This video was made in 2008, in the early days when Gravity Rush was first being developed. And from the very beginning, Gravity Rush promised to show us gorgeous landscapes and character art brought to life in a unique game mechanic.
Many developers try to incorporate a “comic book feel” to their games through cell-shading and other means, but few of them succeed in immersing you in a comic-book world the way Gravity Rush does. The concept and artwork is absolutely stunning.
Released just a couple of days ago on the Playstation Blog, the “conceptual movie” promotes the games launch on Playstation Vita June 12th. Why, oh why wasn’t it made into a full console game?
As art director Yoshiaki Yamaguchi explains, the unique comic interpretation is not by accident. They intentionally used the concept of “Bande Dessine” to give the game its unique look.
“Gravity Rush incorporates the theme of Bande Dessinee (BD), a popular Franco-Belgian comic book art style. There are various types of BD style and they can be perceived in many ways. We first approached an element of BD we thought would fit well into the pre-existing game art. One of the differences between realistic expression and schematic expression represented by BD is that BD exaggerates the information that author wants to convey to the audience. By doing so, it conveys more of the accurate information that the author wants to be recognized.”
The style does wonders in bringing the comic book feel to life, but it doesn’t end there. Incorporating the background into a living thing that can be manipulated and interacted with during gameplay was key in creating a game that feels like a living comic book.
“Another important factor is the concept of a “living background.” This is the idea of bringing the game world itself to life so that users can actually ‘feel’ it. Basically, players can interact with certain objects in the game and they can actually get into the scenery within the remote background. Environmental background is not a piece of a picture, but it actually exists within the game, and we can use that background with our gameplay. That was our ultimate goal. By combining the unique art style of BD and the idea of living background, we created a sensation that could only be brought to life with a video game.”
I hope the gameplay is as exciting as it looks, and prompts more developers to explore this style. “Borrowing” from others concepts is pretty standard in the gaming world, and in this instance I look forward to it.
What’s impressive is the fully thought out art design for a game to be released 4 years later. Judging from more recent trailers and stills, they haven’t veered from the initial concept much. A fan put together this compilation of publicity material with full trailers and artwork set to the games killer sound track. Enjoy.