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Gary Winnick Interview Page Four

What other games did you work on while at LucasArts?

Thumb The Maniac Mansion dungeon... er, I mean, Labyrinth screenshot.

At first almost everything we did until we really started to grow. After Balblazer and Rescue the next two projects were The Edilon and Koronos Rift both of these games used a newer version of the Rescue fractal landscape generator. I created all the art and animation for the Edilon and worked with another artist Jim St. Louis on Koronos. After that I was the artist/animator on a variety of other titles including Labyrinth and the multi-player Microcosm which down scaled became Club Caribe on the Q-Link commodore network. I think this was followed by our first simulator title Pegasus around the time we started working on Maniac.

Thumb Nintendo's Star Wars. How far we've come.

Other titles I directly created art, animation or backgrounds for included Zak MacKraken, Loom, Pipe Dream, Dynatron City, Nintendo Star Wars and Paul ParkRanger for the learning group. As the division grew so did the art department I eventually became the division's art director. In that capacity I was involved in the production of Monkey Island, Monkey Island II, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Battlehawks and The Dig as well as a plethora of outside conversions and other related projects. Ultimately the last real project I did was Dynatron City although I worked on a variety of other proposals and was initially involved in the brainstorming for Day of the Tentacle.

What is your best LucasArts "war story?"

It's pretty hard for me to pick out one story... But I guess one that sticks in my head was when we flew down to Hollywood to shop around Dynatron City as an animated cartoon pilot. One of the things you need to realize about Lucasfilm is although it's a state of the art film and entertainment company the culture there is not very much like Hollywood. The bay area location, the people and the company culture is much more down to earth than anything you'd encounter in Hollywood.

Anyway when we were developing Dynatron, both the head of the games group Doug Glen and Howard Roffman the VP of Licensing felt it was worth pitching to various animation companies in Hollywood to see if they would develop it as a pilot. So after we had put together enough material I flew down to L.A. with Howard and Vital Vayness (also from Licensing) to go on a pitch meeting at DIC.

When we arrived we were ushered into an impressive office complete with its' own bar and a wall of windows overlooking a view of a near by major studio. We met with Andy Heyward (the president of DIC) who pretty much sat there expressionless during our entire spiel on the project. I remember having no clue as to how he was reacting to the presentation, after which Andy thanked us and said he'd get back to us soon. When we stepped onto the elevator and the doors closed Howard turned to me and said smiling "Great Meeting!". He must of been able to read Andy better than I could because he called the next day and made a deal for the pilot.

You left LucasArts in 1992. What prompted this decision?

It really came down to being made an offer I couldn't refuse at the time to head up the art departments at Spectrum Holobyte. I had been at Lucas for nine years, a pretty long time in this business. Most of the people I had worked with had moved on, I felt ready for a change.

What companies and products have you worked with since you left LucasArts

Well as Art Director at Spectrum Holobyte I was involved with several products that came out. Mainly one of the Falcon sims and a Star Trek title as well as a National Lampoon licensed Chess Game. After leaving Spectrum I co-founded a game development group Orbital Studios. At Orbital I designed the children's title Dinonauts Adventures in Space published by Virgin Sound and Vision. I was also involved in designing a large adventure game 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea... The Adventure Continues for South Peak Interactive.

In 1996 I joined my long time associate Frank Cirocco forming Lightsource Studios (check us out at: lightsourcestudios.com) a free-lance art for hire and content development studio in San Jose specializing in sci-fi, fantasy, world building production design, art and animation. Over the last five years we've provided a wide range of visual development and other services for a diverse collection of clients including Electronic Arts, Adobe, J Walter Thompson, Dreamworks, Namco, Universal Studios, Mattel, Surfmonkey and The Learning Company to name a few.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your fellow LucasArts employees?

Thumb More cool concept poster art for the original Maniac Mansion.

I have many close friends and professional relationships that were developed over the years at LucasArts. I met and got to know a some of the most talented and creative people of my career, not to mention some of the nicest . People I've stayed in contact with both personally and professionally include Vital Vayness, Ken Macklin, Steve Purcell, Cynthia Wuthmann, Lela Dowling, Iain McCaig, AJ Redmer, Doug Crockford and Eric Stein to name a few. I've continued to work with many of them on an ongoing basis.

Have you played any recent LucasArts adventures such as Grim Fandango and Escape From Monkey Island and if you have, what do you think of them both artistically and overall?

Not really, I've seen the graphics and seen them played. but have not really had the time between my family (I have 3 small children ) and work to actually thoroughly play an adventure game. Artistically I found them to be very impressive, particullarly Peter Chan's work on Grim Fandango.

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