The art of Guild Wars

Inspirational artistry: “I do inspirational pieces that stimulate the imaginations of the art team and designers. We use my art to start conversations, and many of the ideas that have to be adapted to the realities of production to make them usable in the game - some turn out not to be useable at all. My job is to inspire the team and push the envelope, and lay the base for the content. Because I believe the environments set the tone for a game, I gravitate towards defining the look of the regions, but when I want to take a break from that, I try my luck with creature or character work.”

Guild lore: “I am not in control of the storyline, nor do I want to be. The way that I personally like to work, and the way things oftentimes work out, is that I throw out ideas and propose a possible context that these ideas could work in - a seed for the storywriters to consider. If at that point I manage to get them inspired and they get excited about the idea, I’ll leave it up to them to expand on that and let that seed grow. We’ll negotiate back and forth, and make sure the idea isn’t watered down and doesn’t compromise the integrity of the vision. It’s a collaborative effort; a synergy of ideas.”

Getting in the mood: "We let everybody loose for a week or so to go and search the web and hit the library for inspiration. We then dump a lot of reference material into folders that are then organised by subject, and add to a huge database of imagery that we put together for each of the new chapters in the game. Some ideas naturally tend to surface or resonate with the entire team, and organically evolve into becoming major themes and components of our visual vocabulary. We tend to let things happen naturally, because I believe that if things are felt within the team and there’s an emotional reaction to the material it shows in the quality of the final product and is embraced."

Creature features: "We have five full-time concept artists, and over half of our production staff are illustrators and concept artists. There’s a large number of people who have diverse backgrounds, skills and interests who are encouraged to contribute to the creation process. That’s where the diversity comes from. As far as creature design goes, the wackiest ideas will be thrown around and our people will have the ability to illustrate them convincingly. Designers and writers post everything that they’re making on a huge wall and whatever resonates with the team finds a home in the game. I think the important thing is to facilitate exposure for these ideas and see what clicks."


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