Ballistic has a reputation of publishing high quality art books of many forms of media. Earlier this year they published the successful Art of Uncharted 2 art book, which featured all kinds of concepts from the games development. Now Ballistic has teamed up with Sony Santa Monica to publish Art of God of War III to show off all kinds of art work for arguably the best looking game of 2010. I managed to get my hands of a copy thanks to Ballistic and I can tell you that it is an amazing asset to own if you appreciate the visual presentation of today's games.
There are three different versions of this book you can purchase, each is a little pricey but it's more than worth it if you appreciate what these teams go through to bring us these quality video games. The three versions which will be made available next month include a paperback edition ($65.00), a special edition ($129.00) and a limited folio edition ($300).
The book starts off with some testimonials from Daniel Wade (Ballistic), Stig Asmussen (Game Director of God of War III) and Ken Feldman (Art Director of God of War III) in which they enlighten us on the experiences of bringing the game to life through art. Reading the testimonials sets the mood before you begin to be blown away by the visual concepts throughout the book. The book then starts off by showing off the storyboards used to be a visual representation of how each scene will play out. Cecil Kim the lead visual development artist speaks on the challenge of communicating ideas for the game through the visuals created in the storyboards. As an example they display the storyboards for the fight between Kratos and the titan Cronos. The storyboards show how they came up with the idea of Kratos taking out the titan by targeting certain weak spots on different parts of the giantls body. The storyboard pitch shown was actually changed in the final version of the game, so it's wonderful to see how the concept was in the artists mind originally.
The book is intent on showing the beholder concepts that did not make the final cut in God of War III. The art book is full of these unseen concepts, and to make sure you are aware that you are seeing something not included in the game Ballistic brands them with a red God of War symbol. Some of my personal favorite unseen concepts are the Hades face zbrush model and the Pandora variations.
Aphrodite is one of my favorite non playable characters in the game, for obvious reasons. For those that don't know you have the option of engaging in a sex mini game with Aphrodite. The book shows off how they designed her character model, showcasing just how much they focused on her proportions in great detail. Aphrodite is described as the perfect woman, so they made sure she looked completely desirable. The book is indeed not shy about showing some mild nudity. You will see a couple female characters including Aphrodite, tits included.
Other artistic areas showcased throughout the book include marketing art, weapon concepts, prop concepts and environments. Much of the second half of the book is dedicated to showing off all the environments and the thought process behind them. It is great to see them explained in detail as there are things easily missed during the game due to the constant action.
Overall I am enthusiastic on recommending this book to all the passionate God of War fans out there that enjoyed the game. After owning this outstanding piece of work, I am eager to pick up the Uncharted 2 volume. I understand that an art book may not be an ideal thing for everyone to want to purchase. However if you are an aspiring artist, or interested in seeing how a great looking game like God of War is brought to life, or if you just appreciate artwork; The Art of God of War III is something intriguing to invest in. Examining this book in detail will only make you appreciate how much dedication Sony Santa Monica (and all game studios for that matter) put into crafting these works of art we know as Video Games.
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