There is a saying that one shouldn’t judge book by its cover. But hey, let’s be honest, everyone checks the cover first . That means that whether it’s a book cover, a movie poster or game box art, the cover is really important piece of the first impression you get from a new product. Even though LoG2 probably won’t be published in physical form, it still needs “box art” that will be used everywhere from web page, digital marketplace and game reviews to desktop backgrounds. In game business box art is also sometimes called key art. That means that the one image should reflect pretty much the whole game, its mood, story, setting, characters and on top of it all it needs to look really good to stand out of thousands of other images. Not so easy huh? The key art was finished about a half a year ago, so it’s about time to let it see the day light.
We started planning the key art when we got the LoG2 setting finally settled down and felt certain that it was the direction we wanted to go. In our case the key art helped us to focus on the chosen theme and gave us a good vibe and direction to follow. As the game is very oldschool flavored, I wanted it to be reflected in the key art also. So I started thinking of the things and mood we wanted to portray. It took some iterations of sketching to get to the core of what we were after. I didn’t want to use any photo based techniques or 3d rendered assets. What I had in mind, was the book covers that got me interested in fantasy art and painting in the first place: Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson (r.i.p) and Brom. They are my all time greatest heroes and I wanted to give my humble tribute to their art, like Grimrock gives to games of that era. In perfect world I would’ve wanted to do the image in oil paints, but after reality check, the digital medium was the only logical choice. It has many benefits and one doesn’t have to wait for the pixels to dry. I tried to keep a painterly feel to the image and didn’t use “too perfect” tools that Photoshop offers.
I started sketching with the traditional book cover or poster aspect ration and then expanded the sketches I liked to horizontal format. Legend of Grimrock 2 will be on a couple of different digital stores that all have their own graphical styles. Some are leaned more towards horizontal images and some have more traditional vertical images. The different aspect ratios also gave some challenges to the composition of the image. I wanted to try to come up with an image that would work well with both horizontal and vertical images.
The painting took close to five full packed days to complete. It’s painted in Photoshop around 6500 pixels wide to help the brushes work better, but still maintain good enough computer performance. The image was a really fun little project to complete and we hope you guys also like it. We feel that it captures the feeling of LoG2 pretty well. I also recorded some painting stages to better illustrate how the image came together. Now go on and check out the big version of the final image.
Quick word about the current development status. We’re busy polishing the game based on the great feedback we are getting from the beta testers. I just completed the game the other day clocking about 22 hours of playtime with 48/74 of the current secrets, even though I knew the solutions to the puzzles of the first quarter of the game. So there should be plenty of exploring to finish the game 100%. In other news, Petri has been busting his ass off and he’s managed to optimize the game roughly 40% faster. So now the game doesn’t necessarily need super highend game rig to play. But I have to say that the minimum system requirements are going to go up a bit compared to LoG1. Stay tuned, next week is going to be exciting .