Today we conclude our overview on the pre-production artworks created for Furmins. With us, Housemarque’s Lead Artist Mikko Eerola. If you missed the previous episodes, find them here, here, and here.
For the last part of the interview we featured at the top the image of a sea. What can you tell us about it?
This is another example in our quest to find the right look for Furmins. The previous painting was a bit too texture-like, and this one was, in my opinion, too realistic. It does have some of the same colors as some Romantic-period paintings, but it’s not yet close enough to make the connection in people’s minds.
Let’s move on to these variations on Furmins themselves. What was wrong with these earlier models?
Well, their eyes all have different backgrounds. It just comes down to contrast, and focusing on what is clearly visible, because the Furmins aren’t very big creatures and so in the end, less detail was better. At first I sort of liked this middle one and its black pattern, but then somebody said that it looks like a black bra and I was completely ruined – I couldn’t look at it without seeing that comparison (laughs).
Next up is “Waterfall Ruins”.
Here I was getting quite close to the final look of the game. This image has the sort of mountains that don’t look that realistic, but still retain the dramatic lighting of the old paintings. It was around this time that we were deciding on the details of the story – when we started talking about a dry river, designing a massive waterfall wasn’t going to work, and so I dropped this idea soon after.
And this yellow mountain was your first attempt at depicting the world, right?
Yes. Even though I really like this picture, it doesn’t provide much opportunity to go into the scenery and explore more details. It’s one of the images I tried to save, along with the other image I mentioned earlier, but I had to kill it – though I can still look at it sometimes, and weep silently.
This sketch is dated September of 2008, and features an Asian style. What can you tell us about it?
Uhm, that’s a hard question. So much time has passed since then.
Ok, let’s focus on details: what was the motivation for designing a white character (shown in the bottom right-hand corner of the image)?
That was part of the previous goal of the game. The Furmins were sort of like these hungry characters, and if they got too hungry started eating each other.
That sounds horrible!
Yes. It was sort of violent.
And lastly, this background image. It might not tell much but it was somehow important.
This was done around the time of my transition from Outland to Furmins, which was not such an easy jump to make. I had to do a few simple images to get in the mood of working in a completely different environment.
Outland had really strong colors.
Yep, and Furmins is the complete opposite of that. There are practically no silhouettes, and everything is low contrast – as opposed to Outland, which is really high-contrast all over the place. I tell you, sometimes it’s like doing visual Yoga here (laughs).