January 6, 2015

Guardians of Middle Earth Concepts Part 1

I took my sweet time and finally added a bunch of the work I did on Guardians of Middle Earth (from here on in, referred to as "GoME") to my website. Figure I'll feature a few concepts here and on my tumblr over the next few posts. I worked on GoME for a bit in between a cancelled Batman project and Shadows of Mordor.

It was an interesting project to work on, as I'd never worked on a "MOBA" before (multiplayer online battle arena for you non-gamers out there), but as with all official LOTR stuff there are restrictions to what you can come up with. All of the characters were already designed from the films for the most part, we just had to "puff up" their proportions and colors a bit so they were more readable in very chaotic action, and from an isometric camera angle.

Overall the work I did on GoME was a tiny step towards what I'm doing now on Gigantic, boiling characters down to simple elements for a clean and dynamic visual read. The biggest difference though is that LOTR is still a realistically depicted world, whereas Gigantic is a fully stylized world.

First off... one of my favorite characters from LOTR, Gandalf the Grey! He really lives up to his name since he was literally a grey blob until I suggested giving him a non-canonical potion vial, add some other colors to his robes and really emphasize that impressive beard! (though in the final game he's still pretty much a grey blob)

Please say "Gandalf" in the whiniest Frodo voice when you look at this image.

Another fun character I got to work on was Treebeard. I had to use the film version as a jumping off point. (which was fine because he was great looking in the movie) I was happy with some of those head designs. I can draw organic tree people all day...

Did we really need extended Treebeard scenes in the movies? SNOOOZE.

Canis and Rem were two original characters for the game. They never made the final cut but they were really fun to work on. They're "skinchangers" like Beorn. These two siblings turn into wolves, rather than bears.

This guy doesn't care about stupid "no shirt, no shoes, no service" rules.

It was fun to keep some of the design elements from the human form in the beast form.

I referenced native dress of Turkey and of the Roma people for her costume.
I wanted to be sure Rem's beast form looked more intelligent than her brother's.

More trees! Here's some stuff for the Ents that you can summon in the game.

It was fun coming up with different forms for the Ents. The team really like #4's
root legs.

Final designs

More in the next GoME post!

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