Long before the handle, there are rods. The Fun Art Museum organizes from September 25, an exhibition entitled “Art in the video game, the French inspiration.” More than 800 preparatory works are exhibited: sketches, sculptures and especially paintings, often created digitally. Called “concept art”, “illustrative design” or “artwork”, they are used to define the artistic context in which the game takes place. Vast ramshackle town or moist and stuffy jungle, horrible monsters or noble ladies, each video game leads to the development of a universe in which its mechanical take place.
Travel in antechamber gaming
The exhibition is divided into seven rooms, each with a particular theme. “The artist’s studio” immerses visitors in the first sketches. “Draw the towns and cities’ focus on the re-imagination of the urban environment in the video games. “Invitation au voyage” features landscapes at the crossroads of imagination and reality, as the next room, “Rewriting History” which enjoys the stage in all its alternatives. The next room is devoted to heroes and creatures, and the last two highlight the links that weave video games with the cinema and the world of tales and legends
Only regret. The absence of signs explanatory to contextualize the myriad of documents. Instead, the museum needed an audio guide, which provides additional information about this material which offers for the first time to the public gaze, as well as interviews broadcast in the exhibition, subtitled in French and English. It is useless to have played or even know the video games that have resulted from this work to enjoy the exhibition. If certain technical aspects are mentioned, it holds above all to discover all this creation upstream, often overshadowed by the final result, the game itself.
Behind it are not so much programmers as artists that shape this world, its scenery, its characters and its objects . The works thus produced are a communication tool for the development team, allowing you to preview what will be the game, atmosphere, atmosphere or even their levels. “This is a snapshot of the game as it will in two or three years” said Michel Ancel, creator of the series Rayman .
A “French inspiration” wide
Most of the works displayed are from recent games that link with France – it is sometimes tenuous in the case of multinational productions like those of the publisher Ubisoft, which has studios in Montreuil and Montpellier but also in Canada and China.
“A French inspiration” in the broad sense, says David Cage, director of the highly acclaimed adventure game Heavy Rain 2010:
“Do not do excess on French Touch is an expression a little dated. But there is certainly a French sensitivity, which is expressed through two streams, a rather graphic approach inspired by the comic, and a more narrative and realistic. “
The visitor can still admire the London deformed Laurent Gapaillard for Dishonored the developer Arkane or Paris 2084 painted by Paul Chadeisson for Remember Me DONTNOD. Contemplating the watercolors of Benoît Sokal for games Syberia or a gaggle Rabbids .
Other studios also present the works of Camille Bachmann for Of Orcs and Men , fantastic medieval inspiration and hints for those Stalinist Alexander Chaudret for The Technomancer , two sets of Spiders Games . The series of Endless Amplitude Studios, is also exposed to the works of Aurelian Rantet, Thomas Crest and Ronan Berlese. Morgan Yon and Christophe Messier imagine the wilderness of WiLD , the next game Wild Sheep, the new studio of Michel Ancel, creator of Rayman, armless figure and legs that is represented in a sketch in 1995, the oldest part of the exhibition.
“This is a vis-à-vis recognition of artists whose work is often invisible in the finished video games, and Besides a memory exercise, for games out there are twenty, twenty-five years, and preparatory drawings we discover that “ says Michel Ancel.
More that artists of views
For the typical person, these “paintings” video game is a bewildering material. Yet they have a real role in development. In the preparatory phase, the artists are not restricted by technology and give free rein to their imagination. Some concepts are then abandoned, too hard to achieve technically. They have nevertheless served throughout its design to convey a vision of the universe to create.
Some more advanced work even anticipate certain aspects of the game, as the objectives of the player decrypts Michel Ancel
“They answer to a problem, the so-called landmarks , the points of interest: these are places that the player notices immediately off, and that make you want him to visit, such as the Duomo in Florence Assassin’s Creed II . “
The artists draw to build these virtual worlds into reality. They twist in a direction of the game and the example is striking for cities: Paris, London, New York réimaginées are in the past, the future or alternate present. An installation can even take a walk in the revolutionary Paris reconstituted Assassin’s Creed Unity Ubisoft.
This exhibition reflects mainly the ambition and talent to the French scene the gaming establishment and offers its audience, players, players or not, young or veterans, a new access to the burgeoning world of gaming through artistic works he creates, giving it a welcome visibility.