready for..THE NEXT TIME.

    [If you could trade jobs with someone else in the office for a day, who would it be and why?

    It would be a dark day in concept art, but I would trade jobs with our resident concept artist Ray Lederer or Adam Adamowicz . I think they probably have the coolest job. Imagine being paid to draw pure awesome all day! ]

    NAUGHTY. You should’ve went for Gary Noonan’s job.

    Thanks for the incredible and fun read. A blessed evolving path indeed.

  4. I know Rick personally. Such a great guy and amazingly talented. And way too nice of a person. If i could have anyones job … it would be YOURS Rick. Keep up the good work bro… all of us up in NYC still miss ya dude.

    -BF

  5. Seems like a cool guy. The trailer was a really great work.
    I sure hope animations will finally be good in final game, and I pray for diagonal walking animation! : )

  6. Just a pure inpiration, Rick … to see how your work has evolved from trying to master Bugs Bunny drawings from back in the day, to this. I should have kept those drawings! Might have made some loot on eBay…lol….as well as bragging rights ;)

    Keep doing your thing, Bro. Any words of encouragement to those young bucks, sitting in their rooms for endless hours trying to master drawing “stick” characters??? God only knows, it took YOU quite some time!! lol… sorry, had to throw that last one out there…lol…jk…you are always in BEAST mode!

  7. I am really excited for this game to come out and I hope you make more interviews like this. Another thing is that I hope to you put Damascus steel weapons and armor in…..that would be awesome! I also hope to join the gaming buisness for art and design so all of this I really like to hear so I get a better idea of what I might end up doing.

  8. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these. Pretty good interview, I noticed there were a few questions that I haven’t seen on one of these before.

    I’d also love to have Ray or Adam’s job for a day, getting paid to craft pure awesome… all year long.

  9. Thanks for all the great responses!

    Kitaro: It took me quite some time to get my hands on that collection of Justice League Toys. I was able to get most them through Amazon, but a couple (ex. Wonder Woman) I bought from toy dealers. They are 10 inch vinyl action figures.

    Fyrefang: Thanks! I think you should always make the best out of whatever situation you are in. Good things will come with hard work and good attitude.

    BethesdaWare: Glad you enjoyed the trailer! We all worked very hard on it, so it’s great to hear positive feedback from people who play our games.

    Hellbishop: Gary would have been my next choice, since I took over his old cube. (…one step closer)

    BF: Thanks for the support!

    Sofus: Glad to see a napping supporter. I try to hold on to what I learned in Kindergarten.

    Paul: I hope we meet those animation expectations. We are all working really hard in the animation department to put the best work we can in the game. The trailer hopefully gave you a feel for the level detail all departments are putting in.

    Selyne: I’m still trying to master drawing Bugs Bunny. Practice, practice and more practice.

    SyrimAssassin: Work hard and I’m sure you will reach your goal.

  10. Thanks Mr Rick Vicens for taking the time for your generous reply :D I know if you had the choice you would have replied to all of us before the ever knowing presence of..TODD HOWARD..whispered a sinister back to work Dragon Shout.

  11. My 4 year-old and I enjoy the trailer all the time. He usually gets so pumped up that he goes and tries to dress like the hero. He has a lot of toy swords….

    Thanks for your hard work and your passion for making awesome games.

  12. Mr. Vicens,

    Great trailer! I’ve been watching it multiple times a day for a few weeks now because I just can’t wait for this game to come out and I need a fix.

    To everyone at Bethedsa,

    Thank you so much for all of the hard work you are putting into this! I have been playing your games religiously since Morrowind (played that for 3 years straight). Your games are like crack. I have been waiting for Skyrim to come out ever since I finished the Shivering Isles and you totally have met my expectation and then some! Thank you so much and keep up the great work!

    Regards,

    CholericAsHell

    P.S. I’m building a computer for this game, if you guys could put out any recommendations on hardware so that I can get the most of your effort it would be appreciated.

  13. How big is gonna be the game?,and is gonna be a pirates guild?,pirates of the caribean style.Can I mount a animal besides the horse?

  14. You didn’t obviously create great animations for Oblivion. Main Character’s animation was simply awful, the jump feature was a pure mess and the jump animation was ridiculous for such a great game. I hope you do your job properly this time because Skyrim does not deserve shi**y animations once again. Other than that, I like the interview. I’m just worried that the same person that messed up Oblivion’s animations is once again in charge in Skyrim. Animations was the only weak point Oblivion had. Hope the story does not repeat itself with Skyrim.

  15. hey im big fan of the elder scrolls series but there something that always bugged me
    i play it on the ps3 and was looking foward to getting fighters stronghold and hourse armour dlc, however they never came, i was slightly dissapointed however i am hopeing that skyrim will have dlc on both consoles

    also is there no way of getting some mods for ps3? i loved the look of some of them with extra armour and dat. an idea i had was each month let console vote on best mod and then put in on playstation store and xbox live, so we get some more things so consoles and pc are slightly equal.