Video Games Are Art
What happens when you bring the creators of The Witcher, Alice: Madness Returns, Deadly Premonition, Braid, Dear Esther and Europa Universalis IV together to discuss their games and their creative inspiration? You get some truly great insights into the artistry of game development.
And that's exactly what we've done! The Digitally Downloaded team has an idea for a deluxe hardcover book about games as art, and we've got some of the greatest game artists working in the industry keen to participate in it, including;
- American McGee, Spicy Horse; American McGee's Alice, Alice Returns
- Jonathan Blow; Braid, The Witness
- Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, CD Projekt Red; The Witcher series
- Hidetaka Suehiro (aka SWERY65), ACCESS Games; Deadly Premonition
- Ed Key; Proteus
- Michael Samyn and Auriea Harvey, Tale Of Tales; The Path, Luxuria Superbia
- Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room; Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
- Guillaume Provost, Compulsion Games; Contrast
- Thomas Johansson, Henrik Fåhraeus, and Johan Andersson, Paradox Development Studio; Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV
- Nic Watt, Nnooo; escapeVektor
- Tamara Schembri and Peter Budziszewski, ToyBox Studios; Flowmo
- Neil Rennison, Tin Man Games; Gamebook Adventures, Fighting Fantasy gamebooks on iOS and Android
- Mike Bithell; Thomas Was Alone
"Video games can be art" is a statement that those of us who love games almost take for granted. In the last few years it's proven especially true; for every Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Hollywood-style blockbuster there is a game from a small or independent game studio that could easily form part of an interactive art exhibition.
While we accept that games can be art, we don't often treat them as such. In the media we focus on new features that are being worked into a new game, or getting insight into the technical side of game development from the game creators. Many reviews focus exclusively on how entertaining a game is, with little thought to its deeper meanings. The industry, in general, still does not treat game developers as an equivalent to film directors or writers. Filmmakers are seen as highly creative individuals and thinkers about their work, while game makers tend to be lauded instead as technically-proficient creators of entertainment.
That's where our project idea has come from! Interactive Canvas: Gaming Artists will be a deluxe hardcover, annual, coffee table-style publication that will give some of the most creative and artistic game developers an outlet to discuss the inspiration behind their games and the themes that they look to draw out of their work.
Who Are We
Digitally Downloaded (www.digitallydownloaded.net) has been an independent games publication since 2010. From the outset we've been focused on the artistry and creativity of the games industry, and we've looked to engage with games as something more than simple entertainment. A major part of what we do is to interview the most prominent and creative game developers working in the industry. In 2013, for example, we ran interviews with David Cage, Yosuke Hayashi, Suehiro Hidetaka, and Ted Price.
Games matter to us. It's great when a game is fun to play, but as an emerging and commercially-important entertainment industry, the games industry has the potential to become as culturally important as film, literature, dance and theatre. For that to happen, it's important that there are high quality publications that look at the deeper themes within games.
Guillaume Provost (Compulsion Games) on the book:
What We Are Looking To Do
We're looking to Kickstarter to finance the first issue of The Interactive Canvas. It will be launched in July 2014 as a 200+ page glossy, full-colour, premium quality book filled with detailed interviews and features about games, art, and the development of the games industry; far beyond the scope of what is typically possible when running a day-to-day website.
A key part of the book will be in-depth, multi-page interviews with a diverse range of game developers from around the world. And we've had a great response from everyone that we've approached to participate in the project among the developer community, as it will give them a unique opportunity to talk about a different and more personal side of game development.
- Inon Zur (Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Dragon Age, Prince of Persia)
- Jesper Kyd (Assassin's Creed, Borderlands, Hitman, State of Decay)
- Olivier Deriviere (Remember Me, Of Orcs and Men, Assassin's Creed IV Freedom Cry)
- Mark Morgan (Wasteland 2, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1&2)
- Peter McConnell (Broken Age, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time)
- The retainer to recruit a freelance designer for a couple of months (~$10,000)
- The production, editing, and printing of the book itself (~$15,000),
- The cost of sending it to all the backers (at over 1 kilogram in weight, shipping for this book is, amusingly enough, the most expensive part of the project, and will cost us ~$22,000).
- Kickstarter fees account for around 8% of the total amount of pledges
- A small kitty for incidental expenses - the usual unexpected costs that come up with a project of this scale.
Risks and challenges
If we hit our funding target then the book will be printed; we have been meticulous to ensure that we've costed the project properly. Of course there is always the potential that production deadlines will be pushed out in this industry, and the July delivery will become August or September, but the book will happen.
Our only concern would be that a game developer that has said that he/ she is happy to participate in the project is no longer available due to looming production deadlines or the like, but we have mitigated this concern by allowing for a three month window with which to complete interviews.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)