Hi everyone, Alex here with an update on Alice: Asylum pre-production work.
With so many moving parts on this project at any given time, there’s always a lot we can cover.
Having spoken to American this morning (Update: he’s doing well and kicking butt, he’s still just wildly busy), we’ve got a lot to share with you all.
Heads up. Spoiler-y artwork update at the end of the post.
Firstly, Joey has just submitted a final illustration for rounding out the level design for the boss encounter with Bill the Lizard.
This is the beautiful opening image for this post above.
With Joey’s work, I find it fascinating how it can be dreamlike, nightmarish, distorted, but still retain a child-like innocence simultaneously. Her execution and style in her art speak volumes of her talent.
We’re lucky to see her process below here too. From loose initial lines, through to final artwork.
I’m sure you’ll agree, she’s nailed the atmosphere and design of Bill’s den. Let Joey know how you feel about her work in the comments.
Next up, we’ve got some early concept sketches of the Liddell Family from Adam.
A young Alice, her older sister; Elizabeth, (“Lizzie”), and Alice’s Mother gather around the aftermath of a mishap resulting in Alice unintentionally hurting herself. They also thoroughly yeet the family tea-set.
Without getting into heavy spoiler territory, memories of Alice’s family members are further explored in Asylum, intentionally deeper than ever before. If you want to brush up on this scene and explore some of Alice’s past, it can be read in the Narrative Outline, (pages 52-55).
For now, marvel in Adam’s sketch work. His use of body language is excellent. Effectively communicating the pain in Alice, the warmth in Lizzie, and the mixed emotion in Alice’s Mother.
We’re actively discussing this scene and working on it between Adam, Omri and Myself, so if you have any feedback for us to consider, now is the time. Please be cool and considerate with spoilers in the comments if you’ve read the story.
Also from Adam and Omri, here’s a Chaos Clock prop design that was submitted recently.
Individual prop designs like this are useful in establishing aesthetic and recurring assets in the game-concept art. This was based on original designs way back from American McGee’s Alice (2000).
Personally, I’d like the Chaos Clock in Asylum a little darker in aesthetic to match the early 2000 era vibe… but that’s basically me being a broken record on this project. I like my concept art with teeth. Literally and figuratively. “Make it darker” is my thing.
However, it’s important we balance those sharp edges with the beauty, wonder, and whimsy we expect from Alice’s broken Wonderland. The benchmark I feel is; “Make sure it looks like it could rip your face off. And also make sure it can be framed, admired, and hung up in a beautiful high-end art gallery”.
Those needles sometimes sway more in one way than the other, but if there’s a healthy mix of both, and other visual counterpoints that help strike that balance, we’re in good territory visually for Asylum.
The Chaos clock is intended to be a clear visual cue of the Shadow manifesting in Wonderland. Showing both the level of corruption across the world and the time left before everything is consumed.
It’s our Doomsday Clock. We might have more work to do on this one to communicate those elements, but I think it’s a great start.
What about you? Weigh in if there’s any feedback we should consider on this one.
This concludes our “Spoiler-Free” section of the artwork review.
Scroll below to get into the spoils.
Adam and Omri have turned in an updated pass on the fate of everyone’s favorite scientist. Not yet finished, but it shows the process of our selected scene choice.
We went with Option C. and worked on Rabbit’s pose to match Alice’s.
However, based on the feedback we received in the threads on the earlier Patreon post, we are going to show Hatter struggling and fighting more against the Chaos at the base of this image.
We don’t expect it to go too well for the old boy, and the end result of Hatter’s struggle against Chaos will be further communicated in the next pass. Stay tuned. We’re about to get gruesome.
Anything to run past us? Drop it in the comments.
We’re keeping a close eye on all open communication channels, and it was great to see such a large level of engagement from our community in the last few posts. Your feedback helps guide our decisions and the actions we take as a team, so keep it coming.
The next update will be a doozy, (I’ll be literally drafting it up as soon as I send this one off) so we’ll all chat again soon.