In continuation of our Developer Interview news series, we took a moment to chat with Eben from our community team about his work with Grinding Gear Games. Many of you will already be familiar with Eben's work on trailers, skill demonstrations, microtransaction videos and more!

Hi Eben, thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a 27 year old from Auckland who’s been with Grinding Gear Games since 2015. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies and all sorts of nerdy hobbies, I’ve found an easy home here. Outside of work I’ve been busy producing an unusual educational game, just because.

What does your current role at GGG involve?

For the lack of a better title I’m the Video Guy. I make the trailers, teasers, and microtransaction videos for Path of Exile.

I’ve made so many microtransaction videos that I would call myself an expert on Exile Fashion. My personal characters are always impeccably dressed.

When making teaser videos I’m Bex’s benevolent nemesis. As she puts it, I’m the Batman to her Joker. While she torments you with content unseen, I’m the one who gets to finally show you what you’re hyped for!

And when making trailers, I have a lot of freedom to approach each new project however I like. It’s often up to me to identify what makes the new content pop and do justice to all the hard work that the developers have put in. It’s a little intimidating at times but rewarding when everything comes together.

How and when did you find out about Path of Exile?

I remember this well! My first introduction to Path of Exile was TotalBiscuit. His “WTF is” video about the game got me to try out the closed beta. I still have my little supporter kiwi pet on my account which I’m very proud of. TotalBiscuit himself was a legend and technically I owe my current job to him because I may have never got into Path of Exile otherwise.

What was the moment that got you hooked on the game?

After the TotalBiscuit video, I remember watching a Build of the Week episode about a Flicker Strike character and thought: that looks awesome, I gotta try that! Naturally I had no idea what I was doing and my poor Shadow couldn’t flicker more than twice every few seconds but he had spirit.

Nonetheless it was wonderful hearing the New Zealand accents and seeing some familiar flora and fauna playing through those first two acts (there were only two at the time). I had never played Diablo or similar ARPGs but Path of Exile stood on its own.

What are some of the more unexpected challenges involved in working on creating videos?

In the past there have been many issues with monster RNG, visual artifacts, and glitches.

I talked about some of this here. However in the last couple of years the team has been able to develop some really nice filming tools for me and I now have the flexibility to ameliorate these problems.

With that said some strange issues still exist. Often I have to chase critters out of the background of a shot. Literally herding cats is part of my job. And yes, they always wander back into frame the moment you forget about them.

Most of the challenge now is the time squeeze. Leagues are ever more ambitious and some assets will only get finished a day before the deadline for the trailer. Exilecon was the extreme case, we had four trailers to make in a very short time.

Which of our past trailers are your favourite and why?

Delve is up there. Everything came together for that league - a new lighting system, new camera tools, the foreboding theme, Kamil’s excellent soundtrack, and the delightfully crazy Niko who Jay Simon brought to life.

I also have to mention the Path of Exile 2 Trailer - it was great to see it on the big screen at Exilecon. Lastly I was also very proud of our Fall of Oriath: Beta Release trailer. It was our few attempts at a story-only “cinematic” trailer and I like to think it came out pretty well.

What did you do before working with us?

I was a bit lost, if I’m honest. I had acquired my media degree but had been kicking around doing volunteer work and personal projects for a year. No one really teaches you how to approach adult life, and when I was young I’m not sure I would’ve listened to them anyway. Naturally I was very happy when I was offered the job at Grinding Gear Games.

How did you end up working at GGG?

I noticed a job listing for the customer service department and being familiar with Path of Exile I simply applied. Turns out I was a good fit! Starting out on the graveyard shift, I worked for a year before Chris came looking for a media person.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of work?

I spend my time with all sorts of nerdy media. Recently I’ve been playing Disco Elysium, reading The Name of the Wind, and playing Dune (the board game) with some friends at GGG.

Oddly, my first and foremost hobby is making educational games. I developed Forgetful Dictator in which a powerful tyrant has everything he needs to conquer the world… except a grasp of basic geography. The player has to help by learning countries, capitals, flags, that kind of thing.

What gave you the inspiration for Forgetful Dictator?

I’d been wanting to make a game for a long time and over the years I’ve piled up a lot of discarded projects. One day I found myself wanting to procrastinate with something informative but I found so few examples of compelling educational games. So I decided to make one, focusing on geography as my own knowledge was terrible.

If you’re an indie developer I’d highly recommend making something educational because if nothing else you’ll learn a lot about your chosen topic. I know where Guinea, Georgia, and Grenada are on a map now so that’s cool.

In recent news I’m releasing on mobile soon and couldn’t be more nervous!

What part of what you do do you enjoy the most?

The trailers of course! Every league has such a different flavour that I have fun simply planning my approach. The best feeling is slotting the shots together and seeing your plan come to life.

Recently I also enjoyed interviewing our composer Kamil. I’d like to make more such videos about other folks at GGG if the opportunity arises.

Do you have any advice for people who might want to get into video creation?

I almost stumbled into the role so take my advice with a grain of salt. But for a job like mine where you’re making videos for a single company, make sure you know their products especially well. My Path of Exile knowledge is just as important as the video skills in this role.

If you're into editing, learn the hotkeys. There’s a lot of other amorphous advice I could give about the industry but… never underestimate hotkeys.

What can we look forward to in terms of what you're working on?

Every time I check out Path of Exile 2 I’m blown away by the audacity and fidelity of the new acts. Filming the PoE 2 trailer was a delight and I can’t wait to show everyone some more!

Right now I’m working on the trailer for the next league. The concept stole my heart, and I’m gonna see how ridiculous I can make the trailer.

If you want to check out more of Eben's video work, be sure to look back on some of our past trailers and follow the Twitter for his game Forgetful Dictator.
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Grinding Gear Games
Eben.. son of..? I love ur trailers btw.

(anyone get that 13th warrior ref?)
Last edited by auc_martin on Jul 20, 2020, 8:13:46 PM
ty eben, very very well done <3
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I'm surprised none of these were posted under "Which of our past trailers are your favorite and why?"
All of these are so fucking good.
I especially like the Conquers of Atlas trailer because the timing of what you see and what you hear from the soundtrack/voices is so spot on and hits all the right emotional notes.
Eben thanks for making these.
awesome stuff
Love dev interviews. Thank you.
IGN: JerleNecroDD/JerleNecroRuthless
Harvest is the BEST league EVER. Deterministic crafting ftw.
How will POE2 and POE coexist?
auc_martin wrote:
Eben.. son of..? I love ur trailers btw.

(anyone get that 13th warrior ref?)

His horse looks like a dog! Woof! Woof! Woof! *laughter*
Shadezilla wrote:
auc_martin wrote:
Eben.. son of..? I love ur trailers btw.

(anyone get that 13th warrior ref?)

His horse looks like a dog! Woof! Woof! Woof! *laughter*

The dog can jump xD
Last edited by Rekill on Jul 21, 2020, 9:36:17 AM

Got seriously nostalgic with the Delve trailer, best league imo.
Second-class poe gamer
Last edited by pr13st on Jul 21, 2020, 2:55:56 AM
The guys behind the gallows look unnatural. Reanimated or possesed.

Could be the Immortal Syndicate or a successor of that organisation.
Masterpiece of 3.16 lore
"A mysterious figure appears out of nowhere, trying to escape from something you can't see. She hands you a rusty-looking device called the Blood Crucible and urges you to implant it into your body."

Only usable with Ethanol Flasks

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