Julian Laing
Animator & VFX Artist

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Brave; The Search For Spirit Dancer




When I had my interview at Vis in the summer of 2000 I was shown a small demo of Brave. When Vis folded in April 2005 Brave had still not been released. This game was endlessly redesigned, rethought, whole levels were built and then ditched and Brave himself went through more radical resculpting than Michael Jackson. And yet by the time Vis folded we had what I regard as a beautiful little game ready for release which says much about the talented group of people I worked with on this project. Potentially this game could have been a hit.
Brave was finally released in September 2005 in Europe but Americans (native or otherwise) had to wait until April 2007 before they could battle the Wendigo or throw stones at grizzly bears.
I was at various times working on Brave, however I tended mostly to be working on other development projects at Vis. My first few months at Vis was spent working on concept art and then working on various demos of the game. Later on I was part of the VFX team and later on still as the game neared completion I was part of the animation team and I worked on some of the animals in the game such as the beetles and the porcupine as well as working on a number of cutscenes (some reworked and others animated from scratch).


Concept Art

solemn chief rain dancers night spirit sun spirit tree spirit wind spirit thunder bird

I thought I'd put up a selection of my early concept art for Brave. I am not a concept artist and I'm quite sure that none of these images were seriously used when designing the game. Besides, there was some stunning concept art produced for the game which can be found in the booklet accompanying the released game. Still, they were fun to do, the images consist of sketches that were then scanned in and worked on in Photoshop.