SEGA Europe

Concept Art & Visual Direction

SONIC & SEGA Allstars Racing was a huge success for SEGA Europe and now the publisher was looking to expand the game with alternative vehicles.  Flying and boating were obvious additions and it wasn’t long before SUMO Digital were able to demonstrate just how huge a change this would make to the experience; during development the worlds were literally open to roam in, transforming the vehicles at the touch of a button (in the final game this was limited to when the player passed through a transform gate).  The big challenge from an artistic point of view was how do we ensure that the vehicles are even better than those we had seen in the first version; a Japanese design company had designed the first set of cars in ASR, this time we were looking to create them with the development team for a closer cohesion between the games design and the visuals.

Sonics Vehicle(s)

This is was probably my largest project in the game; Sonics Vehicle was started by the developer Sumo, then I contacted Scott Robertson to help with the base shape and then I took it over to produce this prototype render, Scott’s front end stayed pretty much as it was, but I redesigned the rear end, discussing all the time with the producers and IP holders in Tokyo, finally Sumo did a thorough cohesion pass on it (and rebuilt it to work in game) and we were done!  The hardest part was the main car mode and then the plane mode; boat mode came pretty naturally.

This video was produced by Marza Studio, a film department and subsidiary of SEGA SAMMY Corporation.  I created a story board and worked together with the associate producer to help the production team develop the animation of the vehicle transforming. 

Bespoke Character Accessories

At SEGA every IP has its own custodian back at SEGA Japan, historically we knew that Space Channel5 was a tough brand to design for,  with Ulala we began with a number of concepts exploring past vehicles and how they could adapt but these didn’t seem to achieve the approval of the owner.  Inspired by other futuristic bikes I created a three wheeled car/trike in a sympathetic shape to Ulala, the owner was very pleased and the boat and flying machine were natural extensions of this design.

Weapon Designs

Later in development and after several iterations of weapons for the game, we were no further with a clear design for the battling gameplay, Sumo had created several destructive ‘forces’ but we needed a theme to dress them with – this would provide the important ‘fun’ element.  All involved were divided in the direction between a coherent theme and a more abstract or wacky selection.  With the help of Atomhawk We eventually plumped for the wacky selection and during this process I produced a few odd weapon icon concepts which would appear on the games HUD, these were later redesigned as part of a final coherence pass.

Marketing Renders

When featuring characters in marketing material or as part of the menus in a game, it is important to take the game asset and prepare it properly for a suitable image; if the developer doesn’t have high res character art as part of the pipeline then upscaling game assets requires detailing, composition and lighting.  For humanoid models we pose in the 3D programme and then take these into Z-brush and add detail and form to improve the pose, then we position it in a suitable lighting environment and adjust the light rig and materials until we are happy; it takes a few days, but the results are well worth it!