Art re-evaluation time!

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:

This is a scene from the announcement trailer, which can be seen below.

Of course we could go full-render with the characters as well:

Good key art!

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:
Whoa. Hyper-realistic much?

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) :
A bit of a mishmash.

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:

I love this. So artsy. I keep this on repeat.

In retrospect, this is what the game looked like before, artstyle-wise:

A night in the Scurries, a squirrel village near Pride – old art-style (not sketches and artsy-looking; very pro)

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.

Any opinions at this point are very welcome! Feel free to contact us here on the blog or via Facebook, Twitter, Discord or whatever way you feel is best!


The team behind Trip the Ark Fantastic

Spread the love
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Eva filia Magdalenae

I don’t really mind the discrepancy. It makes the characters more visible. However, what I like is that backgrounds in the “luscious” style still look hand-painted. I just so much prefer oldschool pixel art to everything 3D, to me 3D was a big step backwards in terms of beauty.