Jay on Art: No. 1

Kwalee Artist, Jay Lytwynenko discusses art in video games.

Games development is a very busy job and most of the time I am lucky if I find a spare hour or two when I get home to play a game. It’s quite ironic that I develop games and am lucky if I manage to play a game myself!

That said, I have been having a long love affair with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which is just an absolute joy. I was under the impression that this game would cause a lot of annoyance because of the Nintendo Wii Motion Plus usage, but it has actually created an immersive experience that I am delighted to continue playing.

It’s not just the gameplay that makes me love this game, or my obsession with the series. This game is very different from other Zelda titles in the way that its art style has been approached and executed. The game has taken the cel-shaded visuals of Wind Waker as well as the more traditional graphics of Twilight Princess and flung the two together in a stunning collaboration.

I sometimes find myself leaving Link in idle mode on the screen whilst I sit a few inches away from my TV looking at the game and enjoying each little brush mark that is clearly visible in the almost watercolour texture effect. My love for my craft sees me being attracted to games that are unusual in the way that they are artistically directed or in the use of lighting to really make the visuals look delicious. I applaud games that are adventurous in their approach to the art direction and whilst my love affair continues with Skyward Sword, I may be accused of cheating on it with another title that has caught my eye.

Thatgamecompany has recently released Journey, which pushes the boundaries of what you can achieve within a game through artistic maturity. Some scenes in this game are just breathtaking.The shaders make the sand shine with a golden glint; it is just gorgeous. The way that the textures have been handled in this game and the lighting approach is just spot on and exactly the sort of thing that excites me.

I am currently playing both of these titles and I feel a real sense of satisfaction as an artist that amazing things can be achieved with an innovative directional approach. I hope that we here at Kwalee can work on giving you just as great an experience through your iOS device.