Long life to Embark studio and its fabulous procedural artists dream team !
Life is Strange is one of the most beautiful games, released last year. One of the biggest features of this project is the way the developers approached the visuals. Dontnod Entertainment took Unreal Engine 3 and used it to build artistic renditions of the Pacific Northwest. The environments in this game are quite remarkable to say the least. They have the incredible atmosphere of the tired, autumn-like Twin Peaks or smth. To understand the creative vision behind the game, you definitely need to study the concept art of Edouard Caplain. (There are SPOILERS ahead. You have been warned.)
Edouard Caplain is an incredibly talented artist. He worked on a number of great projects, including the cancelled game The Outsider from Frontier Developments and Alien: Isolation from The Creative Assembly. However, at DONTNOD Entertainment he managed to create a real masterpiece.
Let’s have a look at some of the concepts Edouard created for Life is Strange and compare them to the screenshots from within the game. The results are actually stunning. The art of Edouard is actually almost pixel per pixel transported into the final game!
Blackwell Academy has a very peculiar look. Nice architecture, beautiful colors and something ominous in it. Look how the look changes in the game with each episode. There’s always some kind of story there.
We never actually get to this football field, but it’s always there, reminding about the jocks and the ocean.
This is probably one of the saddest environments in the game. Not only because of the story, but because of the way the artists created this depiction of decay. A house of a struggling family.
Arcadia Bay is a magical place. One day it looks like a quaint little town, and in a another it’s a mystic center of the natural catastrophe.
Probably one of the most beautiful scenes in Life is Strange. It has so many details. It’s mindblowing. Most of them are present in the concept art.
There’s a bunch of other environments with great details here.
This scene is by far one of the most powerful in the whole game. The setting does a lot to emphasize the connection between the characters.
Gorgeous environments by Edouard Caplain always have tons of different stuff in the frame. The scenes are overflowing with detail and it looks absolutely amazing, telling a different story every time.
The menacing atmosphere here is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
There are a lot of wonderful visual environment story telling examples in Life is Strange. The game plays a lot with the time and it constantly shows in the world around us. Look at this house as it changes it’s look depending on the reality we visit.
Or watch how the house changes the atmosphere inside. Two versions of Chloe’s room look nothing alike, except of some color cues. It’s amazing how the artists tell these huge stories thanks to the world alone.
Nathan’s room is a place of nightmares and the artist obviously had a lot of fun working on this project. There’s so much stuff here, it can virtually make a shrink sick.
The most horrible environment in the game is sterile and colorless. It’s the lair of the psychopath lacks any sort of bright spots in the beginning, however it changes later down the line.
Dontnod Entertainment artistic department did an impressive work with color and light in Life is Strange. Light especially is always filling the frame, underlining the connection with the photography theme of the whole game.
We could go on and on for ages. Life is Strange is a feast for the eyes and each screen is a story of its own. Can’t wait to see what Dontnod Entertainment will come up with next time.