The MBG Team Spotlight Series is a new feature blog series profiling the MBG team members shaping…
The MBG Team Spotlight Series is a new feature blog series profiling the MBG team members shaping the future of an accessible, inclusive and fun decentralized gaming ecosystem. The series will showcase what the team is working on, their background in the industry and skills and tips for getting involved in the community.
The first conversation in our series is with Benjamin Chevalier (Arty Bear), Co-founder and Head of Art at MBG, who tells us about his childhood growing up on a boat, his favorite action hero and why Singapore has become such a hub for gaming innovation.
Tell me about yourself, your background, and your career to date?
I’m one of the Co-Founders of Mighty Bear Games but my experience in art and gaming began as soon as I finished high school. I was lucky enough to start my career at Ubisoft, their office specializing in original intellectual property is located in Montpellier, the small town in the South of France where I grew up. My background covers anything and everything visual in relation to games. I began as a 3D artist and worked my way up to Art Director working on several large IPs including Avatar, Disney and Star Wars.
On the opposite end of the spectrum to AAA studios, I’ve also worked on smaller projects and founded a start-up working on original content. I have always preferred the experience of working with a smaller studio because you have greater choice in the people you work with and everyone is granted a voice in the direction of the company. In previous companies, I did not always have a lot of agency so it’s important for me that MBG is a collaboration between all our team members.
How did you come to co-found Mighty Bear Games?
Around ten years ago I moved to Singapore to begin working with LucasFilm. Later, Simon, Fadzuli and I were all working together at King when we came up with the idea for MBG. When King was acquired by Activision our Singapore studio was shut down and we were asked to move to Europe. However, the game development scene in Singapore was so exciting (as is the Web3 scene now), we felt there was so much innovation and opportunity that we couldn’t possibly leave.
Everyone knows everyone in the gaming industry, particularly in Singapore. We’ve all been able to watch our ecosystem grow over the past ten years. Large studios will set up a branch in Singapore that follows the direction of its HQ, usually in the US, Europe or Japan. You then have people leaving those large studios to set up their own, and that’s why Singapore is now full of independent, mid-size gaming studios.
When we founded MBG, myself and seven other original team members had all worked together for quite a few years so we knew how to collaborate and felt that the timing for setting up our own studio was right.
Tell me a bit about your current role at Mighty Bear Games.
Currently, I am Head of Art but as a founder it is important that I am flexible and support whatever is needed of me at the time, as things can change quickly in such a fast-paced, developing industry. I contribute to the direction and processes of MBG and review all of our assets to ensure that the content we are putting out into the world is aligned with our vision for the game.
When did you first encounter blockchain technology?
My first exposure to Web3 came with the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection. I never purchased an ape but I saw the collection begin to generate buzz and wanted to understand what was making people so excited. For me, it was much more than the collection itself that was inspiring — it was the technology behind it that fixed so many infrastructural challenges. For example, at MBG we tried building an MMORPG and it was an incredibly complex task. Now, those building blocks are offered free upon the blockchain.
I think community is such an important part of an NFT collection. That’s why I like the KaijuKingz, I was drawn in by the Godzilla-inspired, 80s-style pixel art but interacting with the community adds another layer of engagement.
What feature in ‘Mighty Action Heroes’ are you most excited for?
I’m really looking forward to seeing what players do with crafting — it’s the ability to collect a bunch of assets or items and combine them in different ways to create new content, so the possibilities really are endless. The content will be located on-chain by the time the game launches globally, which means it can then be sold and traded. It’s great that gamers now have the tools to customize their experience however they see fit and contribute to what the game looks like and how the storyline is shaped.
What action hero best depicts your life?
I wish he depicted my life but my favorite action hero would be Jack Slater, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Last Action Hero. In the film, there is a magic ticket that allows heroes to be brought into our world but once they get here, they have no idea how real life works. There’s a fun blur between movies and reality.
Do you have any favorite games that you enjoy playing?
I like to play a lot of games but my favorite at the moment is the Japanese oldie, Katamari Damacy. It’s sweet, conceptual and quite a soothing playing experience. The score was written by independent Japanese artists and you can listen to the music, zone out and escape the real world for a while.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
As a child, I moved from France to the Caribbean with my parents and spent three years living on a boat sailing around South America, the Gulf of Mexico and eventually ending up in Haiti. It was a really fun period of my life and I have many fond memories of taxiing my dog between the boat and the beach on our paddleboard.
If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?
Not having to leave my chair for coffee, simple yet life-changing!
To keep up with Ben, you can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Join the Mighty Bear Games community and learn more about how we’re making decentralized gaming accessible for everyone here.
The MBG Team Spotlight Series is a new feature blog series profiling the MBG team members shaping… was originally published in Mighty Bear Games on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.