Art and animation play a key role in environmental and thematic storytelling and breathing emotion into many of our titles. Over the years, our art team has tirelessly worked to perfect what could be in the kingdom of Sky.
Here we find out from some of our art team members (past and present) of some of their thoughts on working on Sky in their own words.
Yui Tanabe, Art Manager
“In Sky, the clouds themselves have slowly grown to form their own characters and personalities in the world. As a key element of the landscape, we often begin by asking how can we situate the clouds to set the scene, or how can we set the light source and atmosphere density to emphasize the emotion?
The “look and feel” of the clouds has been a continued and combined effort from both the graphic engineers and visual artists at the studio. The artists quickly work to showcase the technology we have, and it shows. I think this is what makes thatgamecompany’s art unique across all of our games.”
Aaron Jessie, Environment Artist
“Sky’s architecture takes inspiration from the ancient temples in Bagan. In designing the environment, we chose colors that were reminiscent of the ancient characters in the game as well as decor that told a story of the world that existed before the player arrived.
Beneath all that, we also felt the shape and silhouette of the buildings rhymed with some of the motifs of later levels. The gold prayer wheels on the top were reminiscent of candles, which directed the players’ viewpoint upwards. Finally, for each of the levels we wanted these iconic architectures to align with the main characters that inhabited them.”
Jacky Ke Jiang, Art Director
“Over the past few years of developing Sky, we have gone through a few iterations of the ‘Descendant – Child of Light’ player characters. We always knew we wanted an elegant yet innocent design but it was crucial for players to see themselves embodying the characters. They had to have a relatable childlike design, all while being ready for wonder, adventure and romance. This was something that we designed and had worked for Journey, and we wanted to push it further in Sky.
We tried not to think too much or limit ourselves. However, there were three crucial elements… Could the design: 1) evoke the emotion we want, 2) inspire gameplay and interactivity in the world and 3) be realized in the game engine? From there, we built many prototypes and kept testing and retesting as a collective. It is truly a team effort designing and building the characters.
As we have customization in Sky also, we can’t wait to see what combinations the players come up with to express their own avatar in the world. That will be the ultimate reward of our designs.”
Tom Zhao, Narrative Designer & Concept Artist
“One of our goals in Sky is to create a shared emotional journey of highs and lows that a group of companions can experience together. At this point in the game, the players have enjoyed making companions so we wanted a place where the players could become separated and experience loneliness.
The dense rainy forest helps evoke a sense of mystery and melancholy in contrast to the bright open skies. I chose a color palette that is predominantly cool and desaturated with the only warmth coming from the light of other players or sanctuaries that provide hope and shelter. By creating a desire to seek warmth and light, we hope to make the moments when you find refuge from the rain together even more meaningful.”
Avi Yeyni, Senior Animator
“In the world of Sky – it is full of stories and characters that the players can discover. Animation supports the effort to present those stories and characters in a way that’s entertaining, and shows the unique personality each character has.
We wanted the player animation to feel extremely energetic. As you explore, every swipe and flight gesture should feel powerful and satisfying, as if the character has some extra inner energy that’s propelling it. You’ll find there’s a certain childish element in the player’s movement too, and that’s intentional. We wanted the character to feel like a child exploring a big world.”