If you search for the name ďLionel GallatĒ on IMDB, youíll find the name attached to a number of animated feature films: animation director for The Lorax, animation director for Despicable Me, supervising animator for Shark Tale, and the list goes on.
But more recently, Gallat has stepped away from animated feature films, and started developing a video gameÖon his own. The game is called Ghost of a Tale, and with one look at a screenshot it is easy to see that Gallatís artistic skills have easily transitioned into the video game. Ghost of a Tale looks beautiful.
ďAs an animation director I was responsible for the animation of entire movies, leading 60+ [person] teams,Ē Gallat explained to IGM. ďI was longing to go back to the nitty-gritty of creation; writing, modeling, painting, rigging, programming andÖ playing. Iíve already been in a position where I mostly tell people what they should do (and itís probable [that] one day Iíll go back to that position) but today Iím having a lot of fun doing things myself for a change!Ē
Gallat, who is in the middle of promoting the funding campaign for his debut title Ghost of a Tale, chatted with IGM for a bit about his experience transitioning from Hollywood to the game development scene, his woes with Kickstarter, and why Ghost of a Tale deserves your support.
IGM Ė What inspired you to start working on a game, and move out of the animation industry?
Gallat - It was a good time for me to do so. Iíve always loved games and Iíve always enjoyed writing stories, creating models and animating them. But I also love programming (Iíve written tools used in production in several studios). So it wasnít really that far-fetched for me to put the two together.
As an artist who programs I can get lost in a coherent game world and get to look everywhere I want, and interact with things that I created. In a nutshell itís a lot of fun. I feel like a kid again, when I was programming moving sprites (an achievement!) in Microsoft Basic. Itís a huge amount of work obviously, but so rewarding.
IGM Ė So if the game isnít fully fundedÖis that it? Would Ghost of a Tale cease to exist?
Gallat - Yes, probably. Several people have asked me that same question recently. Iíve been working on Ghost of a Tale full-time for more than a year (that includes changing engines), funding everything from my own pocket. So if I canít remain financially independent and get a modest budget to pay for a handful of collaborators Iíll have to pull the plug at some point. Although let me tell you in all honesty it would hurt like hell, since I love this project with all my soul; Iíve poured so much time, energy and love into it.
If the campaign isnít successful I would still try to keep working on the project for as long as I could afford it. But at some point my savings will eventually run out. Iím not complaining though; itís the risk I took so Iím the only one responsible.
I also have to be lucid on the fact that if there arenít enough backers maybe it means that there simply arenít enough people interested in a game like Ghost of a Tale. Thatís what frightens me most.