What keeps us so busy in the art department? It’s maintaining a cohesive visual language while so many other development aspects are screaming for our attention.
Of course if you say that gameplay is king …you are totally right. All good level designs cater to the core mechanics. Visual guidance, covers and navigation spaces create demanding list of rules which dictate the visual appearance.
But — it doesn’t mean that our artist freedom becomes limited! For example, in the real world, architects deal with constraints all the time, and yet the world is full of incredibly beautiful structures. Our situation is no different, and the need to stick to the rules does not mean we have to murder our imagination.
Obviously, though, creating around the gameplay is not the only battle that graphic artists fight. The other is the cohesiveness and richness of the story told through the visuals. The environmental story-telling, if you will. We have to be precise with the assets chosen, all to make sure a place both feels credible and has something to say about the world of Witchfire. There’s a lot of stuff to discover for people interested in the unspoken lore.
But again, taking all the limits and rules and constraints into account, we’re still left with enough space to truly create.
A good example of the creative pleasures we bathe in is the general art direction we’ve chosen for at least parts of Witchfire. As you maybe know, we are using the photogrammetry tech, and this would suggest we strive for photo-realism. But even in the case of our previous game, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the photogrammetry was just a tool to achieve something that goes beyond an environmental documentary. In the case of that game, we tried to recreate the vibe of the images by the 17th century Dutch painter Herman Saftleven.
With Witchfire, we’re moving two centuries forward. We’re still influenced by Romanticism, but in a bit more modern, 19th century American art movement way. Namely, the Hundson River School way, with some great painters like Thomas Hill, Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt.
Above are some examples, and here are the links to the wallpaper packs:
An old comment, but recently brought to our attention.
We keep repeating that but only because it’s true: we’re gamers, too. The only difference is that not only we hate the fake trailers like you do, we also know exactly how they’re made (like rendering the light offline instead of real-time, or using an external service studio to add cool HUD elements).
Everything you see from Witchfire is directly from our own PCs. No fakes other than painfully trying to get that casually looking headshot clip for two hours.