Mike Rayahwk LEGO Universe
Epsilon Starcracker
"Epsilon Starcracker" - 2010

At some point early in the development of LEGO Universe, the design team at NetDevil discovered the big BrikWars painting and tried to bring me on board. I was unfortunately tied up at Spin Master at the time, but my absence didn't stop them from leaning on my paintings for inspiration.

When I was finally able to join the team a couple of years later, I found out I'd been built up like some kind of mythological figure in the meantime. In the new employee orientation presentation, half the slides were about me and my previous projects, and for the first month or two people kept stopping by to tell me about myself in the third person. It was more than a little bit surreal.

NetDevil gave me a desk and a Cintiq and a vague mandate to work some kind of magic. (Later on, once the game was released, I started getting specific assignments for marketing material and key visuals like a normal in-house agency job, but for that first year or two my duty was just to paint like crazy and generate inspiration.)

My first and most important pieces in my role as an inspirator were the faction banners that became the main images of our marketing push leading up to launch, but there were a whole pile of other paintings that followed as we jumped into different areas of development.

Capture the Princess
"Capture the Princess" Team PVP
Castle World Overview
Castle World Overview

The Castle world was going to be so cool, you don't even know. The players had no idea what was just about to hit them.

These pictures don't do it justice; there were a ton of new game modes and features attached to this release. I really believe this was where online LEGO gaming was going to come into its own.

Epic Property
Epic Player Property
Faction Scouts
Faction Scouts
Racecar Customization
Racecar Customization
Loot!
Loot!

Every now and then I'd get a spare minute to do some one-off concept pieces with the lead designers - the above were with Aldric Saucier (nailing down the costuming style notes for the four factions) and Jordan Itkowitz (working out the details of the racecar customization system).

Ninjago Monastery Ruins
Ninjago Monastery Ruins
Sensei Wu on Crux Prime
Sensei Wu on Crux Prime
Ninjago Monastery World Comps
Ninjago Monastery World Comps
Monastery Challenges
Monastery Challenges
Monastery Challenges
Monastery Challenges
Ninjago Monastery Challenges
Ninjago Caves
Ninjago Caves
Ninjago Caves
Ninjago Caves
Ninjago Monastery Caves
Bone Beetle
Bone Vulture
Bone Wolf
Ninjago Skeleton Creatures
The Underhand
The Underhand
Ninjago Fire Realm
Ninjago Fire Realm
Ninjago Fire Realm
Ninjago Fire Realm

Needless to say, there was a bunch of cool stuff coming up for Ninjago also.

Mike Rayahwk
LEGO Playthemes | LEGO Universe
BrikWars | Spin Master | Etcetera
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