A dark bestiary
I’m only a little way into Prey [official site] at the moment but one of the most interesting aspects for me is the monster design. I love pausing the trailers to peer more closely at their glitchy, weird forms without worrying about being killed. The monsters in question are these hostile lifeforms which all come under the bracket of “Typhon” but there are different species of Typhon within that.
The differing shapes, sizes and movements make it easy to distinguish one species from another. There are the scuttling spidery, crabby Mimics, the tentacled, floating Telepaths, the humanoid Phantoms… But there’s a common visual thread – all of them are these glitchy, threatening oilslicks whose forms never quite settle. Even when dead their surfaces ripple and shimmer. Emmanuel Petit (lead visual designer) and Jason Timmons (lead visual effects artist) offered their expertise so we could unpack the design of these writhing oddities. Read on to find out why the idea of colour palettes makes the team laugh and how they repurposed foliage tools for monster silhouettes! Read the rest of this entry »
“I started feeling a little bogged down by the scope of [Brutal Legend],” says Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine. “It was really huge and I felt like the team had been doing it for a long time and had a long way to go yet. I felt like they needed a break.”
That break was Amnesia Fortnight, a two week game jam during which anyone at the developer can pitch an idea and, if it’s selected, lead a team to turn it from concept to working prototype. Now in its tenth year, I spoke to Schafer about the jam’s benefits, pitfalls and how it’s changed over the years. Read the rest of this entry »
The Council of Funding Nations convenes
The original X-COM (UFO: Enemy Unknown), Julian Gollop tells me, “succeeded in spite of itself”. I asked him how he felt about the game now, twenty three years after its initial release, and particularly about the way it’s often placed on a pedestal. He didn’t expect it to be a success and certainly didn’t think he’d be making a game heavily based on its legacy almost a quarter of a century later.
Yet here we are. The crowdfunding campaign for Phoenix Point [official site], a sci-fi horror strategy game about an alien onslaught, has just begun. Gollop is back where many people feel he belongs, and this time round he seems extremely confident in his game’s design.
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Recently I had the chance to talk to ArenaNet (and thus Guild Wars 2) art director Horia Dociu about his work at the studio. One of the interesting things about his promotion to the role is that he succeeds his father, Daniel. As a result there’s a lot in our Q&A which is actually just a touching account of a partnership/mentor/mentee relationship across two generations of a family which was nice to read. I particularly love the point about making sure people have a place where it’s safe to try and to fail. Beyond that we talked via the email questions and answers about the art of the game which has been the most personally satisfying for Dociu The Younger, how to keep an art style from looking dated in a living game and the relationship of concept art to in-game assets… Read the rest of this entry »
Your pilot today is...
Jeremy Louden’s first passengers were reluctant ones. As an eleven-year-old he’d make his younger brother and sister sit behind him while he piloted his MS Flight Simulator 4.0 Learjet 25 from Chicago to San Francisco in real time. Today, flying MD-88/90s for Delta Air Lines, he no longer has to arrange chairs prior to a flight and very seldom arrives at a destination only to discover his passengers have vanished en-route. Read the rest of this entry »
Sir, You Are Being Confronted
He’s a difficult man to pin down, but we managed to secure a world exclusive interview with the project lead behind The Signal From Tölva [official site], one Jim Rossignol. After months of negotiations he agreed to speak to us, divulging thoughts and feelings about the game that will most likely kill him and all involved. Now, some people are going to say that there’s a conflict of interests here, what with Rossignol coincidentally being a director and co-founder of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which is an outrageous accusation that impugns our integrity, wholly accurately. Read the rest of this entry »