Epic Games has a new chief creative officer. Days after the role’s previous owner, Donald Mustard, announced his retirement, Epic Games has revealed his replacement: Charlie Wen. Wen is a former concept artist and designer who’s worked at Riot, Disney, Marvel, Sony, and more, and he’s got some pretty sweet bonafides.
Charlie was responsible for designing and integrating the look and feel of Marvel’s innumerable iconic heroes and villains from divergent realms into one cohesive cinematic universe. He was also in charge of inspiring future scripts through the visual storytelling of keyframes. His films include Thor, Captain America: the First Avenger, Marvel’s The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: the Dark World, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and early art-direction of Black Panther.
Some of Wen’s tweets feature artwork he’s done for Marvel characters that hew pretty closely to what we get to see in the films. Here are some of Wen’s designs for one of my personal favorite Marvel movies, Thor: The Dark World.
(Yes, I know Thor: The Dark World is almost universally reviled, but 1) I’m a sucker for Kenneth Branagh, and 2) hate the movie all you want, but the character designs were cool.)
If that weren’t enough, Wen’s also worked on designing PlayStation’s bloody mascot Kratos, including creating early concepts of his iconic Blades of Chaos weapons... on napkins.
“As ideas started to flow, I realized I had no sketchbook — good thing the restaurant had napkins,” Wen once shared in a PlayStation blog. “A vision of Kratos came to me that needed to get out of my head and onto paper (or napkin) — he had wide double blades attached to his forearms by chains that he would fling around.”
It’s fitting that someone of Wen’s talents has been chosen to head up Epic’s creative endeavors. Fortnite, arguably Epic’s biggest game, has greatly improved its public perception in part because of how well it designs character skins from across many, many different entertainment IPs (including Marvel and God of War) and even real people. Epic having someone whose LinkedIn boasts of creating Kratos seems like a natural fit.