Develop Conference: Art directors of upcoming adventure game say research was crucial

Dishonoured wouldn’t exist without pre-production

Upcoming stealth adventure game Dishonoured wouldn’t exist without years of pre-production work, say the game’s art team.

Sebastien Mitton, art director at Arkane Studios, and Viktor Antonov, visual design director at ZeniMax Media and the man behind Half-Life 2’s City 17, demonstrated how they came up with the stylised world for the game at the Develop Conference.

“Pre-production was the crucial element. It’s why the game is here today,” said Mitton, explaining that a core group of staff spend two years researching and conceptualising the game before showing it to publishers.

Dishonoured’s art style has sparked comparisons with other titles that Mitton and Antonov have working on, including BioShock.

However, Antonov said: “There were no specific game references. Not many people spend a lot of time do a realistic city and then a futuristic one.”

He added that themes, including architecture, mystical lighting, morphology and illustration helped the pre-production team to experiment without drifting away from the tone they wanted to achieve.

As part of their pre-production work, Mitton and Antonov travelled to London and Edinburgh to take reference photographs of people, places and objects.

They avoided the main streets, sticking to the side streets and alleyway in order to get a better sense of the gameworld, which they describe as “an allegory of London”.

“We were trying to design the game from a rat’s viewpoint,” said Mitton. “If we have a small city, from a constrained viewpoint, what are all the different angles that we can explore?”

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