God of War: Designing Alfheim

God of War: Designing Alfheim

Let’s continue to celebrate this week’s God of War Art Blast with a special story from Sony Santa Monica.

Let’s continue to celebrate this week’s God of War Art Blast with a special story from Sony Santa Monica. The team has decided to share some details on the way their artists worked on the beautiful realm of Alfheim torn apart by a war between two sides. The article provides some in-depth details on the design decisions, workflow, and other parts, so don’t miss it. 

Here’s a little piece to get you interested:

Alfheim was the first realm the team worked on after designing Midgard and it would set out how fantastical, yet grounded the other areas of the game would become. Although in popular culture, certain areas of Norse mythology have been explored, many of the actual realms had not been well-represented and would challenge the team to approach this with a sense of thematic consistency while weaving in our team’s own unique flair. Luke Berliner, our lead environment concept artist, recollected the first directive of the game, stating, “There was a lot of creative liberty in defining what the realms meant to us.”

The first pillar of designing this realm became the Light of Alfheim, where Kratos and Atreus would journey to in order to power the Bifrost. Much like the Mountain in Midgard, the light would be a centerpiece that would continually direct you towards where you were heading. “Cory, our creative director, had this idea of a central light source that was the only light source in Alfheim, feeding into the narrative hook that you needed the light to progress.” The team started to toy with a number of ideas that would center around that. For instance, there was a lot of interest in showing off how life and death, one of many dichotomies that would appear, were big parts of the realm because the lake was supposed to represent the Lake of Souls.

Another fascinating artistic challenge that the Light of Alfheim affected was the foliage. All around Alfheim, as you venture through by both foot and boat, you experience varying tree shapes and otherworldly environment art. Much like everything in this area, even these trees are affected by the Light of Alfheim. Luke explained, “Early on, the trees, the environment looked like as if it was growing towards a singular light source and that would look very different than Midgard or any other place. I really liked the singular idea of that light source and how an entire ecology has grown around that in a unique way combined with a more fantastical architecture.” This idea led to interesting concepts where the team played with the region’s fauna and how that would react to having a light source centralized as a beam.

The team would narrow this down even further to the exact tree types they were inspired by,  which were different, depending on the realms that they were working on. First would be exactly those types of trees that would show off an ancient, yet elegant environment that would contrast well with Midgard’s environments.  “One of the things that we looked at were different, really old growth trees,” Luke said. “Things like a bristle cone, pine trees, and old olive trees…things that have kind of grown for a really long time and have an interesting form to them.”  

You can find the full article here

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