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Marathon Art Director Shares the Team's Creative Influences

Marathon's art director Joseph Cross discussed the various sources of inspiration for the team, including games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and God of War, films like Ghost in the Shell and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and works of artist and animator Alberto Mielgo.

Bungie's upcoming shooter, Marathon, garnered significant attention following the release of its announce trailer, first showcased during this year's PlayStation showcase. Many viewers, including those who typically aren't interested in multiplayer games, admitted they were captivated by the game's striking and vivid art style and hailed it as the most stunning presentation of the event.

Bungie has previously referred to the visual style of their game as "graphic realism". However, the art director of the shooter, Joseph Cross, who also serves as a concept artist in the film industry, including on notable works like Ghost in the Shell and Denis Villeneuve's Dune, recently took to Twitter to delve deeper into the creative process behind this art style.

As per Cross's explanation, "graphic realism" is a production term used by Bungie to emphasize their focus on achieving this particular visual style.

"On one side it's about a simplified/deconstructed universal design language, strong graphic design and color statements, and limited materials," he explained. "The other side is about realistic proportions & scale, implied functional & detail, and a generally grounded world. We're focused on creating visual "brand" of science fiction, that (hopefully) feels fresh and stands the test of time."

Cross also discussed the various sources of inspiration for the team, encompassing a range of modern and classic games, as well as the works of designers, directors, and animators. Among the video game industry works, he mentioned titles such as Metal Gear Solid 2, the original Marathon, and Wipeout, along with more contemporary games like Death Stranding, God of War, and The Last of Us.

He also highlighted that DICE's Mirror's Edge and movies such as Aeon Flux and Ghost in the Shell as well as works of manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo, anime director Koji Morimoto, graphic design studio The Designers Republic, and music video director Chris Cunningham also had a significant impact on Marathon's art style.

Moreover, Cross specifically acknowledged that artist and animator Alberto Mielgo had a significant influence on Bungie, while also noting the impact of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on blockbuster animation. According to him, these works have given Bungie "a ton of strength and confidence to take more visual & creative risks."

Additionally, Cross mentioned various other sources of inspiration, including sports disciplines such as MotoGP and Formula 1, as well as science, high-end fashion, and cinema.

Bungie is currently preparing for internal alpha testing for Marathon and there will be temporary no news or updates regarding the game. However, the developers reassured fans that when they resurface, Marathon will be significantly closer to its release, and the studio will be ready to unveil gameplay footage.

You can find Joseph Cross Twitter thread here. Also, don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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