60 Seconds with Mill Director Robert Sethi on Gaming advertising & the importance of character progression

Robert Sethi is known for his ability to weave narrative into everything he does. His extensive background in Art, Animation and VFX have created a strong storytelling foundation, from which he consistently provokes emotional responses to his work. Able to blur the lines between computer generated imagery and reality, Robert works across a diverse range of mediums and experiments with innovative approaches; whether working in live-action, CG animation or design. With a love of animated films, characters and a long-held interest in short stories, Robert has mastered the art of bringing characters to life on screen.
Thought August 26, 2020

Tell us about how you developed an interest in gaming?

My mother was a painter so when I was growing up she dragged me and my brother to an endless sea of art museums. I went to weird art classes and started to experiment in sculptures and painting. It was when my older brother got a computer that I started using it to create art. At that point, in the late ‘80s, I also discovered playing computer games. From that point on, gaming went from a small ‘fringe’ thing to the booming industry it is today.


How has gaming advertising evolved over the years?

Since the late 80s, there have been various different waves of advertising styles and approaches. Back then when we had our first computer, the advertising for gaming was as simple as a picture of a game in a computer magazine, but as the industry grew that increased to include TV commercials. Initially there was not as much focus on showcasing graphics or the actual game, instead messaging was focused on how people related to the games and the specific experience of how it felt to play the game. I think that’s still a crucial part of modern gaming advertising; to communicate the emotion and experience of playing the game.


How has the user affected the way gaming companies advertise?

When you look at past gaming advertising it tended to be live action then as graphics got better, it translated to full CG and cinematics of games. Today we are in a super interesting space where gaming companies have huge communities of gamers that are so invested in these titles, they want to find out more of the back story. They have such an appetite for more content and ways to explore the universe they are immersed in.


What do you like about working with gaming companies?

Gaming companies have traditionally been brave in doing things first. They work with their loyal fan base and can be very targeted as a result. They experiment with style, look and content. It’s a fascinating area to work in, as there are complex stories to be told and tons of amazing content to be created thanks to that experimental nature. The games generally tend to be already exciting in themselves. It’s especially great to work on an ongoing campaign where the content grows, changes and responds to the audience. This was the case with our Hay Day work, where we developed characters that have such charming and interesting personalities. The Apex Legends launch trailers are also structured around introducing new characters and following their progression. The opportunity to come back to the same world and build on it is always a fun creative challenge.


You can check out more of Robert’s work on his Creator profile and get in touch with our studios here.