Glenn De Leon, 28, is one of the world’s most in demand lead 3D video game artists, heading up creative teams that have developed bestselling AAA games, including Star Wars: The Old Republic, Borderlands 3, Friday the Thirteenth: The Game and The Sims series. His work acts as a gold standard and blueprint for teams of artists in Los Angeles and other American cities who work underneath him. Leon currently does this work remotely from his home in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, while he tries to make arrangements to be granted the legal right to emigrate to the United States.
It is with gumption and remarkable talent that Glenn De Leon was able to get hired by American video game and 3D modeling conglomerates Heroforge and Devoted Studios.
“My bosses are in Los Angeles and the team of artists who work under me are based in America as well,” says De Leon, who right now must oversee everything from his home in Mexico.
De Leon began his 3D animation career in Mexico where he was originally recruited to a Mexican video game production company. He toiled away there for four years, but says he was forced to hold several jobs because as he puts it, “in Mexico, traditionally, artists were not as valued, and you live the life of a struggling artist.”
“Although,” he admits, “that is improving now a bit.”
The first in his family to successfully pursue something artistic, De Leon adds, “Being an artist for these American companies is wonderful and I am honored. It is my dream come true, but right now I am working far away from where everything happens. I feel like an outsider in my own artform and among my own teams of artists. I have a lot more to offer and I cannot do it full throttle until I am in the United States, in the hub of the gaming industry, which is Los Angeles.”
In the interim, Glenn De Leon is focused on continuing to make the best 3D graphics for some of the world’s biggest video game franchises. “Now with the new PS5 and Xbox,” says De Leon, “we have entered a new generation of games and the stakes are higher to make better art. We’re going back to what was considered AAA 3D video game art five years ago and comparing it to now, and we can see how drastically quality and specifications have changed with the introduction of Unreal Engine 5.”
The in demand lead artist says users would be amazed at the transformation that takes place when he and his teams take two dimensional artwork and bring 3D depth to life, as well as the techniques employed when scaling the artwork from laptop and desktop to the less powerful platforms like tablets or cellphones.
De Leon emphasizes that he and his teams are working on new video game graphics that will blow users away in 20222. “The projects and quality that Unreal Engine 5 will allow us to create for gamers is beyond anything we have seen before, and I would recommend that anyone looking to break into this industry have knowledge of the newest tools.”
“I have always seen games as an incredible form of art. Every project has its own rules, style and technical needs that always keep the job interesting.”
As far as De Leon’s opportunity to work on the Star Wars video game franchise as an artist residing outside the U.S., he adds, “The most important thing is passion and being able to demonstrate that you can follow the style of the project, and most importantly, don’t hoard knowledge of the industry. Share and mentor.”