In the early stages of video game development, artists and designers will come together and illustrate the vision of the team as a whole. While the task of coding and adding everything into the game makes up the largest chunk of a game's creative process, the concept and key art act as the very first (and most important) piece of the overall puzzle.
These initial illustrations of a video game are known as "concept art" and are a way to bring a character or landscape to life and to make life a little bit easier for the programmers (rather than having to pull the imagery from their mind and have things get lost in translation). In a similar sense, many of these concept images are used as "key art" which is the image that ends up on the game's packaging, or used as a way to promote the game prior to its release.
Below, we've compiled some of our favorite examples of magical concept and key art that truly showcases games as the
Life of Lon
Currently still in the development process, Life of Lon by studio Block Interval is a beautiful game described as a "cerebral journey through time and space" within a gorgeous, foreign landscape. Life of Lon is being developed with a lot of passion behind it when it comes to the game's written content, music, animation, gameplay... and of course, its art. One
Song of the Deep
Released July of this year, Song of the Deep by developer Insomniac Games totes itself as a
Rabbit Heart by developer Viktor Sapatšuk is a game that never seemed to have fully launched. There isn't much known about the game online, other than its absolutely gorgeous concept art and design idea. Online sources still cite the game as a work-in-progress so there's hope that in the future we may see this beautiful game fully realized, but until then, you can learn more about the game on Rabbit Heart's official website.
Ori and the Blind Forest
While this may come as a surprise, the above piece of art is not a screenshot from the game and is actually early concept art for the popular platformer Ori and the Blind Forest. Mirroring the game with perfect clarity, the developers over at Moon Studios fully realized their vision when it came to creating Ori. We can't help but marvel at the design, eerily reminiscent of Studio Ghibli's film Princess Mononoke, and tip our hats to the entire development team for bringing this game to life! Learn more about Ori and the Blind Forest on the game's official website.
The Long Dark
The chilly survival game, The Long Dark, by developer Hinterland
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter by developer The Astronauts is a game that is one often referenced as "wallpaper fuel" due to how many breathtaking vistas the game contains. While the game's mystery and unique way in which you work to solve it is amazing in itself, there's no denying the art style of the game is one of the best we've seen in years. It was hard to choose just one image, but we loved the way the sun's rays gently filter through the autumn leaves in this one. Learn more about developer The Astronauts on their official website.
No Man's Sky
Love it or hate it, No Man's Sky by developer Hello Games boasted one hell of a concept/key art image for the game. The image above is what we're sure many gamers hoped the game would be with crazy animals, vibrant worlds, and other players zooming by overhead. While this wasn't the game we ended up with, our hearts are still fond of this image, and the dream behind it. Learn more about Leading Light Design who handled the concept art for No Man's Sky.
The Banner Saga
Last, but certainly not least, we come to an image that may feel familiar to you as it's related to the main image for this article. The Banner Saga by developer Stoic and its corresponding sequel remain
For more magical indie game features here at Indie Obscura, be sure to check out the 6 awesome indie games we can't wait for, a closer look at the unique art style in Studio MDHR's Cuphead, and the man behind Hotline Miami's key art El Huervo!