the summer of 2003, I relocated from Hawaii to San Francisco
to be Art Director on EA's Lord of The Rings: The Return of
the King video game. I took on the task of art directing the
game. During my time, the team grew from about forty artists
to a group of one hundred sixty.We had access to huge amount
of footage and image material from Weta Digital, which was,
on one hand, a great blessing and on the other quite a challenge,
considering that we had over 15,000 images of THE RETURN OF
THE KING to choose from.
FRONT-END CASE STUDY
the beginning, Neil Young, Executive Producer of the game,
wanted to create a three-dimensional space where the player
would see the entire game represented at one glance. The front-end
team, including myself, thought it would be an exciting idea
to replace the two-dimensional, horizontal flow chart of The
Two Towers game with a three-dimensional, vertical representation
of the levels. For me, it was imperative that we try to integrate
the Gondorian tree, the symbol of Minas
Tirith, into this space. The result became a room called
THE TOWER OF PROPHECY(production
this room, the whole story of The Return of The King is represented
in a fresco (fresco reference).The
fresco portrays a string of faded images which get restored
once each level is won (textureresearch).These
faded images were placed along three strings of roots connected
to the White Tree of Gondor (level tree).
Each root string represents the paths of Gandalf, Aragorn
and Gimli, as well as the paths of the Hobbits.
idea is that the further the player progresses in the game,
the more s/he "heals" the tree, unlocking the
seven stars upon
the tree and saving Middle Earth.