Before a game can go from idea to fully realised, it needs some concept art along the way that’ll help sell the idea. It’s one of the most under-appreciated parts of game design today, and looking at the concepts that Matt Rhodes gave to Bioware for their Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, it should be criminal to undervalue these skills. See for yourself after the jump.
Looking at the art that Matt Rhodes released, it’s clear that we almost had a very different Mass Effect that was almost released. Just look at Sheperd and those cybernetic enhancements to get an idea of how different some of those concepts were. Or as Rhodes explained on his site:
This was a very, very early idea for Shepard. In this image he has been forced to turn to Reaper technology to accomplish his goals (*cough* Saren *cough*) and he’s being confronted by the new human Specter, Ashley.
As for my favourite character from the Mass Effect universe though, Rhodes had some different ideas in mind for Tali and her gas-mask anonymity:
The debate about whether or not to reveal Tali’s face was another one that lasted a long time. Versions of her were being worked on fairly often. These were three that I thought worked in their own way. Personally, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to push players to the edge. Tali was like a pen pal, or a friend you’ve only ever known online.
Depending on how attached to her a player was, how well could they handle her appearance challenging their expectations? If she looked a little too alien, just a little too repellant, would they still feel the same way about her? Or did her personality and your history together trump appearances? It’s an interesting area to explore and I hope we can find other ways to ask that question.
To me, this has always been (and always will be) Tali. This was drawn during ME1 when she was first being designed, and when her appearance under the mask wasn’t a big deal yet.
There’s a ton more art on his site, as well as some behind the scenes insight onto everything from Cerberus troopers through to Dragon Age tattoos. If you love some good art and what goes into making these ideas go from sketch through to 3D model, it’s well worth a read.
Last Updated: July 25, 2013
July 25, 2013 at 12:36
Very very cool!
July 25, 2013 at 12:39
I wonder how much of the games budget goes into this development, because this is not the sort of thing punched out quickly.
Admiral Chief Minion 47
July 25, 2013 at 12:43
July 25, 2013 at 12:53
Whoah, the Tali with hair looks awesome! I wouldn’t have minded if they used that version. 😛
July 25, 2013 at 12:55
Amazing, these artists deserve to be up there with the most famous
July 25, 2013 at 13:03
Man. I wish I could draw like this… 🙁
July 25, 2013 at 13:17
These art designers are really good and it is true that they are under appreciated. Another favourite of mine is Samwise Didier that does the artwork for Blizzard.
This is the reason why I try and get the Collector’s editions for AAA games, you almost always get an artbook with the game full of early concepts and designs.
July 25, 2013 at 13:25
I am about to dis Mas Effect for once so pay attention……Any version of Tali was better than the one we got.
That is all.