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Expeditions: Rome - Dev Diary #4 - Visual Style

by Silver, 2021-07-14 23:50:10

The latest dev diary for Expeditions Rome focuses on its visual style.

Ave! Today we have a special, fun treat for our 4th DevDiary. Up till now, we’ve been talking about game mechanics, story, and characters, but in each of these posts we’ve been showing off cool concept art and beautiful screenshots. For DevDiary 4, we’re going to be focusing on the Visual Style we’ve been building for Expeditions: Rome. Since the game is so big, we’ve decided to focus on the challenges we faced in recreating the environment of North Africa in ancient times specifically.

We consider the Expeditions series of games to be a kind of historical fiction in game form - a fictional story and series of unusual dramatic events set within the framework of real-world history. This means that while the narrative and the events of the game can be entirely fictional, we always try to keep it grounded, and if not realistic per se, within the boundaries of historical plausibility. We try to never go too far, too over the top, or create elements that are truly fantastical.

This was also the basis for the artistic vision of the game. The previous game in the series ‘Expeditions Viking’ represented a step up in visual quality for us, and when we started work on the project that would become Rome, improving the visuals of the game was on top of our list. The basic overall concept was the same; we wanted to create an exciting and appealing visual representation of the adventures and exploits of legendary generals and explorers, that will be perceived as authentic and immersive, but without being subjugated to absolute historical accuracy.
Creating this kind of authentic historical setting in a top-down computer game, which is inherently unrealistic in nature, is a core challenge of working on Expeditions: Rome. Compromises had to be made, but we always aimed at making the visual design naturalistic and grounded - enhanced with a measure of stylization and idealization, but not fantastic exaggeration. Stylized pseudo-realism, if you will.

One of the visual aspects that seem quite common in historical games is that they tend to overall not be very visually exciting, but instead rather drab, or even colourless. It is as if visual blandness equals realism, and this is something we wanted to avoid at all costs. We wanted our game world to appear as vibrant and appealing as any fantasy setting; something that will excite and immerse the player and make them want to explore our world. In Expeditions: Viking we were fairly strict about historical accuracy, but in Rome we have loosened up on that a little bit to make room for more of the fantastic and extraordinary.

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Thanks Farflame!

Information about

Expeditions: Rome

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Historical
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development


Details