PROTOTYPE The Artistic Vision Uncensored is a behind the scene look at many of the concept images I created for the game. This Blog entry contains some of my thoughts behind creating these images that inspired and set the visual style of PROTOTYPE. I started creating and exploring a visual style early of January 2006 and in August 2007 Art Directed those visuals through production with a team of over 63 talented industry professionals.
"Realism plus one fantastic element" Meaning the world as how we perceive it and the unbelievable evolution of a virus that had to be convincing.
Below: Closer look. This first piece I created for PROTOTYPE the sun is setting and tomorrow a new chapter in human evolution will begin. I dropped in the military helicopters as a foreshadowing effect of what’s to come. This is the seed that inspired my thoughts to visualize the rest of the story and lock down on a style that would cover all visual elements of the game. Before painting this piece the last phrase I read in the design doc read, Reality plus one. I therefore treated the city as reality and the virus as the plus one and pitched this piece to the team as the calm before the storm.
Below: This is one of the first concept pieces I did for PROTOTYPE depicting my first thoughts on setting a style and mood and how it relates to the story. I believe that the environment is a secondary character and should have a character arc that evolves with its main character. A character is a product of its environment and the environment is a product of its character. In this case Alex Mercer. Here Time Square in its normal state before infection.
Below: Then as the story evolves so does the environment. Time Square is now split between a military zone and an infected zone with red tones depicting death and blues depicting hope. Here Fire and light are just as much in a battle as the infected and non infected military soldiers.
Below: How do you inoculate millions of people? Crop dust! What these people don’t know is that it’s nothing more than a sugar pill. However, believability in a concept is crucial as it’s the way to draw you into the scene emotionally. These people must have hope that they will be OK and so I’ve depicted them those eager to hang onto hope and welcome the dusting. This is why no one is running.
Below: The heavy traffic in Time Square was to depict chaos and confusion just minutes into a new reality from what we knew of our everyday life in the city. Innocence no longer exists. To enforce that point when pitching this piece I opened up with the innocence of the child in the center white vehicle and then trucked out exposing more and more of the scene. As you began to notice the child just witnessed a killing of a man from the yellow cab to the left and the killer’s reflection is on the side window to the vehicle to the right. The loss of innocence is the point of no return.
Below: In this piece I wanted to show three zones of our game. Color played an important role in this piece to really express the emotional nature for all zones. The Safety zone is depicted with cool tones symbolizing hope and a place of refuge while the trouble zone to the right, has a dark cloud over the city with warm muted tones symbolizing despair and sickness. I like painting in symbolisms instead of being blunt. After all little means more for an imaginative mind as it opens for all possibilities to the viewing. The trouble zone has the fiery red tones to the far left of the painting where there is no hope and is a strict contras for good, evil and the undecided.
Below: One of a few night shots for the game. Here I wanted to show the city at night showing ambient light blending and reflecting reflected off a polluted sky. NYC is over 200 year old and showing its progressive history adds the believability factor. My thought in many of the concepts was to show that many of the buildings had different power sources for example: If a 100 year old building was burning coal then it’s still burning coal today. While the 5 year old building next it would be using electricity and the one across the street gas. This is the one element of the city that does not evolve. This is why many of these concepts have lots of smoke and pollution and at night the pollution reflects a bit of red as you can see in this piece.
Below: The end of time is what I call this piece. This is a snap shot of the future if you fail. I really enjoy painting these types of destructive concepts.
Below: This piece is to show that military strength is the only answer to a complex infection problem. I pitched this piece as the point of no return and heading to your local church or synagogue is probably a good idea at this moment in the game. This is also to show that Alex Mercer is a weapon and it will take an army to match his power.
Below: I needed to conceptualize the last shot of the game to help me conclude the visual story. So, I went back to Time Square and this time all is quiet in the aftermath of body and ash. I added the snow to symbolize a cleansing of the fear and sins of the city. Yes, that is a cow lying dead on the road. Just as a canary works for the gas company the cows in PROTOTYPE work for Blackwatch. No need to risk a man if a cow can wander into an infected zone and buy you time to aim your weapon. Also in this piece a shimmering of light is busting through the clouds as a sign of hope that life will not end for those lucky to have survive.
Below: I needed a piece that showed chaos and the possibility for Hydras battling military choppers on a large scale.
Below: NYC is very much vertical as it is horizontal with many great locations on roof tops. I needed to give you a reason to scale buildings and take advantage of all that added real estate. When I thought about how the virus would grow I decided to place them in water tanks and it was a reason to explore up. But you still would not know a Hive was above you if you where at ground level and I did not want you spending a lot of time looking for these areas so I conceptualized that infected Hives would attract Raven as symbol of illness and death. They are easy to spot from the ground as they would be circling the Hive form the air. This piece is the last of four in the series and the Hunter has broken out of the water tower
Below: A first look at a Hydra attacking Time Square.
Below: The last goodbye. A concept shot of the climax.
PROTOTYPE: CREATURE CONCEPTS
I always thought of the Virus as the main character not Alex Mercer after all, if it wasn't for the virus then Alex Mercer as how we know him would not exists.
Below is a my first concept of these creatures as seen in early 2006.
Below: One of my favourite pieces, here I wanted to show how the Hive is a character. A vector finds a damp dark area under the elevator shaft to spawn a Hunter from its hive. Human like infected creatures are the guardian of this spore and piles upon it human bodies who are barely alive and are used as a food source to grow the creature incubating inside. The hive generates so much heat that all the floors above collapse to the bottom.
The virus is a living organism that evolves like any other organism. Below are concepts that depict the series of evolution once the virus finds a host.
Very early concept of the ultra Hunter creature.
PROTOTYPE: VIRUS INFECTION
Interior of the HIVE
PROTOTYPE: ADDITIONAL CONCEPT ART
Not all my pieces were full blown illustrations. Once the team was into production I drew out many isometric views and orthographic for the 3D Environment team. These pieces are examples and I should add that I drew these with a simple brush in Photoshop, by eye. No 3D software was used in any of the images on my Blog page.