Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Art of Gaming: The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav (PC)

As a non-gamer, I have accepted the fact that I have been the oddball amongst my circle of friends since high school due to the fact that they are all gamers in some form or another. Be it with cards such as Pokemon or Magic the Gathering, role-playing in Dungeons & Dragons or Vampire: The Masquerade, or just straight PC and console games, someone always around me playing. I never could get into console gaming because I keep forgetting what the buttons do but do know the basics for PC games mainly due to the fact I have a habit of sometimes being on an MMO-RPG to roam the environment. Even though I've accepted the fact that I am not a gamer or could even be lumped into the category of 'casual gamer', I find the most fascinating thing about any game is the art style.

I acknowledge that there is a split among the gamer community where there is a part that believes that better graphics means a better game while the other side is that graphics doesn't matter since it's all about the game mechanics but if it looks nice then it's a plus. To me, it's always been interesting to watch my friends play and look at the work that went into the games they are playing on either their computer, the TV or hand-held device because of the art. Knowing that someone on the development team for any game decided to have to have the end product to be in 8-bit, Medieval, Eastern, story-book stylized or even Steampunk/Cyber punk or a fusion of any of those is fascinating. Knowing this, it makes me wonder what inspired them to do the style they chose for the game.

One such game that makes me ponder its art style is The Dark Eye:Chains of Satinav published by Daedalic Entertainment which has just been put out for PC this month. Other games that Daedalic Entertainment is known for is Deponia, Botanicula, and Torchlight II (the latter of that list being highly recommended by YouTube personality and game commentator John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain). The game itself is labeled on steampowered.com as being an indie adventure game for the PC. It is actually the next installment of The Dark Eye series of RPG games which have been popular in Germany.

Having checked out the concept art and the trailer for the game, it reminds me of an interactive story book. The style of art actually reminds me the concept work that visual concept artist Nikita Knatz had done for The Beastmaster (1982) because of its dark fantasy qualities and the earthy and sempia tones of the art. I blame the fact that I've always been a fan of cult classic movies from the late 70s - early 80s on making this connection. Of course there were elements in the works and the trailer that made me think that there were also bits of Fable as far as the environment creation and American McGee's Alice: Madness Returns for the story telling between playable chapters mixed in as well. In whole, everything reminded me as a homage to the great fantasy artists of that time. Perhaps it was just me but I couldn't be sure so I decided to ask Daedalic Entertainment:

To whom it may concern,
My name is Dawn and am actually an artist located in Northern California mainly known for my watercolors. Aside from maintaining the Facebook pages for the art groups and gallery I'm with, a personal project that I do is a blog I have titled Will Work for Coffee. With the blog I post about my business (self employed and run a small home based business where I sell my art), various news in art, and coffee reviews. Though I'm not a gamer, I have plenty of friends who are that read my blog so I thought that I could do something for them. So I thought that I could inquire as your source of inspiration for the art style for your game The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon about this.

I was thinking that perhaps they would toss out a name of an artist or style that they were wanting to share with their players that they themselves had enjoyed in their past. More then likely I didn't explain my question properly since they are a German based gaming company and they thought that I was just a freelance writer of sorts looking to get into the gaming industry but I did end up receiving a response in the wee hours of the morning:

Dear Dawn,
thank you for your interest in Daedalic.

Actually we are very fine and there is no need for outsourcing. But we also get new projects in the future and maybe the situation changes then. So I will save your contact in our database for possible future projects.
Kind regards,
Steffen Boos
Steffen Boos
Human Resources Manager
Daedalic Entertainment GmbH

Even though it's not exactly the response I was looking for, I'm still pleased that they responded in any fashion and I thank them for it. With that aside, I shall leave it up to my readers what they think the style reminds them of. If you are interested in purchasing this, you can find it here:
store.steampowered.com - The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav (PC) $19.99

(12/16/2012) Before you all go "Well Daedalic Entertainment is only the publisher of the game, not the game developer themselves!" and decide to string me up for writing to them about the game, yes I realize this little tidbit of information. The game is also under the trademark of Deep Silver and Chromatrix GmbH. I was able to write to Deep Silver explaining that I would like their input on the matter after I explained that I had already contacted Daedalic Entertainment. So as I'm waiting to hear back from them, I have updated this particular installment with new information and as soon as I receive word from them, I'll include for your viewing. 

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