Art Direction Process
Turing Point: Fall of Liberty
At the 2007 Game Developers Conference in Lyon, independent art director Viktor Antonov (Half-Life 2) stated that "nowadays there’s a general consensus that visuals are just as important as anything else in a project because if it looks good, it will sell."
This, of course, is a new phenomenon. Improved hardware and software allow developers to create realistic or hyper-realistic worlds that enhance overall game experience. This extra layer of visual sophistication is created at a huge financial cost. Also, production time has increased proportionally.
Antonov adds that “managers and project leads often perceive visual design as a packaging design for the product…we’ll make it pretty, and people will like it and consume it.” His main point is that visual design should go beyond such concepts. Visual design must be treated as a tool for communicating. Just like game play, it has the power to tell or enhance a story, it creates appropriate mood, and it visually guides the player.
Consequently, the pressure on art directors has increased. I hope that new understanding of art’s role in video game development will flourish and grow.