Once upon a time obtaining ‘Art Of’ books was a nightmare, usually having to import them from Japan at ridiculous cost. Of course, this means a lot of Western games were overlooked and the reams of concept art were consigned to crappy, tiny A5 books that came with limited editions. If you were lucky.
These days that’s not the case, with book publishers snapping up game rights to put all that glorious behind-the-scenes processes for us to feast our eyes on, while we lament that we’ll never be a fifth as talented. One of the finest of these publishers is Dark Horse. Usually with a Dark Horse published book you’re in for a seriously high quality treat, and The Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition is no different.
It’s absolutely bloody lovely. I mean, most art books are lovely, but the detail and breadth of processes shown is gorgeous.
One of the great things it shows is the intricacy to detail that you can’t really appreciate when you’re playing the game. Sure, you look around the world and go “This is gorgeous. I like her armour. That looks cool.” but the processes behind the look of the armour aren’t apparent until you see them break it down into the layers that make it up. The variations of the armour for each faction and the characters is extensive as well. It’s always wonderful to see what could have been.
The explanations behind the design decisions sometimes leave you wishing there was a bit more text in the book to give you more insight into the influences and flow of process (especially into the characters), but the book is massive and packed with designs from tiny things like helmets and scabbards, to the stained glass in various buildings which you may not notice when tramping around the cities, to massive double page environmental studies.
There’s a ridiculous amount of work in here and it shows that the worlds Bioware build are born of an incredibly talented team with an abundance of imagination and attention to detail that many developers don’t (or can’t) match.
VERDICT: Absolutely YAY.