Creating the Painterly World of The Invincible

The Invincible's art director on the game's "unrealism" and working in Unreal Engine.

Image credit: Starward Industries / 11Bit Studios

When former CD PROJEKT and Techland developers opened a new studio, we knew that their games would be special. And this is what you can call the art of The Invincible – the recently released story-driven adventure set in a sci-fi world by Stanisław Lem.

"You are a highly qualified, sharp-witted astrobiologist named Yasna. Being entangled in a space race, you and your crew end up on the unexplored planet Regis III. The scientific journey quickly turns into a search mission for lost crewmates. Follow its trail, but be fully aware that every decision you make can bring you closer to danger."

Image credit: Starward Industries / 11Bit Studios

Wojciech Ostrycharz, the game's art director, calls its art "painterly unrealism", and the retro aesthetic was inspired by book covers from Lem's era and Chris Foss's illustrations. As a result, Ostrycharz created a unique style that followed the team's principles: "We sought a lightness and naivety in form while maximising the functional realism of objects, costumes, and vehicles."

They constantly referred to Lem's book The Invincible and tried to "refine and imagine the image of the planet that existed in Lem's mind."

Image credit: Starward Industries / 11Bit Studios

"We wanted to capture its eerie beauty, cosmic otherness, a certain warmth, and the stifling atmosphere. We focused on environmental storytelling, leaving traces of ships and abandoned machinery on the surface of Regis, as if it were seamlessly integrated into the planet."

Image credit: Starward Industries / 11Bit Studios

Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 helped the developers reach the quality they were looking for. Despite it not being the latest UE5, the graphics look amazing, and the team is happy that "the game looks like it was created on Unreal Engine 5."

"We put in a lot of effort to achieve the current result, primarily influenced by our developed colour composition, material choices, and lighting. However, it's important to note that we utilised Unreal Engine 4 for the project."

Image credit: Starward Industries / 11Bit Studios

The colors in reflections and the gleaming chromed surfaces of the machinery in the game "contrasting with the dry, matte sand of Regis III" deserve their own praise. The developers are proud of what they've created, and it shows in the various aspects of this beautiful world.

If you'd like to experience it yourself, buy The Invincible for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, or PC. Also, read the full interview with Ostrycharz on Creative Bloq and join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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