When I first played the alpha of Outer Wilds, I was immediately drawn into a lovingly hand-crafted world that sparked my imagination at every turn. Now that I'm working on Outer Wilds, I am excited to bring the same level of lovingly hand-crafted goodness to the visuals of the game. There's a lot of work to do in the art department, so let's roll up our sleeves and get started!
The goal for the new art direction is to preserve that abstraction, but bring in a more refined aesthetic so that the game encourages the player's imagination rather than relying upon it.
I wanted to try the painterly approach with Outer Wilds because it allows the game to retain that simplicity, while giving it some visual interest in the form of pleasing colors and textures. Ultimately, my goal is for the visuals in outer wilds to be as awe-inspiring as the wilds that inspired those early American painters.
I grew up in the Redwood forest, which is a great place to develop a healthy respect for the overwhelming majesty of nature. The wilderness is beautiful during the day, but terrifying in the darkness of night. These are the two feelings I associate the most with exploring the planets of Outer Wilds, so the art should reflect these two ideals as much as possible.