Thrashing, mad, metal: the art of Double Fine's Brütal Legend

Though it's nearly impossible to find a tidy way to sum the work of LucasArts adventure vet and Double Fine head Tim Schafer -- with a catalog that ranges from de los Muertos noir to deep-psyche introspec-/explora-tion and now to a heavy metal heaven/hell (depending on your attitudes toward the genre's aesthetic) -- one undeniable trait rings consistently true through all. Schafer and his stellar team of artists and writers know character, and put character above all, a philosophy that lets players navigate some of gaming's most preposterous landscapes and peculiar conceits always feeling entirely grounded by the essential humanity around them. Nowhere is that more evident than in the ancient Rock realm to which you travel in Brütal Legend: an epically monumental world inspired by the stormily apocalyptic vistas of classic metal album covers, now fully explorable and brought fantastically to life by the Bay Area studio. And so, following the short trailer below that gives you a taste of how Legends's world would eventually form: a look at the original conceptual design behind those vistas, and especially the characters that inhabit them -- every bit as instantly recognizable (in their leather and spikes, worn-through denim and low-top All Stars) as they are awesomely ridiculous -- from Double Fine artists Scott C, Peter Chan, Nathan Stapley, Levi Ryken, Razmig Mavlian, and Mark Hamer.
The characters:
01_Baron.jpg 02_BattleNun.jpg 03_FireBaron.jpg 04_Runaway.jpg 04_Bouncer.jpg 05_Crowley.jpg 07_Headbanger.jpg 08_LitaPose.jpg 09_Ophelia.jpg 10_StackMarshals.jpg 11_treeback.jpg
The vehicles:
00_ElectricChairHotRod.jpg 01_OrganHotRod.jpg 02_ScreamWagon.jpg 03_TourBus.jpg
The environments:
00_TitanMonument.jpg 01_Lounge.jpg 03_NightmareTree.jpg 03_Bridge.jpg 04_TireRoad.jpg 05_Vista5.jpg 06_Cathedral.jpg 07_Mountains.jpg 08_IronHead Village Equipment.jpg
And finally, how it all comes together:
09_Beast01.jpg 10_Beast02.jpg


    1. I want to at least watch someone play through this. Metal isn’t my style either, but it looks like this is a wonderful mix of taking the symbols of the genre just seriously enough while keeping tongue firmly in cheek; that kind of affectionate parody usually results in a good story. And yes, keeping it character-centered is _tremendously_ valuable in letting the player feel directly involved in the game.

      Of course the cinematic trailers are not necessarily representative of gameplay. But this comes across as something I actually wouldn’t mind paying a few bucks to see in a theater.

    1. I don’t think I’d call Children of Bodom, Rotting Christ, and Mastodon ‘sad old dadrock.’ The soundtrack for the game, as well as a lot of characters and landscape designs are really very diverse. They’re showing a lot different genres of metal here.

    2. Hey man, the sad old dadrock as you call it may be the roots of a lot of stuff you are listening right now. Without bands like black sabbath, led zep, maiden, metallica, motorhead, slayer…etc.. a lot of the modern rock bands, electronic acts, etc.. wouldn’t sound as they sound today. Just take for example daft punk or Justice, the influence is evident.
      You just didn’t listened to the right stuff.

  1. Well that certainly is nice to look at, but is it possible BB could set up some kind of ‘after the jump’ feature that prevents the entire post from showing up in an RSS reader, at the author’s discretion? So a couple of images and a link to follow for the whole deal? Because this is a big, long old page.

    I love seeing what would previously be Offworld stuff showing up in the main feed, by the way. This request is purely from a practical (personal) perspective.

    Actually having just visited, the post does appear with a ‘read more’ link there, but that isn’t carried over to the RSS feed. Sorry to go on and all.

  2. Usul, if we start jumping the RSS feeds then we’ll get ragenerdsign the likes of which god has never seen.

    (It’s a good idea!)

  3. I really really really really REALLY wanted this game to be good. After this man’s history with Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango I was rooting for him.

    Sadly, this game suffers from severe genre schizophrenia. It wants to be an RTS, but it also wants to be hack and slash. Play it for yourself before you take my word, but believe me, if you can block out the frustrations of gameplay, it really does look pretty.

  4. Had a great time playing this game, but I recommend renting.
    If you end up liking the RTS battles go ahead and buy – otherwise, you’ll get the awesome single player experience in about a week.

  5. The game does have some flaws, but manages to succeed in spite of them.

    I think it’s the most entertaining game I’ve played since Portal. It’s always fun, largely because the environment is so brilliantly conceived.

  6. Great concept art. It’s like Danzig meets Metalocalypse meets Devil May Cry meets Guitar Hero meets Low-brow art meets tattoo parlor.

    I played the demo, and it was fun, but I can’t see a frequent gamer liking it for the game play. I really wanted the charater to be able to jump, and do more acrobatic attacks. The tone and visuals put me in the mood for Devil May Cry, and the characters in that game are badass and acrobatic.

    If you want some truly mindblowing visuals, and really satisfying gameplay, check out the new Ratchet & Clank game that game out yesterday. It’s like playing inside a Pixar movie.

  7. This game is a lot of fun to watch, and I was constantly delighted by it. Unfortunately, the BF finished it in a week, which was disappointing. Still, as entertainment, we got something like 30 hours out of it, which means it was WAY cheaper than a movie, nowadays. :D

  8. This game was an EPIC rental. I can’t recommend it enough – if you know what you’re getting into with the gameplay.

    But the visuals, and the sound, were so incredibly good, I can’t help but want more. They really took a concept and ran with it to an amazingly impressive degree.

  9. “No butt crack is better” on the battle nun? These guys don’t know what they’re talking about!

    I usually prefer my metal to be completely humorless, but I might make an exception for this game. It looks great! Now if only someone would make a game about Gallhammer, the grim band of Japanese black metal doomster girls, then I would be happy.

  10. “wow. when did the comments section of BB become populated with a old dad bot?”

    Girlfriend, you really wanna make my heart bend, ya know, you’ll always be my best friend…

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