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Success Story: Kostas “KC” Chatzaropoulos

We have spoken to another environment artist from SuperMassive Games, Kostas who was kind enough to answer some questions for our blog!

What course did you study?

I’ve joined Escape Studios in 2021 for the MA Game Art, as it was by far the most proven institution from all my research and choices, and I could not have been happier that I did so.

What are you working on at the moment?

I was delighted to be offered a job at Supermassive Games as an Environmental Artist very recently, and I am working on a very interesting and exciting project. Being part of the team that I am working with is an absolute delight, and I am very lucky to be surrounded not only by great professionals but likeminded people that are great to talk to, work and hang out with.

On my personal time I am mostly learning hard surface modelling, as I feel this is something that I can really expand my skills and knowledge, along with some Tech Art (shaders, post process and blueprints) in Unreal Engine 5.

What work are you most proud of working on and was/is your most notable achievement?

I have to say that I am extremely proud of our “Bioshock Infinite: London” group project during our MA course, mainly because not only it was a great opportunity to work as part of a team, something that is the main factor is studio work, but this also got us a ton of attention from various game developer communities, such as DiNusty Empire and Beyond Extend.

On a personal note, I was really delighted to complete my final personal project, which in turn provided me with a lot of attention through ArtStation and 80lvl articles, and ultimately led to the interviews and offers I had from various studios. To be honest, it was a very interesting process, and the decision was not as easy as one would think, but I truly feel that it was the right one.  

If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word, what would it be and why?

The word that comes to mind is “Valuable”.

I was fortunate to have the full support of my tutors (Chris Avigni & Tom Harle) along with the help we got as a group from our studio assistant at the time (and a very good friend now), Emanuele Celli. With their guidance, and a ton of hard every day work, our group managed to gain all the necessary knowledge and skillset in order to be at a recruitable and employable level right out of the Masters, something that is actually very valuable for the gaming industry, especially for junior and mid-level positions.

The fact that I managed to become close friends with my classmates is the cherry on top.

What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in Games?

It’s all about hard work. Working in the games industry is as much as a dream as it is pressure.

Through this Masters course I’ve managed to completely change my career from 20 years in the highest level of hospitality management to fulfilling my childhood dream and be able to describe myself as a “game developer” in one of the best studios in the world.

This would not have been possible without strong foundations given by the tutors and hard practise after class.

Also, it is extremely important to understand what “game ready assets and workflows” really are about. Although you are taught all the necessary fundamentals in the Masters, you must dig deeper and research yourself in order to find what suits your style of creation, your approach to problem solving and, ultimately, your success as a 3d artist, game developer and employee.

What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?

My main moto is “stay humble, stay hungry”. You must be able to learn, sometimes at a pace that you might not be very accustomed to. This will test not only your raw skillset, but adaptability and execution. If there is one piece of advice, I can give to anyone that wants to become a game developer, it would be this:

It is a very special place to be in, because we can touch people’s lives in a way that no other industry or entertainment product can. Gaming combines everything, from music to cinema, to art, to emotion, drama or comedy, being alone or with friends. We have a chance to create very special experiences for the players (as we are also, of course, gamers) and it takes a ton of effort in order to do so. Be patient, work hard, always put your knowledge to the test, gain the power to create and it will become your main weapon for you to be successful and, ultimately, have the time of your life doing the thing that you love the most and getting paid for it!

It is literally the coolest job in the Multiverse!

What’s your favourite game and why?

At the moment I must put Elden Ring on top of the list. The game is a masterclass in design, atmosphere and gameplay execution.

For my all time favourite, I really cannot pinpoint only one title, but I will make a small list, as the elder statesman that I am:

  • Bubble Bobble (Arcades)
  • Sonic 2
  • Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
  • Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
  • Half-Life 2 (PC)
  • Neverwinter Nights (PC)
  • TES: Skyrim (anywhere, plus some smart fridges…)
  • Unreal Tournament 1 & 2004 (PC)

Thanks KC and SuperMassive for the interview!

More about Kostas:

https://www.artstation.com/solidkostas

More about SuperMassive Games:

https://www.supermassivegames.com/

Unreal Authorized Instructor, Programme Leader for MA Games Art at Escape Studios & Tutor for Games Art Short / Part Time Courses. I have been teaching new creative talent for the past 15+ years, at institutions such as Alpha Channel and the University of Hertfordshire. I've also wrote numerous published books about Unreal Engine including; UDK Basics, Level Design and Documentation and UDK Games scenarios integration as well creating game assets for the next generation consoles such as the racing game ‘Pacer’. Currently working on my own game!

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