Vehicular destruction spectacular from Lucid Games
We brought everything we know about realistic hair and fur and applied it to what turned out to be twelve incredible grooms.
When video game characters have stylized hair, they typically end up with a static, Lego-like groom. The realistic approach, where individual strands of hair move and catch the light and sway in a breeze, goes straight out the window. Our work on the Sony Playstation title Destruction AllStars proves it doesn’t have to be that way.
We were asked by the developer Lucid Games to create stylized grooms for an unusual band of characters. At that early stage, the client had more questions than answers. There was concept art and film references, of course, but no one knew how these hairstyles should actually be realised in the game.
Scoping that out was a genuine thrill for our dedicated groom team. They are world-class professionals who hit the brief every time, no matter the ask. But as artists, they live for exploration and discovery. By being a bit out of the ordinary, these assets benefitted from the full force of our curiosity.
We took the strongest ideas forward in an exhaustive internal process steered by our art directors and facilitated by our exclusive design tools. We built these solutions from scratch when we were let down by software that just couldn’t meet the standard we were committed to delivering to our clients. So we made our own. Now, after more than a decade of upgrades to expand and refine their capabilities, these tools are extremely dynamic.
That doesn’t mean everything we tried worked out. One approach was too simplistic, another was too complex, and others simply didn’t resonate with the game world. Innovation is in our blood, but we had to try a lot of stuff before we managed to align the creative, technical and narrative elements in our designs. We pushed harder and eventually found what we were looking for.
We shared these pilot assets with the client in what was essentially a pitch. We weren’t pitching the assets, though, because Lucid Games came to us because of our reputation as groom specialists. They knew we could deliver high-quality work. They needed to see if we could think outside the box and contribute something original to their game. The assets we shared were very cool, but our process and what that said about us as a creative team sealed the deal.
It helped that we were genuinely interested in finding the best approach. As gamers, we know that hair can make or break a character. Badly designed hair is like a snag that catches on the player’s imagination and knocks them out of the immersive experience games strive so hard to achieve. To ensure the stylized look of these hairstyles supported the believability of the characters, we brought everything we know about realistic hair and fur and applied it to what turned out to be twelve incredible grooms.