We’ve been working full-time on Trip the Ark Fantastic for almost a year now! It’s a large undertaking for a small indie developer such as us so we decided very early on we’d like to find a publisher to help us out. For this reason, we’ve been sending our Trip the Ark Fantastic brochure to a lot of publishers these past months.
The good news here is that literally everybody loves the idea of the game. We sent the brochure to almost 30 publishers and everybody was enticed by the atmosphere, themes and gameplay decisions!
However, there was also some bad news. It seems that many people (that we showed our current game footage to) were worried that the art style wasn’t artistic enough and didn’t convey the atmosphere well enough. Most importantly, they believed there was a discrepancy between the characters and the background, as seen here:
Of course we could go full-render with the characters as well:
But this is definitely not in line with the artistic old-school style we’re going for. So we decided to really take a few steps back and rethink our design decisions.
We decided to do this by making a new artwork in various styles and try to see what works best. First, we started with a sketch, like always:
Then we made line-art from this sketch to see if that would help:
Then, we rendered it in full detail as before:
However, this still has the issues that were prevalent before, the mismatch of backgrounds and characters (here’s a trashy example to prove my point) :
We figured that a very appealing part of the background was the sketch-work itself so we decided to embrace that and put the colors on top of the sketch-work:
And then we started working on characters animation that would fit that kind of “sketchy” artwork, as seen here:
In retrospect, this is what the game looked like before, artstyle-wise:
What do you think, is the new “artsy” idea better and more in line with our general story and gameplay decisions, or should we stick with the luscious artstyle we had so far? We gotta say, the team is slightly divided and/or still on the fence.
The team behind Trip the Ark Fantastic