Mike Nicholson

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Michael (Mike) Nicholson is a Senior Artist for Diablo III. Mike is known as the "UI guy," and he's worked extensively on the game interface, inventory, icons, and other related tasks. Mike got his start in the gaming industry by simply replying to an ad for a fantasy artist (the company that posted the ad was likely DreamForge, though this is speculation based on the fact that his earliest game credit appears on Menzoberranzen). Mike has worked on the UI (user interface) for every game that he has worked on.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

Michael (Mike) Nicholson's Diableard.

Mike graduated from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1988, where he studied Commercial Art.

Mike has worked at a number of different game companies and has pretty much done the entire spectrum of activities associated with game design.[2] He spent about 7 years working with DreamForge on multiple award-winning role-playing and strategy PC games. Since the dissolution of DreamForge in 2000, he has picked up a great deal of experience with a number of well-known game companies such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Monolith, and Sigil Games Online.

While at Sigil Games, Mike had the unique opportunity to work with an artist he had admired greatly - Keith Parkinson. Keith, a legend in the fantasy art realm, was Art Director for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

Mike joined Blizzard in October 2006 and now works as a Senior Artist/Interface Designer on Diablo III.

Interviews[edit | edit source]

Mike talked with Bashiok a bit about his career during Blizzcast #8.[3]

Bashiok: Mike Nicholson who is a new face and voice to those following Diablo III, what do you do on the team?
Mike: I'm a Senior Artist and I’m in charge of all the interface. Also known as "The UI Guy".
Bashiok: So Mike, actually I wanted to touch on something you did in the past. I was at your office a few weeks ago and found out you were Lead Designer and Lead Art on a game which was near and dear to me which was called Sanitarium. Without going into it too much, that was a point and click adventure game, so how did you get from that to working here at Blizzard?
Mike: Well, I’m glad you liked it, I’m proud of that game. Well the thing was when we did Sanitarium unfortunately even though it was well received, everyone who played it liked it, not that many people played it. Well eventually they did. We kind of got there as the party was going out...
Bashiok: For point and click adventures...
Mike: So, you know you kind of take a look around and go well I guess I need to get back into art. Came out to California and started doing 3D environments and kind of worked all the way back up to interface, where I’m back to doing 2D art again.

Artwork[edit | edit source]

Mike maintains a personal website.[4] There, you can see numerous, stunning examples of his art. Many pieces (from both games and otherwise) are featured in his gallery. On display are beautiful, colored samples from the World of Warcraft: Trading Card Game (WoW:TCG), concept art for various games, original Vanguard: Saga of Heroes item lore and item artwork, personal artwork, as well as examples of interface design.

Diablo III Poker Set[edit | edit source]

Mike was one of the key members responsible for designing the Blizzcon 2010 Diablo III exclusive poker set. In a DirecTV special segment during the Blizzcon 2010 event, he explained to viewers the design decisions that went into making the cards and poker chips.[5]

Game Credits/Experience[edit | edit source]

  • 2010 - Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard; Battle.net Team, Additional Art
  • 2007 - The Shield, Point of View; Artist[6]
  • 2007 - Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Sigil Games Online; Senior Artist/UI Designer
  • 2006 - Condemned, Monolith Productions; UI Concept Designer
  • 2005 - The Matrix Online, Monolith Productions; Art Director
  • 2005 - God of War, Sony Computer Entertainment Studios: Santa Monica; Additional Artist
  • 2004 - Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, Interplay Entertainment; Special Thanks
  • 2004 - Trigger Man, Point of View; Artist
  • 2003 - Run Like Hell, Interplay Productions; Art, Additional Design
  • 2001 - Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Interplay Productions; Artist
  • 1999 - Warhammer 40k : Rites of War, DreamForge; Lead Artist, 2D Art Team
  • 1998 - Sanitarium, DreamForge; Lead Designer, Additional Graphics/Artwork, 3D Art, Writing/Dialogue/Story, Storyboarding
  • 1997 - War Wind II: Human Onslaught, DreamForge; Artist
  • 1996 - War Wind, DreamForge; Graphics/Artwork
  • 1995 - Anvil of Dawn, DreamForge; Artist, Rule Book Illustrations
  • 1995 - Chronomaster, DreamForge; Lead Artist, Cover Art
  • 1995 - Ravenloft: Stone Prophet, DreamForge; Graphics/Artwork
  • 1994 - Menzoberranzen, DreamForge; Artist

Media[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]