Team: Announcing Russ Phillips, Former Art Director of SOCOM
I am really happy to announce that the art director of SOCOM, Russ Phillips, will be teaming up with me and the rest of SOF Studios to make H-Hour: World’s Elite. Russ is not only a phenomenal art director, he’s a level design force to reckon with. He was the creator and principle owner of some of the most memorable maps in SOCOM. Here are the SeaSniper maps to give you an idea which maps I’m talking about:
Russ and I worked in lockstep on the early SOCOMs and we constantly collaborating to make the games better. I could not be more excited to have my design partner return—after all, what better way to recreate the magic than bring back the magicians?
I have a passion for art… all kinds of art – painting, drawing, 2D, 3D, industrial design, graphic design and graffiti. Anything that works the creative muscle is worth looking at and appreciating. I started drawing very young. When I graduated high school, the only continuing education I would endure would be something in the art field. Two years at a local Vocational Institute for Drafting and Illustration lead to my first job at Boeing Airplane Group where I started in Product Development. By luck, this was the first department to get new 3D CAD workstations. After hours I would spend my time creating some of the first airplane interiors in “solid” 3D models that eventually would be shown in presentations to the customer.
When the first consumer 3D software was available, I bought my first copy of 3D Studio. I started my own business creating everything from flying logo’s to architectural models of house designs to show before the house was built. This is where my strength in realistic 3D modeling started.
A few years later I was asked to come work for a small game company called Zipper Interactive. Having the chance to create realistic environments as a career was a dream come true. Zipper Interactive soon became a “triple A” studio and landed the SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs contract through Sony. I was promoted to Art Director for the project. Setting the standard by creating multiplayer maps such as Desert Glory, Night Stalker and Fishhook were just some of the credits to my name. The SOCOM franchise sold over 11 million units world-wide.
Due to the success of SOCOM, Zipper Interactive grew very fast from a company of just eight when I started, to a large company of 150 employees. The duties of Art Director evolved into a role that didn’t allow time for me to actually create any of the art assets used in the game. I decided to step down from my role as AD just before the fourth version of SOCOM was to begin. Creating assets, rebuilding older multiplayer map packs and working on final lighting was a good decision.
My goal as a 3D artist is to get back to the unrefined process of making great video games with a small team. This dynamic allows each and every person involved to feel ownership and pride in the final product – it allows you to feel like the work you put in made a difference. The flexibility of a small team allows big decisions to be made quickly and enhances the creative flow.
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