Jonathon recently conducted a seminar at the Montreal International Games Summit about making cinematics to enhance the story without resorting to drastic cutscenes.
Jonathan currently leads the BioWare Montreal animation team creating cutscenes and in-game story moments for Mass Effect 2, having previously served as Lead Animator on the original Mass Effect and Cinematic Animator on Jade Empire in Edmonton, even finding a year in between to moonlight as Lead Animator on Deus Ex 3 at Eidos Montreal.
Learning his trade as Animator, Cinematic Animator and Lead Animator in his home country of Scotland on various character-heavy games, Jonathon has nine years industry experience and holds a Bachelor of Design Degree in Animation.
Following his excellent seminar I was able to take some time with Jonathan and discuss the talk as well as his history, ideas and approach to the industry. Jonathon is an incredibly talented animator and has amazing insight into the industry and what effective cinematic design means.
During our talk we touched on his role and how he invests himself into the characters and the process. In particular he attached himself to the Subject Zero character and took charge of her sexual scenario with Shepard as he found it very interesting.
Following that we had to discuss the Fox News inspired sex scandal that occurred during the Mass Effect release. Jonathan mentioned he was not part of the team at the time and blogged about it, but he doesn't think it is a bad thing. Fox was wrong, he was clear on that, but awareness to sex in video games is not a bad thing as it should be allowed and treated the same way as movies.
The rest of the discussion covered a number of topics from other cinematic games, to Mass Effect 2's process and appeal. Jonathon is VERY excited for the release and in talking to him I took his words and feelings as a gamer talking to a gamer and it made me even more excited for the game to arrive.
Hit the link below for the full streaming audio interview, I am sure anyone interesting in cinematic games will enjoy our dynamic talk. Jonathan Cooper is currently completing the last polishing touches on the cinematic animations for Mass Effect 2 which is launching January 26, 2010.