December 1, 2022

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As Dusk Falls graphics explained | Why is the art style so unique?

4 min read

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Now that As Dusk Falls is launching into the world, players will be jumping into the game and witnessing its unique art style and surprising graphics for the first time.

As we put it in our As Dusk Falls review, “the first thing you’re likely to notice about As Dusk Falls is its art style […] the game does not animate its characters in full. Instead, you see a series of hand-crafted still images that blend eye-catching backdrops with photographed actors and a few animated elements (e.g. a character’s hair might be blowing in the wind, but their mouth won’t move when they talk).”

Prior to the game’s launch, RadioTimes.com visited the developers Interior/Night at their snazzy London office, with the game’s visuals being one of the first things discussed on the day.

Perry Allen, 2D Supervisor on As Dusk Falls, took us through a series of slides where he described the game’s presentation as a “cinematic graphic novel”. He went on to say that “every frame a painting” was a mantra during production.

Allen also enthused over the lighting in the game, stating that the way a shot is lit can really “turn the emotion on” in a scene. It can also, in his words, “nudge your attention to the right place”. In a story-driven game where your decisions propel the narrative and your actions can get characters killed, these visual pointers can help you find your way.

After the presentations, we stopped by the desk of Kris Cho, Head of Cinematics on As Dusk Falls. He showed us how static photographs of the game’s cast have been dragged and dropped into lovingly-crafted environments, before being digitally enhanced with a Photoshop-like tool.

The unique art src of As Dusk Falls.

The unique art style of As Dusk Falls. Interior/Night

But why exactly was this art style chosen? We asked Charu Desodt, Production Director, if there were any particular external influences for this visual direction… or was it just a random spark of inspiration?

Desodt told us, “I think there’s a bit of both. The inspiration definitely came from Mike Bambury, our art director as well. And we were already coming away from the idea of 3D facial models, because we wanted to capture, like, real humans.”

She elaborated: “We wanted to capture all those nuances on people’s faces and the unintended facial expressions that we respond to as humans and observe immediately and understand. But it can be quite difficult to get that across with, you know, some of the other art styles available.

“And we found that this worked really well – it feels new, but within five minutes, a lot of people just get really used to it. And they fill in the blanks themselves, you know, alongside with the music and the audio, and the sound design. So there’s a lot of innovation in the way that we’re approaching the creative presentation of this game.”

Desodt added, “I think there’s space for all of these art styles. Just like you have different types of illustrations within books or different types of approaches to cinematography in film, or characters in TV series. I think art style within games should be as varied.

“We definitely wanted to have a very unique look,” she continued, “and something where you look at it, and you know it’s As Dusk Falls. So I think we’ve definitely achieved that.” That’s a statement we’d agreed with as well.

Telling us the exact intention behind the art style, Desodt also told us: “The intention was to support the script and the whole storytelling, of a very compelling mature crime drama, but with very human moments and intimate moments between people and characters that you’re playing.”

So there you have it. That’s why As Dusk Falls looks so unique!

As Dusk Falls launches 19th July on Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

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