In the first quarter of 2020, Vizlab Studios developed concept designs for the upcoming game Ember Sword. Bright Star Studios, the company behind the title, hired us to explore different parts of their world and we created a wide pallet of environmental concepts for their game.
Ember Sword is an adventure fantasy MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), set on another planet (or moon actually) in the future after a great catastrophe that sent the solar system back to the middle ages. This gives a great backstory for creating a mix of sci-fi and medieval environmental/architectural/technological exploration. This also posed the challenge of mixing the two genres without it becoming confusing.
We were tasked with fleshing out the world of Ember Sword and to create both concrete concept pieces they could use as a base for their development as well as creating inspiration for the team. By having regular meetings with the team where we got feedback and additional relevant information about the game, we quickly developed multiple concept designs for them.
Our approach was to be efficient and quickly figure out which areas to explore further and in which areas they just needed a few sketches. The first course of action was to go through their references, game design documents, moodboards and then set up a workshop with their team.
Then black and white thumbnails were created inspired by our research and talks to serve as a base to start iterating from. The team at Bright Star Studios would then give feedback and choose which direction to explore further.
Their world is divided into four regions, thus the work was divided into four parts as well, each area with a very different style, depending on the population and environment. Some thumbs were then further developed using 3D assets and colors, while others were kept as black and white sketches, for the time being.
A frozen and mountainous region, with an old crashed terraformer as a central hub. The still running core meant that this is the most warm and hospitable place in the area.
This region is a huge desert, where the people must trade and scrap old technology to survive. The center hub is a city entirely built from scrap
This region consists of a large lush forest, In the middle lies an academy, which is the hub for the intellectual people of Ember Sword.
This region has been corrupted and mutated by the celestial impact in the center. The molten rock has solidified into an alien structure which has been used as a foundation for the central hub city.
Finally we spend an additional few days to do a more focused concept piece of the main character entering a mine area, that Bright Star Studios could use as a promo shot, poster or on their website. This piece was based on an environmental concept design we developed earlier in the process.
By working closely with their team, we assisted Bright Star Studios in exploring their game’s world and produced several qualified concept designs for them to bring the development forward. While a lot of the sketches served purely as exploration we know that the more fleshed out pieces have been used extensively at their studio.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our work on Ember Sword. You can visit https://embersword.com/ to see more about the project.
We wish the team the best of luck in their development!