Oddworld's Inhabitants: Marke Pedersen, Technical Director [Hosted by Oddworld.com] Date: April 2003 Interviewer: Oddworld.com Interviewee: Marke Pedersen
Oddworld’s Inhabitants are as diverse as the world they’ve worked together to create. Here’s where you’ll find interviews and other informative articles spotlighting the many creative folk that work at Oddworld Inhabitants. Be they headline players or behind-the-scenes heroes, the Inhabitants profiled here all share Oddworld’s ceaseless dedication to bringing you the best worlds and games that you’ve ever experienced.
Marke Pedersen, Technical Director
Project credits: Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, 2001 (Oddworld) T.D.
Current Project: Oddworld’s 4th game – Technical Director
Q: What’s your background?
Marke Pedersen: After I graduated from high school in Calgary, I went straight into university where I studied biology then marketing. After my third year of university I left to pursue something more exciting than what I had been studying there. First I went through a ‘Computer Graphics and Dynamic Media’ course at a small private school (studying things like html and cd-rom authoring), and following that I enrolled in a Computer Graphics and Digital Effects course at Vancouver Film School. It was mostly my time at VFS that provided the foundation for what I do now. Although I would probably consider this to be my first REAL job, I did work all kinds of jobs while I was attending school, most of which are completely unrelated to video games – everything from construction, to fly fishing equipment wholesale, to web design.
Q: Who are your biggest influences? Why?
Marke Pedersen: I’m influenced by so many different things it’s hard to say who (or what) my biggest influences are. I guess as far as people go my parents have always been a big influence. They have always been a big help with everything I’ve done and I’ve always respected there advice and opinions. That said, I think they wanted me to be a dentist or a lawyer, so I obviously have other influences as well. I love all kinds of media and entertainment: music, movies, games, web, sculpture and other traditional arts, etc. I think it was my love for visual entertainment that influenced me to work this industry.
Q: Why did you decide to go into the video game industry? Why Oddworld?
Marke Pedersen: Honestly, I wasn’t looking to get into the game industry in particular. My goal after finishing school was to work for a company that was producing some cool hi-res cg, and I really liked Oddworld’s style. Since I’ve been here at Oddworld I’ve really started enjoying games a whole lot more so this year I made the switch from the cg department to the real time department, and I’m really loving it here in real time as well.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Marke Pedersen: I love to be outdoors snowboarding, biking, hiking, surfing, etc. (although these days I’m really not doing any of those things enough).
Q: What CDs are you currently listening too?
Marke Pedersen: Right this second I’ve got a Jurassic 5 album playing, but give it a few minutes – I change my CD’s a lot.
Q: What book are you currently reading?
Marke Pedersen: As for books, I really only ‘read’ books with a lot of pictures. I’ve been searching the internet for “Nira Works” by Yasushi Nirasawa. It’s a book of sculptures and I can’t find it anywhere!
Q: What kind of a place is Oddworld?
Marke Pedersen: It’s a pretty cool place to work. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere with loads of amazing artwork on the walls. How many people can say that they work at a company that will let you wear Mexican wrestling masks to a production meeting or that they get to resolve conflicts using inflatable weaponry?
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
Marke Pedersen: A typical day for me starts about 10:00 a.m. and goes until 7:00 p.m. or later (much later when we are busy). The bulk of my day is spent either at my desk working in Maya (mostly modeling and texturing) or boxing with the other guys in the department. We often end the evening by annihilating the game design department in a game of Battlefield 1942 or Command and Conquer Generals.
Q: What do you like best about coming to work? What’s the worst part?
Marke Pedersen: The best part about coming to work is that I’m getting paid to do something that I would probably be doing in my spare time anyway. The worst part … hmmmmm … I think the worst part must be listening to my co-worker Ryan Ellis’ bad jokes.
Q: If you could change jobs with one of the other Inhabitants who would it be and why?
Marke Pedersen: I really wouldn’t want to change jobs with anybody, but if I had to do something else here, I would love to be a production designer. Unfortunately for me I can’t draw worth a @#$ so I guess I would have to trade talents with one of them as well.
Q: What at Oddworld are you most proud of?
Marke Pedersen: I think I’m probably most proud of the pooping deer we have in our department’s annual Christmas decorations! Well, that and the quality of games Oddworld produces.
Q: Many fans are upset with Oddworld’s decision to develop for the Xbox exclusively. Any comments?
Marke Pedersen: I can understand the disappointment for people who had already bought a PS2, but I know that Xbox’s superior hardware allows Oddworld’s games to be far richer than they could be on the PS2.
Q: What advice would you give someone trying to break into games?
Marke Pedersen: Only do it if you are willing to work hard. That’s what it takes to get into this industry, and that’s what it takes once you’re here.
Q: Who is your favorite Oddworld character? Why?
Marke Pedersen: No question, it’s Big Bro Slig. He’s big, he’s super tough, and he has tons of cool gear.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the new game or what you are working on right now?
Marke Pedersen: Well, I can tell you that it is going to have tons of stuff… and lots of things… and some characters… and some levels… Actually, I can’t say much, but I can say that it looks amazing and it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.