It took almost two years for Sunset Overdrive to find its style
Sunset Overdrive is one of my most anticipated games of 2014. And part of that reason is because of the game's unique style which, despite the post-apocalyptic setting, features a vibrant color palette and over stylized cityscape. It's a look that, according to Sunset Overdrive art director Jacinda Chew, took two years to get.
"If you’re wondering why it took so long, it’s because it was a game that started as a huge pile of disparate ideas that I spent two years distilling into an art style," Chew said in an interview on the Insomniac Games website.
"One of our biggest challenges was figuring out the building style. Since the buildings are closely tied to the game traversal, we had to work hand-in-hand with Design to make buildings that were traversal-friendly so it was an organic process. We probably rebuilt the original prototype city eleven times as we re-adjusted our metrics and building designs to meet the needs of gameplay.
"The character style went through some iteration as well," Chew added. "I wanted to design characters who were believable as underdogs, but also aspirational and capable of performing our parkour moves. There is remarkably little concept art for this game because so many things were dependent on the modelers working collaboratively with design and creative."
Elsewhere in her interview, Chew explained that she wanted the game's art style to reflect all of the fun one could have during the end times, adding that she was inspired by some colorful buildings in Havana. Other influences Insomniac Games drew from include Phil Hale, Jamie Hewlett and Jean Paul Gaultier for character design and fashion, and the Scott Pilgrim movie for FX.
"There is an irreverence or attitude that I liked about each of these artists and architectural styles," Chew said.
You can check out Sunset Overdrive's opening cinematic to get a feel for the type of style Chew is referring to right here.