This week’s Media Consumption, a weekly column which seeks to find out what our favorite game designers have been listening to, watching, reading, and playing, speaks to Jenny Ryu, Lead Character Artist at Electronic Arts.
Ryu is a very busy woman, currently balancing her roles as college professor, mother, and 3D modeler. Ryu received her Master of Fine Arts Degree from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 1999, where she continues teaching modeling and animation. Her first major role in the games industry was as CG Director and 3D Artist for Konami’s Castlevania: Resurrection
for the Dreamcast, which was unfortunately cancelled prior to completion.
From there she moved on to Namco, employed as the Senior Character Artist on Dead to Rights
. In 2002 she landed the role as Producer, Project Manager, and Animation Supervisor for Rockstar Games’ Midnight Club II
, and finally settled at EA, as the Lead Character Artist for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
. She is currently putting finishing touches into the character models for EA’s upcoming adaptation of The Godfather
, slated for release early in 2006.
Ryu is currently fixated on the melodic and New Age-flecked vibes of Irish-born singer Enya. “I'm a crazy fan,” she says. “Her music gives me inspiration and ideas for my creation work.”
“Frankly, I haven't chance to watch any movies over the last few years,” she claims. “Can you believe it?” When pressed, she does admit to having seen The Godfather
movies in preparation for her continuing work on the game adaptation at Electronic Arts. “Ah ha!” she said. “Sure, at least ten times!”
Ryu’s favorite book as of late is Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
, the fruit of a five-year research project by self-proclaimed 'student of enduring great companies' Jim Collins. “That is my favorite book,” she says, “and a guideline for my management skills and business life.”
“I love to play games,” said Ryu, “but I have no time to anymore, being a full-time worker and full-time mother for my two kids!” She has been, however, conspiring to design her own game, one of these days. “Shh,” she says, “it’s a secret!”
[Frank Cifaldi is a Las Vegas-based freelance author whose credits include work for Nintendo Official Magazine UK, Wired, and his own Lost Levels website.]