Concept Artists are the backstage set designers of videogame design, playing a huge role in shaping the overall look and feel of a game, despite their work serving only as a guide for the final assets, frequently not featuring in the final product itself. They are often the members of the development team with the closest ties to the classical arts, creating incredibly detailed and time consuming works of art that might could never be seen directly by the public. Comparing a game’s concept art to the final release can be a go way of examining how projects change over time, or how a guiding visions takes shape. Sometimes they’re just cool to look at!
Last year’s Artbook, The Art of Dishonored 2, shows off some of the pieces made for that title’s development and world building. It’s amazing work. The pieces seem to capture the art styles of 18th Century Romanticists like J. M. W. Turner or Constable. (Particularly Piotr Jabłoński’s astonishing Old Sea Beast) This is helped by Dishonored 2’s setting, a blend of Victorian social values and sweeping sci-fi landscapes. Many of the pieces are actually unlockable in the game as collectible paintings, adding to the idea that these are the product of a real living culture.
It helps show how Video Game design is often a collaboration between experts of different art forms coming together. Take a look!
Images sourced from The Art of Dishonored 2. (It’s a really great book.)