The Star Wars Gaming Network (SWGN) is extremely proud to feature a very talented Star Wars Battlefront II (SWBFII) concept artist. Darius Kalinauskas is one of Criterion’s concept artists who worked in the game’s Starfighter’s Assault (SFA) game mode. The game mode turned out to be one of the most popular game modes of SWBFII. A lot of the designs you will see in the game were influenced by Darius’ collaboration with other concept artists as well as Criterion’s developers. Some of his contributions include SFA’s Star Card designs, Fondor’s shipyards as well as the Gravity Wells in D’Qar and Darth Maul’s Scimitar cockpit.
In the past, among other things, Darius has also worked in the 2015 version of Star Wars Battlefront and the VR mission that was available for PlayStation 4. He was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview with us and share his experiences from working in the game.
We would like to thank Darius for his time and for answering our questions.
An interview with Starfighter Assault concept artist Darius Kalinauskas
1. Can you please give us an introduction to yourself?
I am a concept artist from Lithuania. Been working in the industry for past 6 years. First time I encountered concept art was back in 1997 when I got my first dial-up internet and started exploring world wide web. I stumbled upon Feng Zhu works and thought to myself what would be something I want to do. Unfortunately, there was nothing connected to that in my country back then, so I got into Vilnius Academy of Arts where I studied industrial design for 4 years.
After the studies, I dove into interior design as a means to earn money. My plan was to get good enough to get a job in the USA and study concept art while working. The only places I knew back then that could be thought of concept art related things were in America. After 7 years I noticed that FZD school opened up and I knew this is my chance to start doing what I love. So after 3 years of savings, hard work and selling pretty much everything I got I went to Singapore and spent one year of intense course to become a concept artist. And here I am years later thankfully still doing what I love.
2. How did you get involved with Star Wars Battlefront II?
I was looking for a studio job for quite some time as I wanted to get into the studio that I would really love. So after countless emails, I got lucky and was proposed a Senior Concept Artist position at EA Criterion Games. As I joined the team I quickly got into doing Star Wars related stuff. In the beginning, it was for the Star Wars™ Battlefront™ Rogue One™: VR Mission and later did different designs for Battlefront II. It was hard work at first to get to know Star Wars IP form a design perspective and not just as a visual thing, but I believe after extensive research I got to know this galaxy quite well ;]
3. For the uninitiated, can you please explain to us what a concept designer does in games like Star Wars Battlefront II?
Well, the same thing as he does for any other game. Concept artist job is to quickly suggest ideas to the team that they could be passed to another member to make assets and other things. Concept Artists are involved in almost every stage of the game from initial design to marketing art. I was responsible to help out the team with a lot of things: concepting level lighting, VFX looks, designing props, asset design, spaceship cockpit design and in general giving tips and suggestion to people who needed my help. So it’s an all-around job that helps the team to get things faster and better ;]
4. How does your work fit the greater picture of building a game?
Apart from what I answered before, I was doing my concept design in 3D. It helps game designers to put my work in progress (WIP) design and check if it plays well in the game. Also, they could tweak the level to better fit my design. It was a back and forth workflow that helped me (and them) to get the best results. Also, some of the concept design suggestions actually became a part of gameplay/level.
5. What was the most challenging thing about working in SWBFII?
I think getting to know the IP, as it is a very established world that is strictly controlled by talented people from Lucas. Every design that we made had to go through them for approval. So by getting to know the IP and how to interpret it correctly, you learn to cut down the changes and the time that would be needed for another round of approvals. It’s a necessary process that also pushed me to be on track the first time.
Every design that we made had to go through them (Lucasfilm) for approval. You learn to cut down the changes and the time that would be needed for another round of approvals.
6. What was the most rewarding thing about working in SWBFII?
For me, it was a chance to design a new canon for the IP. It’s just amazing that I have had a chance to contribute a small part to this ever expanding and amazing universe. I definitely hope the fans approve and enjoy the designs. (Editor’s note: We absolutely do, Darius!)
7. Do you play SWBFII? Is there a particular aspect of the game you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the single-player campaign. The world that all teams build is just amazing it definitely shows a lot of love and hours that have been put by all the member of all studios. I must say I don’t play multiplayer games because of the nature of my work (aka I have no time for them ;] ). I really enjoyed all the playtest we had in the studio. The handling of different ships is unique and the game is definitely engaging.
8. Is there somewhere, where fans can see your work?
Artstation is most updated, so my most recent work is there.
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