In 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.



From 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 art).

In 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.

The 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.