To make a Halo game you need awesome concepts and ideas. Ideas for plot, concepts for game play and most importantly, ideas for for what the game might look like. It is the concept artist's job is to take some of those ideas and turn them into on paper visions which will then help shape the game.
If you want a real world example at how important this is, look no further than Ralph McQuarrie whose concept work for George Lucas is often cited as one of the key factors in the look of the Star Wars universe.
So making the of Halo: Reach needed lots of ideas for how things might look. This included the Elites, Covenant ships, weapons, landscapes, buildings and what our heroes might appear like. As a result of discussion, the artwork is revised and redrawn until everyone is happy.
Halo Reach has been released to an adoring fan base - this means there's a lot of Halo concept artwork lying around gathering dust so Microsoft has given all the artists permission to release their concept art for Halo to the internets. Here's a selection of that work and other Halo games from various blogs of the artists themselves.
First up is a selection from Jaime Jones. Here we have Jaime's initial sketch of the promotional art that was eventually released as part of the pre Reach launch. Rather than doing a full drawing, a rough outline was drawn up and eventually worked into the final you see below. Is that Jorge lurking in the middle ground?
The final concept art image from Jaime Jones is his vision of the Covenant fleet glassing the planet Reach.
|Your world is but glass?|
One of the artists who has released a lot of pictures to share with Halo fans has been Issac Hannaford. His picture of the Covenant bringing the rain while a soldier looks on, waiting for his chance, is pretty spectacular:
A lot of people will not know that Noble Team was originally going to be a team of 7, as Bungie was probably going for some kind of Seven Samuari vibe. Eventually the design was taken to go to a team 6, including the Lone Wolf so two characters were cut from the game's plot, Thom and Rosenda. She looked a bit too moody any way, probably wasn't a good team fit.....
|Emile, Carter, Rosenda, Kat, Jun, Thom, and Jorge.|
Here's a concept for some kind of crazy machine robot that never made it's way into Halo 3. Could it have been some kind of Sentinel? I doubt we'll never know....
Taking a slight detour from plant Reach to Earth and some ODST artwork by Steve Chon. Here's some of the Hive - it looks like it has the vibe that ODST producers were going for, cold and moody. It would appear to be an example of how critical the artist's vision is in helping shape the final game:
Dorje Bellbrook also was involved in some Halo concept artwork too. Here's a picture of some Spartans being deployed to the planet. If you think pack to the cut scene just before the Tip of the Spear level, you can see how this kind of art influences the end result. And as for the Elites, they just look evil!
|Elites from the Winter Contingency Level?|
Alex Chu is another artist who is notable for working on Halo. Can you spot the hidden spartan?
You may have seen Alex Chu's art before. It was Alex who designed the Game Informer cover which featured one of the first articles to really lift Bungie's skirt and reveal some detail about Halo: Reach.
And here's the wider canvas from which the above image was eventually drawn from.
While we are on a roll with the Halo artwork, we may as well keep going eh? Next up for your view pleasure is a landscape sketch by artist Ryan Demita. I think it looks like something that would be found on the Tip of the Spear level....
Of course it's not all Elites and space stations when designing games. The smaller in game things need love too. Here's Demita's version of a Covenant Vehicle Repair Lift:
Which reminds me of some more artwork design for the Engineers that featured in Halo: ODST. I think the Engineers were one of the coolest things to come out the entire Halo franchise. I loved reading the story of one in Joeseph Staten's Contact Harvest novel!
This design by Bungie's own in house artist Shi Kai Wang eventually became this little fellow:
Finally let's finish with this some concept artwork that Bungie released themselves. Unfortunately I cannot identify the actual artist's name. If you know, drop a note in the comments.