Initial Art Direction

When coming up with the artstyle for our game, I had to consider the themes that our game idea was based on. Those were dolls and Frankenstein, and lucky for me we had already decided on Victorian England as a setting, so I had all the key influences I needed. One of the aims of our game is to create a sense of dread and unease. To accomplish that with the art direction, the visuals needed to reflect the darkness of the character’s actions and the general grittiness associated with Victorian London.

During the Victorian Era, London suffered from a population boom from about 1 million in 1800 to over 6 million a century later. While the rich were continuously profiting, building new developments and transforming the city into one we might recognise, many of the poor lived in overcrowded slums. The poor living conditions and number of people in close proximity strengthened the spread of disease meaning early death was not uncommon. We plan to lean into the more grim side of the era, especially because we plan to feature Victorian surgical practices quite heavily.

The chances of surviving post-surgery were so low that hospitals would often force patients to pay before their procedure. It’s kind of the perfect setting for horror because of the sheer number of people who died of medical malpractice just because doctors didn’t know germs existed yet. These doctors would proudly reuse the same bloody tools and many of them never attended medical school or even university. The doctor from Morbid Curiosities will not have a medical license, this should be reflected in the manner of tools he uses. I have to design his makeshift workshop (which is not an operating theatre and should not perform surgeries) to reflect our Doctor’s cluelessness and sudden change in career path, from doll repair to doctoring.

The Doll Hospital (the name of the Doctor’s shop), used to be used to repair dolls, but now that the clientele is coming to him fleshier than before the Doctor has had to pivot. The man has no idea what a germ is or what the correct procedure would look like. His tools should look blood-spattered and rusty, and he should wear gloves but not the correct sort. White cotton ones that get grimier the more events unfold. His inexperience should be inferred.

In terms of visual style, I plan on using a lot of thick black linework, moody colour palettes and grainy overlays. The world should look dark, and grimy with some of the elegance of typical Victorian design thrown in. I also plan on using a range of 2D and 3D assets.

Sam Bedson

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