I was born in the year 20XX and sent back into the past via space capsule to prevent Judgement Day. I think they sent me back too early, because nothing is really happening yet. So, until I get the call, I'm usually just sitting around, readin' comics, playin' videogames, and drawrin' pictures.
- To get the power-up and save the princess. Will settle for steady job with decent healthcare plan.
So the guy who lives above me has Monday night football parties or something every week. Bunch of people come over, they get drunk. Whatevs. I can dig. Best part? Entire night is now punctuated by random "WOOOOOOOOS". It's like Ric Flair is living above me.
Basically I set out to draw a unicorn, because I never have. And I thought it would be funny. Then I discovered that I didn't care about horses, so I made my own unicorn. He turned out ugly. I prefer this particular kind of unicorn to your standard equestrian storebrand variety.
Some days just suck. When those days come around, the best thing to do is to bleed it out. I chose to do so on the page. Instant therapy.
That's it for now. Sounds like Ric Flair has settled down. Apparently enough alcohol consumption can put the figure-4 leg lock on just about anybody.
Oh, by the way, Assassins Creed II is really fun, and a vast improvement over the first one. It's even better if you run around yelling "I'm the Goddamn Renaissance Batman" while punching bards and using civilians to cushion misjudged jumps. Just a heads up, there.
During a recent interview with the BBC Asian Network, actor Adam Croasdell (pictured above) revealed that he had taken up the mantle of James Bond with the following quote;
"Oddly enough I have just played James Bond in the new James Bond video game - how weird is that? I don't know what the future holds, but I'm always into varying up what comes my way, trying new things."
The hiring of an "official" game-centric Bond pretty much confirms the oft-speculated rumor that Activision wants to make James Bond games a yearly event. On one hand, yes, it's greedy Activision being all greedy Activision a'la the Guitar Hero and Call of Duty brands. On the other hand, the James Bond character has over twenty films under its multiple belts. There was a time when the Bond films were near-yearly events. If any character has managed to avoid the 'overstayed his welcome' stigma, it's definitely dear 007.
Now, that being said, we're still talking about a known unknown, here. Bond games have either worked, or haven't. Period. They either rock, like Goldeneye, or suck, like Goldeneye: Rogue Agent. By hiring a new face for Bond, Acitivision has effectively freed themselves from having to adhere to any film plots, and have the opportunity to create a story filled with characters that works ideally for a game instead of arbitrarily building a game around a film's plot (hello, Quantom of Solace).
Activision, I know you're busy. You've got a lot on your plate with your Calls of Duties and whatnot. Let me help you out here.
Here's six ways to make the next Bond game not suck:
1. LET'S GET A LITTLE WILD AND CRAZY
Casino Royal was a fantastic reboot for the Bond franchise, but it's important to remember that it's not necessarily reflective of what Bond has been for the many years that the character has been around. Even going back to the original books and short stories as source material, Bond is light, pulpy fun. Don't get me wrong, Ian Flemming's original works do have their share of bloodshed and darkness (quite a bit, actually), but the Bond stories were written as and escape for the reader. There's a breezy nature to the original text that hasn't been present in the films for a long time. Being a video game gives the new Bond story a wide canvas to work from. You shouldn't be afraid to dip your pen in as many wells as possible to draw from. Have the hard-edged toughness of Casino Royal, yes, but don't be afraid to tap into the sheer sense of adventure present in From Russia With Love or the rampant goofiness of Moonraker. A sensible writer can draw from the many faces and worlds of Bond to create a greatest-hits of what has made the character so endurable. Yup, that includes Grace Jones.
2.THE SIGHTS YOU'LL SEE
As mentioned above, part of the allure of James Bond is pure escapism. As a result, many of the best stories of films find Bond in lush environments of wonder that we could only hope to visit some day before dying. He's a world traveler, and travel he does. James Bond is not a character made for gray corridors, or little office buildings. He's meant to run around white tropical beaches, atop active volcanoes, and of course, throughout the occasional secret SPECTRE base. The stylized world of Bond is as much an element of the character as the drinking, womanizing, or one-liners. All I'm saying is, don't put James Bond in a sewer level, deal?
