Kil­l­zone Vis­ual De­sign

Ga me plan Cel­e­brat­ing 15 years of the FPS, this lovely col­lec­tion of art also of­fers in­sights into the video game de­sign process

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

Ed­i­tor Ash­ley Cowles Pub­lisher Cook & Becker Price £32 Web www.candb.com Avail­able Now

Most col­lec­tions of video game art are mostly of in­ter­est to fans of the game it­self. But this art­book cel­e­brat­ing 15 years of Kil­l­zone, the first-per­son shooter de­vel­oped by Guer­rilla Games, may ap­peal to a wider au­di­ence be­cause of its “rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent” de­sign phi­los­o­phy.

Most games stu­dios hire a team of artists to cre­ate con­cept art for a game, which is usu­ally im­pres­sion­is­tic, rather than be­ing a com­pletely es­tab­lished game world. At Guer­rilla Games, though, a ‘vis team’ starts by in­ves­ti­gat­ing how the game will work first, and de­sign­ing func­tional sys­tems of be­hav­iour: it’s only when those are in place that they start think­ing about aes­thet­ics. It’s this dif­fer­ence in de­sign phi­los­o­phy – com­mon to other ar­eas of de­sign but rare in the gam­ing world – that adds ex­tra in­ter­est to this col­lec­tion of Kil­l­zone con­cept art.

From hand-drawn con­cepts through to fi­nal in-game ren­ders, and in­clud­ing alien en­vi­ron­ments, Hel­ghan sol­diers, weapons and ve­hi­cles, the vi­su­als are all given space, and the at­ten­tion to de­tail is stag­ger­ing. Yet there’s enough text to keep it in­ter­est­ing in­clud­ing, most in­trigu­ingly, ex­cerpts from the com­pany’s own style guide.

Hel­ghast troops in ac­tion, us­ing guns that the style guide says should be “heavy and cum­ber­some, not light­weight and com­fort­able.”

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