Back Alley Brawler in-game illustration, portraying the punch-first-ask-questions-later Melee class.
With the launch of CITY OF HEROES FREEDOM, we took the opportunity to refresh the game in all sorts of ways: new tutorial, new character creator, new store, new monthly content, new starting missions and--most importantly for me--an entirely new 2D style for both in-game and marketing assets.
Previously, Paragon had used highres 3D models for this purpose, but because they cost a ton of time and resources to make, and because we wanted a fresh new 'face' for the game, we introduced a semi-realistic concept style in a number of places including the character creator UI, the comic that precedes the new Tutorial, covers for the monthly Signature Stories, and of course the marketing.
This was one of the biggest paradigm shifts of my career--a moment where I had to try something completely different and new and unlike anything I'd ever attempted in comics. Our game's always been presented as mature and classy in its front-facing artwork, and we needed to carry that forward. (A few failed experiments with a traditional comic style proved as much.) So we went for a photo-sourced Alex Ross-meets-digital paint kind of vibe.
Took a little practice to figure out the completely new methodology, but I'm incredibly happy that things worked out as they did. I'm learning a ton artistically, and I think the new style's been a great 'fit' for the game as well. Win-win all around.
The Playstyle images represent my first forays into the new style, and it's only getting better from here.