Artist Ben Chandler on creating the rooftop scene for Wadjet Eye’s urban fantasy adventure Unavowed.
FLO W CHAR T
Chandler starts by giving writer/ designer Dave Gilbert a sketch to test the playability and flow of a scene. “After this I focus on compelling blocks of color,” he says “At this stage it’s more about atmosphere than detail.”
Classic ‘90s adventures were a big influence on Unavowed’s art style. “FullThrottle’s shadows, GabrielKnight’s eerie tone, Loom’s Forge of the Blacksmiths, and Secre tof Monkey Island’s Caverns of Meat inspired the style of the game.”
URBAN DE CAY
“I’d wanted to do a fiery red palette in a sci-fi game for years,” says Chandler of Unavowed’s striking colors. “But seeing a similar palette in Hellblazer and Batman: The Animated Series convinced me it would work in an urban setting.”
Rather than taking the player on a tour of New York, Chandler wanted the city to reflect the characters. “There are identifiable landmarks in the game, but the lens is closer to human stories and the focus is more on them and their lives.”
Gilbert, who is primarily a writer, describes scenes to Chandler with adjectives rather than coming up with visual ideas. “I wanted the city in Unavowed to echo his narrative and reinforce the tone he wanted the game to convey.”
Setting a game in a city as well known as NYC is a unique creative challenge. “You can’t rely as heavily on inventing visual elements to sell an idea,” says Chandler. “This means there’s more focus on using photos as reference points.”
LEFT: New York City is, arguably, one of the most overused settings in videogames. But the vivid colors here reinforce the fantasy aspects of the game.
BELOW: Chandler posts studies of classic adventure game backgrounds on his website, and applies the techniques he learns to his work.
RIGHT: Chandler also had to capture the grimy details at street level.Unavowed has a downbeat, neo-noir atmosphere, and the art reflects this.