Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bound by flame - Concept art 2 / 2

This production was intense, with short deadlines and not a lot of time for going back on designs, plus many artworks that stayed at a draft/sketch stage.
(with almost no preproduction, I guess it is reflected on the final product)
Anyway, here is the second batch of my work on Bound by flame:

 The ruins of the temple where the red scholars perform the ritual during the prologue of the game:
The hero will be possessed by a demon which motives are unclear; you will decide at several moments of the game to choose to trust it or not.

 Sybil, and Eolas, her father, (and other red scholars protagonists):
They have knowledge regarding ancient magic, and forgotten rituals.
They are nomads, and been on the road for a long time, lucky enough to not have faced the undead army... yet.

The juggernaut, a boss designed to introduce the player to his/her new demon powers:
(a mass of flesh, bones and body parts, like most of the creations of the undead army) + his spawn.
 These are just retakes, this monster was originally created by Alexandre Chaudret (Eyardt), who has also designed some pretty creepy creatures for this game (like the "mimic", for those who have played the game); be sure to have a look at his work at

The marsh + its surroundings, characters and dangers:
It was designed to be a haven (capable of repelling the advance of the army of undeads) for our group of heroes to hide temporarily but yet very dangerous because of its wildlife mutations.
(working as a nature's response to the twisting magic of the frozen lords draining life from the world)

 Randval, second companion to the story, dedicated to honour the memory of his fallen clan of warriors, ready to sacrifice himself if needs be. The hero encounter him at the entrance of the small fortified village protecting the refugees who flock at the doors and are denied entrance.

 The small village of the swamp was formerly a halt for the merchants travelling on the commercial road. Also a hunting lodge, its houses are mostly wood shelters, designed to be hidden in invasive vegetation, with large angular roofs. Some of the constructions are elevated, on stilts, to protect its inhabitants from insects and because of the instable ground.

 Sketches and moods to inspire composition of the environment:

The cave of the nosferatu; its host is a spy, and a scout to the undead army.
He can mind control the inhabitants of the swamp, and detects the presence of the demon if the player chooses its path.

 The corruption, greatest threat of the swamp, seems like a defense mechanism against the invaders and their twisted magic:
+ the beast and its twisted whip/arm

The image depicts the arrival in enemy territory, the border of conquered lands: a formerly elven castle now in ruins at the hands of the undead. I wanted the player to instantly fear the destructive powers of the ice lords, capable of unhinge and froze a river to make an access ramp for their troops to invade the dungeon directly.

Another creature who roams the streets of the castle: the lich lord, an ambulant charnel made of the victims and fallen inhabitants of the region. The variant is a boss and has the fallen elf king embedded in his body. Unfortunately it didn't make it in the final game.

Mathras, last companion joining the hero, and my favorite (actually a comic relief in the story); he is a very ancient immortal wraith capable of possessing corpses. He has an annoying know-it-all side, but genuine since he has years and years of knowledge behind him.
His actual body is the corpse of a mummified ancient king.

The elves and their prince, the last highest living authority of their people since they lost the war, now reduced to guerrilla warfare.
The prince's appearance is clearly not a reflection of its title. Supposed to be the king since the death of his father, he rejects the title nonetheless. He became brutal, and do not hesitate to take drastic decisions. I found that the image of an old and burdened prince without a realm had impact: the world is collapsing, and titles are now obsolete.

Below, Rhelmar, the possible elf companion for the hero. He is considered a pariah and a traitor by his own kind because he iniatially rejected the elves policy of neutrality.

The elves are clearly survivors now, I wanted to show that idea in the designs of their outfits + the fact that they lost their nobility in favor of more savagery:
On the one hand rags and raw materials, and in the other former parts of golden armors from their past glory, now dulled, tarnished and weathered by the harsh climate.

Sketches of the palace of the ice lord and an exemple of the statues gallery exposed in its courtyard, supposed to reflect lust and the deviant mind and dreary fascination of the mad sorcerer for chimeras, alchemy and raw creation via blood magic.
The group of heroes enters the lair from the bowels of sewers, which are now filled with corpses and abominations, remnants of the blood rituals performed above.

 The lair and limbos are overseen by the sorcerer's harem of monstrosities, again a reflect of his obsession and fascination towards chimeras, lust and blood magic. He also keep a gallery of prisoners and slaves for his entertainment and dark creation rituals.
He is clearly mad, and has gone out of control, destroying the world and himself, in the process.

Edwen, a sorceress and the most ambiguous companion to the hero:

Some sketches about the final arena, a reflection of the heart of the world, a prison made by the sorcerers to tap into its energy, corrupting it and destroying it in the process.
(The "demon" that possesses the hero is in fact a raw force of nature that represents the last bastion of the world)

 Some other arts about the company of mercenaries with whom the hero starts his/her adventure. I had the pleasure to conceptualize the heroin in 3D + the different stages of possession by the demon. It was tricky, each level & element of transformation had to be separated, nonetheless it was a lot of fun.