The action-adventure title from Ember Lab, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, is set to release on the 21st of September this year. With just a couple of weeks left for the launch of the much-anticipated game, Ember Lab has introduced their “combat wizard”.

James Beck has been working with Ember Lab since 2014. He is the man behind the corrupted spirits in Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Ember Lab has revealed that James is an integral part of the team; becoming the “go-to person” whenever something came up. During the development of Kena, Ember Lab has relied greatly on Beck’s flexible nature.

“I didn’t think of myself as a combat designer until someone called me a combat designer, but I like it and it does describe what I do day-to-day. It was a gradual transition.” – James Beck

Beck said that he began to work on the Kena title in areas he was familiar and comfortable with, as a lighting/shading artist and animator. But as more enemy character characters were added to the game, he felt that “the value in being able to both animate and design the enemy AI became apparent as a way to help the team.”

He said that being able to simultaneously develop enemy characters’ behavior with their animations helped “eliminate a lot of the guess and check. One of the big benefits was being able to rapidly iterate an animation if it wasn’t working the way I expected in the game.”

3D Model Come to Life

  • James was able to design characters that were challenging, but also motivating. Given the game’s character, which delves deep into the history of enemy characters, and how they came to take up the role they played, James’ skills were a treasure.
  • Hunter Schmidt, the new animation director of Ember Lab, has praised James. He stated that he has never hesitated in trying new things.

“Really astounding how much technical knowledge he has accumulated and how much it empowers him as an artist.” – Hunter Schmidt

  • James finds satisfaction in seeing his characters function in the game, chasing and attacking. He has said that “seeing an inanimate 3D model come to life is still somewhat magical for me.”

SOURCE: Ember Lab

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