Into The Pixel Celebrates Game Art In 2011

Into The Pixel is “an exploration and celebration of the art of video games from around the world”, and a competition into which game art pros can submit their work so as to have it featured in part of exhibition. It’s a gallery show that has in the past featured at GDC and E3. Needless to say, there’s tonnes of astounding artwork that could find its way into this show, and if you are one such artist then you should probably pay attention and submit your stuff here. Also, if you are simply an idle reader, why not link your favourite concept art in the comments below and we can all nerd out a bit.

[Image from Guild Wars 2’s ludicrously awesome concept media gallery. The day when games look like these paintings, only in motion, will be the day techno-lich Jim will finally close the lid on his gaming sarcophagus.]


  1. pipman3000 says:

    it’s not video game art unless its pixelated like some kind of nes game.

  2. JohnArr says:

    Love how this ME Citadel concept was done in the 60/70’s futurist style: link to

  3. felix6 says:

    I like the artistic style they are making Guild Wars 2 in, and there paintings are awesome.

    Indeed if games where looking like that they can have my whole paycheck :) Very muck prefer art instead of photo realistic.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, the game is looking exactly like the concept art in many places, too. The Shatterer looks identical in-game to his concept art piece, as do many locations and critters. And in some places they’ve even surpassed their concept art (such as the much more distinctive and defined appearance of the Charr, who really have their own visual character, now).

      Another game I’d like to comment on for its art style is Overgrowth, which is really coming along. Wolfire have some amazing people working on 2D and 3D art, and there’s even a little webcomic going, which is really nifty. Aside from that, I simply must mention CreaVures, which is a work of art in and of itself (I feel I need to say nothing more about this game, as the videos speak for themselves).

      So there’s definitely plenty of great art in gaming – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look. Sometimes it’ll be from odd, smaller scale development houses like ArenaNet, and sometimes it’ll be from the indie scene. But it’s definitely there, and it’s not all 8-bit.

    • clownst0pper says:

      ArenaNet’s concept art is unrivalled. Its just absolutely stunning. The staff costs for that department must be staggering.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      Demon’s Souls had some really nice character and environment art.

  4. Chris D says:

    This has just become my new desktop wallpaper.

    Now what the hell is on the other end of that tentacle?

    • RakeShark says:

      I suspect a massive, cute, adorable, world-eating anteater.

  5. SuperNashwanPower says:


  6. McDan says:

    Oh good lord, that GW2 concept art gallery has me actually salivating…

    • Wulf says:

      Amazing, isn’t it? I’ve already seen all Guild Wars 2 art prior, so I’m used to ArenaNet’s high standards. This is why I’m so convinced that their game is going to look and be amazing. It’s really going to be a world worth exploring, a breathtaking one at that.

      This reminds me of Guild Wars 1 – a game where I couldn’t help wandering off to look at things. I was dubbed as a friend as “He who finds epic dead-ends,” as I’d often reach the end of a path looking out over the most beautiful and jaw-dropping vistas imaginable. And every area of the each of the campaigns and the expansion of Guild Wars was amazing. I even found post-searing Ascalon had a very real, haunting beauty to it, one that I found more appealing than pre-Ascalon (which was more typical fantasy, and thus far more boring to me).

      In fact, pre-searing Ascalon was about the only place where Guild Wars 1 did ‘typical’ fantasy. Then that all went out the window, and continued to do so with Factions, Nightfall, and Eye of the North, all of which were highly unusual for the fantasy genre, and really helped to challenge what could be done with fantasy. That’s one of the reasons I love Guild Wars. I expect the same of Guild Wars 2. The Charr, the Black Citadel, and the Dragonbrand intrigue me.

      I really can’t wait to go exploring there, especially knowing as I do that it’s going to look every bit as good as their concept art.

      (In fact, looking back, pre-searing strikes me as a rather hilarious bait & switch. They give players something familiar, that being typical fantasy pap, then they swap it out for something very alien, perhaps even uncomfortably so for some people, and absolutely amazing at the same time. And they continue that trend afterward, once people had acclimatised to how unusual Guild Wars is.)

    • McDan says:

      Much agreement with this. I did that a LOT in the original, just going off trying to find amazing vistas was probably what I’ve spent most of my time doing in this game now. Don’t regret any of it though, there are some awesome views all over the place.

      And very glad that GW2 is looking like it’s shaping up to be more of the same, heck, I might even start my own guided tours to “amazing views and such”, now there’s an idea…

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      Now, provide those chefs-d’oeuvre in desktop resolutions so that I can die a happy man.

    • Wulf says:


      That’s a brilliant idea! I might have to do that with whatever friends and guildmates I bring into the game. Since I’m certain to explore, after all. And another great thing? Exploring yields rewards! One recent example was that you might jump behind a waterfall, and find something that hasn’t been found within two months of the game launching. You might find a treasure or unearth an old, sleeping evil, both of which could turn into dynamic events, which would have a visible effect on the world, changing the surrounding lands, and you and other players could then participate in that event.


      It’s not much, but here’s a piece of concept art that I’m using for my desktop right now. I’m using it because Charr construction fascinates me. It’s spherical. Why is it spherical? And why is it mildly insectoid? I have my theories about that. The Charr are familiar with devourers, giant scorpion things, and some devourers grow big. Perhaps part of the Charr metal age involved bronzing devourer husks, and they then evolved to using more spherical platforms for casting metal rather than the flat ones we use.

    • McDan says:

      @Wulf: That would be amazing, finding possible dynamic events hidden away or just “things” in general. So much great possibility for this game.

