Gaming Today Exclusive: The Art of Clive Barker’s Jericho
We’ve all been watching as Clive Barker’s Jericho hit stores recently (It’s on Gametap as well). After all, there’s never anything wrong with a quality, horror-based shooter, especially one that bears the legendary name of Clive Barker. But what makes a horror story great? It’s the monsters, of course!
Now, courtesy of the folks over at Codemasters, we’re going to bring you some exclusive artwork showing off the monsters you’ll encounter in Jericho. Not only that, but we’ve included a short Q&A session with Lead Designer Joe Falke. Find out what it’s like working with the visions of Clive Barker firsthand.
You can find more images, and the complete interview after the break.
Joe Falke: First it was really to take inspiration from Clive’s previous body of work, incorporate his specific ideas and sketches, and then work those up. Clive wanted all the monsters in the game to have a self altered look. The environments needed to reflect a parallel dimension and to avoid all the typical time travelling clichés.
But obviously on a project of this size, it goes much further. Visuals are vital in creating a truly atmospheric next-generation horror game. We aimed to create a dark, almost surreal atmosphere in the game. We used desaturated and subtle colours to give a sense of bleakness to the environment and enhance the supernatural and gore elements in the game. We wanted Al-Khali to have a harsh, hyper-realistic and ethereal feel to it, so it would be an oppressive, and of course evil, other world.
JF: Disturbing at first, but then they grow on you as they take on a life of their own. He invests a lot of stock not only in the heroes, but in the villains. Each one must have a motivation and impetus besides just being “bad” after all, they were once people too!
There are very different time-periods in Al-Khali – how did you go about picking the theme for the art style for each one?
On a practical level we did a lot of research into the architecture of Middle-Eastern cities and how that architecture has changed over time, so we could take the most interesting aspects of those buildings to give our locations a sense of exaggerated realism. With the WW2 time slice, we took a ruined beauty approach, in that it shares an architecture style with our modern Al-Khali, but with even much more destruction. The destruction comes from the war itself and also because of the Nazi occupation and excavations. During the Crusader time slice, we included many domes and Arabic towers, and reflected the industry of the warped crusaders who inhabit this place – we have a lot of big, aggressive structures built directly on old walls and buildings. The Roman period takes on many of the features of classic architecture, like the pillars, vaults and arches but it’s unrefined, and edgier. Governor Vicus ran Al-Khali as a temple to his perverse personal vision of pleasure so the time slice represents a grotesque grandeur – helped by the sinister blood-soaked halls! The Sumerians time slice features the most pristine sections of the game, as this is where it all began.
JF: The monsters really sprang from Clive’s Mind. He passed us a lot of sketches with background information on each monster and boss which we worked to. We really wanted a realistic, visceral feel to our enemies, and with the power of next-generation consoles and PC technology, we were able to invest heavily in the visuals. So while we’re confident you won’t have seen any of the monsters before, many of them fuse ‘real life’ aspects into their bodies and many of the bodily details and textures came from a range of (often extremely gory) source material. We used a lot of photos of some pretty sick (but legal!) stuff and used a lot of horror films too. The project is very close to Clive, and he had ultimate sign off on the project, so if our realised monsters didn’t live up to his expectations, they wouldn’t go in the game. The results, we think, are spectacular and unique, and help make Jericho a unique looking shooter.
First off, thanks to the folks at Codemasters for these…disturbing…images, and thanks to Joe for taking the time to chat with us. Don’t forget to peek at the concept art at the bottom of this post.
If you still haven’t tried out Jericho, you can pick up the demo right here.