Greetings from Outer Wilds Ventures! A new traveler has arrived from deep in the forests of Timber Hearth, and he brings with him a new discovery that will change our solar system at its very foundation...his name is Wesley Martin, and he joins the Ventures as our Art Director!
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 art in the Outer Wilds alpha is mostly designer art designed to test out the feel of the game without spending too much time worrying about the details. The more polished parts of the visuals come from student work, so even at its best the alpha has a long way to go. That said, there is a certain charm to the simplicity present in the current art, which often leaves the details to the player's imagination, lending the game a level of abstraction that improves the overall immersion.
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.
My initial art test for Outer Wilds was inspired by the tagline of the game: "Camping in space." I come from a fine art background, so I immediately pictured the art of early american explorer-painters like Albert Bierstadt.
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.
The bulk of my work during my first month on Outer Wilds has been development on a vertical slice to test out all of these concepts in 3D. We're very happy with how things are looking so far, so here's a sneak peak at what we've got so far. Stay tuned to explore more planets with us!
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