Position at Irrational:
So your title actually gets to be “Artist?” In the videogame world what does that entail?
I guess that entails putting pencil to paper and defining the face of game being created. I’ve always been drawn to character concepting work. I know this comes from growing up loving the larger-than-life characters of the movies and comic books.
How is the art you do here for work different from the art you may do for yourself at home?
The art I work on at home is not all that different from the stuff I work on at Irrational in that, once again, it mainly revolves around characters. The one main difference is that I work in traditional mediums at home. I really enjoy large-format painting as well as sculpting. I hardly ever fire up my home computer to make artwork. Currently I am finishing up a toy portrait series I’ve been working on for a while. The series is composed of several large oil paintings of some of my favorite vintage character toys. Most of these portraits are pretty whimsical. They range from a soulful-looking Ben Grimm to a shameless, bubble headed Darth Vader knock-off. I also really enjoy sculpting little campy characters in clay and then reproducing them in resin. I’ve always been fascinated with schlocky hit-and-miss qualities of cheaply manufactured character toys.
What games have you worked on?
System Shock, Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri, Flight Unlimited, Thief, Akuji the Heartless, Freedom Force, Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich, The Lost, BioShock.
Describe Life at Irrational in three words or less.
Barrel o’ fun.
What is your favorite game of all time?
Tron the arcade game! Light cycles! Electric blue, light up joystick!
Name a game everyone should play once in their life.
Freedom Force. Ha!
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Art, candlepin bowling, terrible B-movies.
What is your favorite movie?
Alien. Nothing beats the stark horror or design work in that movie.
I hear tell that you might be something of a collector or fan of classic comics and figures? Any truth to that? If so, what is it that you love about them?
Um, maybe? Yes, with comics books it’s the nostalgia, the four-color printing, the crazy characters, the classic artwork and the ridiculous stories. I even love the smell of vintage, yellowed, slightly musty pulp! And yes, I have a few old dusty, vintage plastic figures. I love poorly-realized characters the best. If it’s from the 70’s, goofy looking and of questionable quality, I probably need it.
What’s your favorite Irrational story?
Some friends of mine from work and I used to hold band practice after hours at our work space. Our old office in Southie [Editor's Note: nickname for South Boston] was a cool three-story building that used to be a school house. We were on the second floor playing late one evening and we had left the fire escape doors open. Suddenly a bottle came flying through the open doors and landed at our feet. We all stopped playing and looked at each other, dumbfounded. We heard a nasty, bellowing voice coming from the dark below. “Shut the f–k up!” We took the hint and closed the doors. We were pretty sure who the voice in the night belonged to as we were familiar with a Whitey Bulger wanna-be that lived across the way.
See, on several occasions, from our birds-eye vantage point, we had witnessed this guy getting ugly and threatening people that were trying to park in front of his house. People in Southie are notorious for defending their self-proclaimed street parking spots. This guy used to put out an orange pylon to keep prospective parkers away. One day, me and another friend I worked with had seen enough of this guy’s chest beating. I dared him to run down and steal the guy’s pylon. My friend actually went down and snatched it! He brought it up laughing and we threw it in a closet. Whitey ended up replacing the pylon with a sad lawn chair.
Getting back to my story… the next morning after the flying bottle incident, Whitey came over to the office and threatened a random secretary in the building, proclaiming if he heard any more music coming out of the office he would torch the place. A day or so later my friend, the guy that stole the pylon, found his tires had been slashed. The parking lot was directly behind our building and in direct sight of our ornery neighbor. He must have been singled out because he often brought his guitar to and from work. Old Whitey must have figured this was one of the punks making such a racket a few nights before.
Anyway, on behalf of Dracula 2000, we are sorry about your tire’s misfortune. Or maybe, just maybe, it was just a little bit of Southie-style karma for the kidnapping of an innocent pylon.
Here’s why we think Robb is swell…
Robb Waters is a fixture at Irrational. He has worked on numerous titles and has over 15 years of experience in the industry. If you have played the Freedom Force games, you’ve frolicked in Robb’s sketchbook.
Robb’s love of retro comics and vintage toys gives him a unique style that breathes life into every game he works on. He gave Andrew Ryan a face, lent Sander Cohen his unmistakable panache, and (despite Tenenbaum’s protestations to the contrary) was the real creator of the Little Sisters. When he’s not raising the ire of the neighborhood restaurants’ wait staff, Robb continues to bring his brilliant and bizarre vision to our (for now) unannounced title.