I've not read any of the words spilled about Halo Infinite's art style or graphics and I'm not going to. The wafting smell of all that chat did serve a purpose though: it pulled me back towards the work of Halo art director Nicolas "Sparth" Bouvier, like Jerry floating towards some delicious cheese laid by Tom.
I've been a fan of Sparth's since 2001, when he made a handful of Quake 3 maps under the handle 'nunuk' that look more like works of sculpture than deathmatch arenas. These include Platypus in 2001, and 2002's exquisite Sparth. If I created something that looked as good as this, I'd name myself after it as well.
Both these maps use colour and lighting in ways that are entirely unlike any other user made levels at the time. Nearly twenty years later, his ArtStation page is filled with artwork depicting futuristic cities, spaceships, and stunning landscapes. My favourite's have a similarly approach to the Quake 3 maps, ignoring fine detail in favour of bold shapes.
There's a lot more detailed work among Sparth's catalogue, including examples of his work on previous Halo games. It's these speed paintings that I keep coming back to, however.
A small painting done two days ago. A fast 40 minutes sketch to keep my motivation going. pic.twitter.com/ozcHerQW6Z
— sparth (@nbsparth) May 9, 2020
The image at the top of this post is taken from the cover of The Art Of Halo Infinite book. The cover is by Sparth, and he presumably has a lot more work inside. You can also buy PSD files of Sparth's work and more on his Gumroad page.