As game designers we are always hugely inspired by the visions and skills of artists to create inspiring works of art.
Without fantastic art, our games would be nothing more than an idea with mechanics attached. The artists and graphical designers provide the form to our function. And as dancers will tell you, form is everything!
Often the unique artwork of a talented artist jumps out at us and instantly we find ourselves thinking of possibilities; where is this gorgeous landscape? why is this person running away? What is that creature shadowed in the background? and these ideas immediately start spinning ideas that could become intriguing games.
In the words of the rock band Placebo – Without you I’m nothing
Our first game Elemenz is a case in point.
Jason our designer already had a fairly strong idea of what the four alien shamans should look like and after seeing the work of Ascary Lazos, knew that he would do a great job.
We are not in the habit of dictating our own vision to an artist – to straightjacket them into churning out our rendition of how the game art should look! Instead we think it is vitally important to let the ideas and subsequent work organically evolve by allowing the artist as much free reign as possible and bouncing ideas back and forth with the designer(s). In this way very often, new ideas will spring out into the mix and lead to a more exciting result than we could have otherwise hoped for. Including how the game itself will change to accommodate the artists vision.
A good example of this is with the Energy Totems in Elemenz (see image below). We were pretty vague with what we wanted on purpose except that the outlines should be of the four main alien races in the game and they should be translucent. What Ascary produced on his own was stunning (with the threads of energy passing through the semi-corporeal bodies) and we could never have come up with something so good without him. A few tweaks to highlight things from us and the work was done with awesome result!
Because of our ongoing relationship with the artist, we already have plans to revisit the world of these creatures for a new game Exogenesis in the next couple of years. Watch this space…
Another great example of the synergy between designer, artist and publisher is with our second game Gladiatores: Blood for Roses. The brief we gave our artist Anja was a combat scene in an arena that showcased some of the gladiator types used in the game. We were blown away by the complex action-movie-in-an-image result that she has produced but we will let her explain more about it in her own interview. For now we leave you with just a clip (perhaps 10% of the artwork) in sketch form.
So in the following series of blog posts we will interview the artists that help so much to make our games a reality and highlight how they have added to the concept narrative behind each one. We will ask each artist where their own art style comes from, who else has inspired them to create such wonderful pieces and dig a little bit into the character behind these amazing works of art.ElemenZ Reviews
Amusing/confusing/subterfuging interview with the tree-hiding squirrels of Gaminglorious.
Age of Heroes gaming preview for Gaming Respawn
Interview we also did with them about Elemenz and our future projects.
Meeples Anonymous – interview with the designer Jason Maclean Jones
Plus accompanying preview video
Video preview from those good people at Board Gaming at Home
ElemenZ artwork #4 – The Zyryx
The final Race that inhabits the ElemenZ game world is the ZYRYX.
The Zyryx are basically multi-limbed arachnomorphic creatures made of berylsilicate composites. Although the most predominant creature on their world, the Zyryx (when young) are preyed upon by larger and more vicious predators. Hive minded, these termite-like creatures have found an ingenious way to stay out of harms way.
More info on the backstory of this exciting race and how it can be played, can be found on our game page for ElemenZ.ElemenZ Artwork #3 – The Rokzyn
The 3rd of the Four Races that inhabit the ElemenZ game world is the ROKZYN.
The Rokzyn are essentially lava dogs – the top apex predator and the most ‘active’ of the four races. Eternally hungry from their roiling superheated cores, the Rokzyn roam far in great hunting packs, bringing back their kills to the matriarch and offspring.
More info on the backstory of this exciting race and how it can be played, can be found on our game page for ElemenZ.ElemenZ artwork no. #2 – The Ikzravek
Here is the 2nd of the Four Races that inhabit the ElemenZ game world.
The Ikzravek (Deep sea creatures of ammonia-rich oceans).
This race appears frightening and/or violent but are in fact gentle custodians of the myriad other life forms that inhabit their ice-locked moon world. This race is partly inspired by one of the Moravecs mentioned in the fantastic Ilium books by Dan Simmons. Go read ’em they are ace!
More info on the backstory of this exciting race and how it can be played, can be found on our game page for ElemenZ.ElemenZ artwork – the Zylryne
We are proud to be able to show the 1st of the Four Races that inhabit the ElemenZ game world.
The first is the Zylryne (Zephyr-like creatures of Air and Light).
With thin ephemeral (good word, kids. Use it!) bodies and light blades for wings, these creatures live up in the fast lane where the winds are strong, the air is thin and the life-giving sun blazes away in the heavens.
The artwork for both ElemenZ and Gladiatores is rolling ahead now, with landscape concept sketches developing nicely for ElemenZ. We’ve also shaken down concepts for the 4 Alien Shamans and look forward to (damn hard to wait actually) seeing what Ascary comes up with. Four sneak peaks of tiny sections for the landscapes (1 of each) are show below.
Two of the sneak-peaks show concepts for the Shamans but final design may differ.
Meanwhile, Gladiator art is still coming in and looking great. The combat card design and layout is now final (example is shown here)
but choice of which art piece to include for different cards is still on the shelf – until Ania has provided all of it. Still, we think it is going to look awesome either way! Note also this pic gives a little hint of some of the game mechanics – but we will reveal more as the game page itself gets updated – eventually we will publish the rules as a downloadable PDF.