The Bethesda Game Studios Interviews: Dennis Mejillones

Today’s interview is with character artist, Dennis Mejillones.

What is your job at BGS?

I am a character artist at BGS. My responsibilities can range from making some cool creatures/characters to making armors/weapons. My primary responsibility has been to create the looks of races and making them customizable.

How did you break into the industry?

I originally started doing 3D for commercials and eventually moved to doing freelance work at what was then a small game studio. When I first started there, I worked on games like Bratz and Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts. Not very prestigious games, but it was a good way for me to start and learn about the industry. Eventually as that studio got bigger I got to work on some cool stuff like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Dragon Age: Origins, Borderlands and a few other cool titles. Not too long after that, I  got picked up by BGS and have been very happy working here.

What’s your proudest achievement while working at BGS?

My proudest achievement is probably between two things: working on character gen and another thing I can’t yet talk about.

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

That we play videogames all day or that we are filthy rich. We spend a lot of time testing the game, but most of our day is spent actually creating the art and getting it to come to life. The other big misconception is that were all very weird. Only the majority of folks are “very weird”, the rest are just weird.

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

Ive been fortunate enough to get to meet some amazing developers in the Zenimax/Bethesda family — legends like John Carmack, Shinji Mikami, not to mention the fact that I work for freakin Todd Howard… it doesn’t get better than that. That said I wouldn’t mind meeting some of the guys from Naughty Dog or Bioware. I really admire a lot of what they are doing. I would also love to meet Tim Appleby (Brink). He’s done and continues to do some really cool stuff.

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

Robbing banks… I think… can I say that?

Favorite office lunch?

CHICKEN FAJITAS!!!! Seriously Chicken Fajita day at the studio is great. So is cookie Wednesday.

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

If it were only for a day I would have to say Todd Howard. He’s involved with everything and then I would have all the juicy details. That being said, he’s usually pretty good about keeping us in the loop.

Worst job you ever had?

A carwash drying off cars. IT SUCKED!!!! Washing cars in the winter isn’t fun — cold weather and wet, frozen towels aren’t for me. Thanks for asking… I had blocked that out of my mind until now.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I really enjoy hanging out with my wife, family, and friends. I like being outside and hiking. When I’m not doing that, I like to do things with my hands (mind out of gutter please). I like to build things, I also like to break things. Most of all though I like to build combat RC Mechs. Yes I just said that. Here are some pics (1, 2, 3) of my first mech and a video as well for your viewing pleasure. And yes… it is indeed awesome!


Reader Comments

  1. Really loved Oblivion and Morrowind and really can’t wait for Skyrim. Hope you do a good job on the customization of characters. Good luck! (p.s an idea would be customizable weapons, like the Fable 3 Hero weapons but with more control over outcomes of customization.)

  2. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Kahjitt (spelling?). I’ve never played as one but I do enjoy their designs.

  3. Lol cookie wednesday! Im taking 3D modeling and animation classes in college at the moment and someday i wish to be working at BGS with you guys!

  4. This is awesome.”My proudest achievement is probably between two things: working on character gen and another thing I can’t yet talk about.” You’re killing me!! I NEED SKYRIM INFO!!!

  5. It’s always interesting to see who produces the best games because the staff has such great personalities and it really shows off in their work. Now I know who to commemorate for those character models! It’s nice to see some good and honestly funny people working on some really fine tuned stuff. The Khajiit and Orc models look fantastic and I’m not saying that just because I love the game. So to add on another note of appraisal to recognize another 7,000 steps of game development, you guys are frikin awesome!

  6. Guys! Make decent and much more simpler and user friendly NPC control system in Fallout (i think we will see it only in next version) to mod NPC’s behavior.
    Current system of NPC’s for example in your games is so complicated and bulky…that’s just awful – this is a new field to make a really new game from the old one…
    For example to easily change attacking mode of some NPC’s – like user wants to make them trying to kiss you like bunch of gays instead of shooting and etc.

  7. Dunno if it was intentional but the RC video was hilarious .

    Keep up the good work. If you are one of the guys responsible of the new looks of races (im thinking khajiit here) then love to you from DK 😀

    Have a good one.

  8. Dennis, please don’t make the player customization work like it does in Oblivion. There are a number of things about it that drive me absolutely nuts. The most annoying thing is that when I change one thing, other things change as well. If I want to make the beard darker, it doesn’t mean I want to change the color of the lips or the tint of the eyebrows. And speaking of eyebrows, why don’t they change color with the color of the hair? Why do I have to spend 20 minutes trying to get the exact shade of purple skin that I want, sliding this slider then that over and over again, only to have it get changed automatically when I change something else? It seems to me that I should have been able to choose skin tone from a simple palate of colors, and that it wouldn’t change regardless of whatever else I changed. This is easily one of the biggest mistakes about Oblivion. I don’t know if there are mods out there for the PC that fix the problem, but I play on Playstation, so no joy for me. Please address this in Skyrim.

  9. Thanks guys for all your positive comments. I cant wait for you guys to see character gen, you wont be dissapointed 🙂

    Now Im gonna have to add flame throwers and bb guns to the mech and get people really excited:)

    @Mike: I wouldnt worry about it dude 😉

    @Thunderstruck Elf: About that other thing I cant talk about… your just gonna have to wait and see. Dont worry it will be worth it, I promise!

  10. When i heard a gossip about multiplayer in skyrim i was kinda… alright, i already thought i’am in heaven or something. Now i live only with hope they will make it possible… That heaven of course ;p

    gr8 interview


  12. Wow I just had a comment reply from an awesome Bethesda employee… Just shows how awesome bethesda is with connecting to fan base. You’re awesome.

  13. So since you make character models, I was wonderin, will the characters bodies look as though they’re sickly as they did in morrowind and oblivion or are you guys going to let the player create the body size cuz that would be sweet.

  14. The customization in oblivion was the best I’ve ever experienced, I’m hoping Skyrim will be even better!

  15. One of the many things I love about BGS is their accessibility to their fans…Thank you for the good read
    Mr. Mejillones…
    Black 6

  16. how cool would it be if that thing behind him, belive it is a predator from like the movie of the same name, was the new Argonian minus a tail ?

  17. hope all you guys do a great job with this game, but (music freak that I am, lol) – any chance of having an interview posted w/ Jeremy Soule? Yes, I know he’s probably freelance, but come on!! please oh please pull some strings!

  18. *I hope in Skyrim you can still place items wherever you please with the cross-hair in first person mode… I hope Bethesda never underestimates what that did for Morrowind. It adds a whole new depth of replay value, when you can put diamonds, weapons, and armor anywhere in detail. Make it happen Dennis!!

  19. This guy saying that he admires anything that Bioware has been doing for past 5 years or so deeply concerns me about the quality of Skyrim.

  20. Please keep up the good work, im 40 year old and cannot wait for this game, A good story line that keep you hooked with a beautiful scenery to ease the mind, keep it up. 🙂

  21. the mech you made is pretty freakin sweet man! loved your interveiw im just sitting at home bored–not so much anymore!

  22. i think you have done some kick-ass work, this game looks amazing i cant w8!!! keep up the good work and ill keep dishing $60! but i think you guys should really release another dlc for oblivion while we wait maybe something to add to the story line? just a thought =p