  7. Davie says:

    Guild Wars 2 looks amazing because Daniel Dociu is the art director, and he is a fucking genius.

    • Dominic White says:

      Doesn’t hurt that they’ve got a really talented team of 3D artists on board, who can turn his art into reality. The gameplay footage that came out of PAX showed some more of it off, including the city of Lion’s Arch, which looks like it’s straight out of Dociu’s craziest illustrations.

    • Wulf says:

      Wot Dominic sed.

      Their 3D artists are nothing short of astounding, unbelievable even, in how well they can put together beautiful art even with an older engine. This is Uru stuff. I bring up Uru because despite its primitive 3D engine, it still has some of the most beautiful locations I’ve seen in any game, ever.

      This just shows how much art direction can fail, because if you have great artists and grand art direction, you can make beautiful things no matter how limited the engine is. Guild Wars came out at the same time as WoW, it was being developed at the same time, and it ran on the same sorts of computers (ArenaNet coders are optimisation wizards), but it looked stunning. Guild Wars actually did look like its concept art.

      It all depends on the art direction, and how much the 2D and 3D artists work together. With some development studios I can see a clear divide between concept art and end result, as though the artistic teams never talk at all. But ArenaNet once described their iterative process, where they pass assets between all the art teams, where stuff created by the 3D artists goes back to the 2D artists, there’s a lot of back and forth, there’s a lot of collaboration, and this is how the end result is so close to the concept art. Their 3D artists aren’t allowed to get away with being lazy.

      And ArenaNet really are the proof that games can look as good as concept art. I’ll give you an example…

      Shatterer Concept Art

      The Shatterer In-Game (Not a cutscene.)

      That’s ArenaNet for you. There’s a lot of the Cyan Worlds magic to ArenaNet and I love them for it. I’ll admit that some of my favourite studios are the ones that produce the most brilliant, and at the same time, the most exotic, alien, and yet breathtakingly beautiful art possible, both as concept art, and as in-game art.

    • clownst0pper says:

      Couldn’t agree more. You know what he’s got going on thats so awesome? SCALE. BIG, BIG BIG. That’s what looks so amazing.

    • Wulf says:

      Even better? He’s small. He’s one of Kralkatorrik’s lieutenants, and about a quarter of the size of Kralky.

    • bob_d says:

      @Davie: Oh yes, absolutely. He really demonstrates the sorts of radical visions that games should be regularly aspiring to, but sadly aren’t. There was a nice interview with him at BLDGBLOG:
      link to

    • Davie says:

      @Clown: Yep, I think it’s the scale that does it. He’s an absolute master at bending the perspective so something looks huge.

      Oh, while we’re at it, Kekai Kotaki did most of the images in the concept gallery Jim linked to. He’s also worth a look.

  8. tstapp1026 says:


    You DO realize that the guys at ArenaNet are incorporating their art into the gameplay, right?
    Cityscapes, backgrounds, etc…

    I hope you have a comfy pillow.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      i know, but it still doesn’t really look like that from moment to moment. Close, but still not quite there.

      The game up close – as pretty as it is – is still not particularly painterly in characters, environments etc.

    • Wulf says:

      I strongly disagree, Jim. Sorry.

      First of all, most of the footage that we’ve seen is still in the pre-alpha stage, before they’ve done their final work on polishing, post-processing effects, and so on.

      And the characters? There are still some pre-alpha issues, like clipping, but they’re working on that. Even right now though, they look absolutely amazing.

      This Charr Thief is a wonderful example of how good their models are looking.

  9. Pew pew LAZORS says:

    I love Jaime Jones works, great to see his painting here.
    If you want to find beautiful concept art and digital paintings check out, that place is full with professional artists, many of whom work in the game industry.

  10. Phyla says:

    “The day when games look like these paintings, only in motion, will be the day techno-lich Jim will finally close the lid on his gaming sarcophagus.”

    Oh my yes. Has any game ever gotten close to this idea?

    • Wulf says:

      Guild Wars 2, CreaVures, and Uru are pretty close, in my opinion.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      Doesn’t look like paint, though. Until addicts start trying to huff HD footage of the games, we’re not far enough.

    • Wulf says:

      Entertainingly, there are a few paintings in URU, which are paintings with a canvas filter run over them, and they look pretty amazing. Not all art needs to look like a canvas though. However, I admit that in some cases it does help. (Okami used it well, but it doesn’t really work for everything.)

      Also, are you part of a guild? I ask out of pure curiosity. I’ve seen quite a few [Word][Word][X] names around here lately!

    • Mirqy says:

      Lots of games have tried close the lid on techno-lich Jim’ sarcophagus, but all have failed. So far…

    • BeamSplashX says:

      I am not. I used to be BeamSplash(wholebunchofnumbers) but then I lost my e-mail password. I randomly decided on an X instead of numbers and it’s been available on every website I’ve gotten an account at since.

    • Wulf says:

      Ha! It would be funny if the other two I’ve seen using an X are using it for the same reason.

      Sorry about that. I was just curious since when I see commonalities in names, my mind poses questions of the sort. And mostly the reason behind the commonality.

  11. jettpack says:

    CHECK OUT MY ART!!! please. :) link to

    lol shameless plug

  12. DarkNoghri says:

    These have been my desktops for oh, the past year or two:

    link to

  13. A-Scale says:

    What is the giant sea creature thing in the picture here?

    • Wulf says:

      It’s a wyrm. They were in the first game, too, and there’s one featured at the end of the Races of Tyria video.