3. CARS, GUNS, GADGETS
Three things Bond needs on every good mission: 1. A kick-ass car that none of us could ever afford, 2. the Walther PPK/7 with optional silencer attachment, 3. some sort of exploding piece of clothing. James Bond does not exist in our reality, he exists in a hyper-reality. It's a reality where cufflinks shoot knock-out gas, and a wristwatch can burn through steel doors. Some may see these fantastic elements as 'quaint' or 'out of time', but really, they're perfect for a video game. Again, don't dismiss the gadgets based on the success of Casino Royale. We're talking about James Bond, here. You could easily drop a cell-phone bomb into a gritty, real-world flavored espionage story and have it make just as much sense as a hidden defibulator in the glove compartment of a car (how convienient!).
4. MOTHAFUCKIN' JAWS
Listen up, Activision, because this is very important; you aren't bound by continuity. James Bond films are partially defined by their villains, and unfortunately, most of the most notable villains are dead in the film universe. That doesn't mean you have to subscribe to the same mantra. Separate the game universe from the film universe. Create new villains, new places, new situations, yes, but let's not forget about what made the films so great to begin with. We should be able to duel with Scaramanga, go toe-to-toe with Baron Samedi in a Haitian graveyard, and yes, tangle with Jaws. And of course, sitting at the top of all of it, should be the faceless Blofeld and his damn white cat.
5. JAMES BOND WOULD NAIL YOUR GIRLFRIEND, AND HIT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH A CHAIR AS A BONUS ROUND. YOU'LL THANK HIM FOR IT, AND HE WILL STILL FINISH THE MISSION.
Fact: James Bond is kind of a dick. Sure, he's great with a gun and knows a fair amount of Judo, but most of the time, he's successful either out of blind luck, or due to expert manipulation. In Goldfinger, he beds a woman twice in a row despite her wanting to go out for a night on the town, knowing full well that she is in league with the enemy and intends to set up an ambush on Bond. So, after treating her to a two rounds of Bond loving, he walks her out her front door... and into the arms of two awaiting police officers. Let me repeat; James Bond made her double-down to buy time for him to send her to jail. That's either total class, or the most jerk-ass move in film history. I'm not saying that the game should feature that kind of situation, per se, but it's important to remember that Bond solves a lot of problems with his brain and with his mouth. I'd love to see some sort of Mass Effect-style conversation system in the game where, with the proper steps, you can diffuse hostile situations, or cut through missions without firing a single bullet. Why break into a government building when you can woo the secretary and lift the key to the front door off of her dresser the next morning?
I had a couple of different ideas rolling around in my head for this one, but ultimately went to E.Honda due to the face paint / stripes on his 'clothing'. Thought it could add an interesting dynamic. Also, the background is a bit of a nod to the bathhouse level from Street Fighter II.
I love video games. I've played them for as long as I can remember, and despite what your cabal news networks might like you to believe, I think it's made me a better person. A million different titles from a thousand different studios from a hundred different countries mean that a lot of ideas get thrown on the collective table. They have inspired me, and in doing so, have made me a better artist.
Three days ago, I tasked myself with proving it with the following criteria;
1. List your favorite childhood, 16-bit era games.
2. Narrow the list to six (a well rounded number).
3. Interpret the games on the list artistically and uniquely.
4. Do not repeat artistic styles between the six pieces.
The results are as follow. Good, bad, ugly. As always, click on RED to see the full-sized pieces.
Streets of Rage 2 was the first game I bought with my actual money, as I remember. Not growing up in a particularly rich household, it was something I earned. I do love Final Fight and Double Dragon, but I'm not sure there has ever been a better brawler released. When crafting this piece, I tried to go for a 'street' feel, mixed with some flavor of Japanese Manga. The mixture creates a most unfortunate scenario for Galsia, a generic thug that has appeared in all three Streets of Rage games.
I probably don't need to explain why this holds a special place in my heart. It's quite simply the best side-scrolling shooter ever crafted. Years later, it's unique characters and imaginative level designs still set a bar that few games even come close to reaching. When I set out to bring these characters to life, I focused on the concept that the names of all the characters are based on colors - Gunstar Red, Gunstar Blue, Pinky Roader, etc. Using that logic, I set out to create a piece that was primarily defined by the bright color elements.
I don't really play sports games, but I always found the Mutant League games fascinating. I remember pouring over the trading cards that came with an issue of Gamepro, completely enraptured by the art. I also remember being terrified of the magazine add, which showcased a severed arm and head... that just technically made it past the touchdown line with football intact. This is the only piece that is almost straight-up photoshop. I wanted to try to maybe capture some that creepiness that I felt as a kid with that magazine ad.
We had Mario, and we had Sonic, but it wasn't until Earthworm Jim that we had an actual CHARACTER in videogames. Every frame of animation defined Jim's personality in a time before cutscenes and true voice acting were available to do the heavy lifting, some would say that EWJ still pulls ahead in charm despite the lower tech. I'm one of them. I wanted to tap into that cartoon energy, but acknowledge the handrawn work. So, we get angular lines with rough finish overtop that makes the piece look like an animation test. I also went with a fairly flat look on Jim's face - I figured that an earthworm with the sudden gain of arms and legs might be a little confused, pretty much at all times.
The sheer volume of quarters I plunked into this arcade cabinet could have put me through college twice over, at the expense of all the fun. Simple, arcadey action. Nothing like it. When I begin to visualize the concept on this one, I hovered over a few different ideas; the wanted posters, some of the bosses. Ultimately, it was the visual of your cowboy of choice booking ass across the backs of stampeding steer that I kept coming back to. Additionally, when doing the research on the piece, I came across the text present in it - the actual text used in the game. I found it so hilariously forward that it sealed the deal. Special thanks goes to Krow for the suggestion of the game.
I loved Mario, but Sonic blew my face off. I remember standing in a Sam's Club, watching a demo of the game being played on a large television. The colors, the sounds, the speed, it was like sending my brain through a worm tunnel to some far off galaxy. I finally got the game and system for my birthday some time later, and was hooked. It was the first game I ever woke up early to play BEFORE going to school. I knew I wanted to do something Sonic-related, but wasn't sure what. I didn't want to do something stereotypical. I got stuck on Robotnik, because I found it so interesting that he was the only human being present in the original Genesis-era games. Additionally, he was the very definition of evil. In a world of cute Hedgehogs and Foxes, there was a depth there to mine. So, I made Robotnik the ugliest of humanity. Pimples, drool, foodstains, he's grease and oil and darkness incarnate.
Well, you made it to the end of thos (very) wordy artblog. I hope you enjoyed it, I certainly did. These pieces were not just good practice, or good portfolio, they were trips back to my childhood. I think that made the brush move just a little bit smoother... a little bit more magically. Videogames. Is there anything they can't do?
- Since this is an "odd" numbered entry, this counts as a variant piece as assets were reused (similar to Slow Your Beast Roll CE and Bearhug (Mech Zangeif).
- First of the New Challenger entries to be in a horizontal layout
- Although I directly wanted to reuse many of the assets (to play on the reuse of assets in Street Fighter II), I wanted there to be subtle differences. Thus, the blue drop shadow is slightly different in the two pieces, and Ken has shading in his hair whereas Ryu does not.
- I was having a huge issue getting the Hadoken pose down correctly, so I actually worked directly over the sprites used in Street Fighter II.
Next entree (whenever it drops), will be a singular one (next variant will likely be Vega). Out of the remaining Super Street Fighter II cast, who would you like to see next?
Man, oh man. Hello there. Been awhile, hasn't it? Seems so. Miss me? I sure missed you. Isn't it awesome when life gets so busy you can barely find "me time", which for yours truly translates directly into "art time"? Yeah, that's so awesome.
Anyway, enough bitchy chit chat! We're here for doodles! (remember to click the RED for big)
First up is Gilgamesh, as requested by Krow. Having only played through Final Fantasy VII completely, and being rather unfamiliar with the other installments in the series, I wasn't that familiar with this character. So, that explains why it's not an exact 1:1 of the true design. I sort of went a little wild and crazy, playing up the cloak and angles.
This one is called Are We Red?. I wanted to do something really odd and layered. So, I did. Please feel free to print multiple copies of this out and paste it all over the bathroom for your roommate to come home to.
Ugh. Okay, first of all, yes, Dexter is an awesome show. Absolutely love it. So, when I decided to try my hand at developing a promotional poster, it was a surefire go. Only I kind of hate how this came out. There's something good there... just not what I wanted. This is probably going to be v 1.0, and normally I wouldn't even post something that I don't really like, but I spent too goddamn much time on this just to have it sit on my hard drive. C'est La Vie, yes?