GDC 2017 in Retrospect

There's nothing revolutionary in saying that GDC is a whirlwind. It does, however, happen to be a true statement. Last week, the Concept Art House team hosted over 90 meetings, explored the expo floor, sat in on numerous talks, and attended dozens of networking lunches, dinners and parties, all in the pursuit to connect more deeply with you, our clients and partners. 

Virtual Reality continued to have a strong presence at this year's GDC. Passes to VRDC sold out long before conference doors opened. VR show floor exhibits traded in the startup vibe of two years ago for a level of slickness that rivaled the console and game engine booths. With Sony announcing better than expected sales of PSVR units, an Oculus price drop, and Khronos Group's open standard VR API stack, VR seems poised to have another exciting year

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Between the exorbitant cost of user acquisition and an increasingly crowded marketplace, mobile games prove difficult to excel in. Even given the challenges, exceptional developers continue to find success, and savvy funding arms are still hedging their bets on mobile gamers staying engaged. Futureplay and Gunslinger are two mobile games studios excelling during highly competitive times. Gunslinger's intricate mobile RPG and Futureplay's simply structured idle games are vastly different, but by looking to their success, we see that mobile markets are thriving and that mobile gamers continue to be hungry for new experiences. 

CAH for Injustice 2

CAH for Injustice 2

CAH for Injustice 2

CAH for Injustice 2

CAH for Injustice 2

CAH for Injustice 2

The use of well-known IP is a trend that remains hot in the era of costly user acquisition. NetherRealm's Injustice 2 is riding high with D.C. Comics and Jam City is standing out with Family Guy The Quest for Stuff. Glu and Scopely are also doubling down on IP. (Dice with Ellen has been topping the charts for weeks.)

Every year GDC gives us a look at what's ahead, and with GDC 2017 behind us, we're excited to apply what we've learned to our own business and to help you excel with yours. 

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Furby Connect: Flexible Marketing Art for Physical and Digital Play

Working on an up and coming mobile title,  forward-looking VR project or AAA console game is the norm around the Concept Art House office. Even with the diversity of projects we tackle on a daily basis, Hasbro threw us for a loop with a job a little out of the ordinary. Many of us remember the original Furby, the cuddly toy robot that "got smarter" as you played with it. Considering how many nightly newscasts touted stories of Furbys becoming fluent in second and third languages, it's safe to say that the original Furby was on many a Christmas list in 1999.

One of Concept Art House's marketing pieces for Hasbro's Furby Connect. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2015, Hasbro was readying the launch of Furby Connect. Like the original Furby, the more you play with Furby Connect the more it learns, but Furby Connect also wirelessly updates with kid-friendly pop-culture trivia and other fun surprises. With the Furby Connect World app, Furby Connect bridges the physical and digital worlds of play. If your Furby Connect becomes hungry, open up the app and feed them their favorite treat. Your Furby Connect needs to go to the bathroom?  Not a problem. The app has a solution for that too... 

Furby Connect going to the bathroom.

Furby Connect going to the bathroom.

Given Furby Connect's upcoming presence on toy shelves and in app stores, Hasbro had a lot of branded material to tackle for launch. Concept Art House was happy to help create flexible art assets that could be turned into splash screens, marketing material, box art and lots more; all in Hasbro's signature Furby style. Take a look at our work right at the top of the iTunes app store. 

Concept Art House's marketing work on display in the iTunes store. 

Concept Art House's marketing work on display in the iTunes store. 

And in Hasbro's official Furby Connect comercial. 

Furby Connect's launch was a big undertaking, but an exciting one. It brought up lots of nostalgia for '90s kids and introduced audiences everywhere to a new type of connected play. Here's CNET's and Gizmodo's review.

Hasbro turned to Concept Art House when they needed a large body of flexible marketing work. Together, our two teams combined our expertise to launch an innovative product and delight a whole new generation of Furby lovers. 

Our sketches, their paintings: how Boss Key leveraged CAH for LawBreakers

Packed with games industry legends, Boss Key Productions is a new game company hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina. There's a ton of excitement surrounding their first release, LawBreakers, and we’re pleased to say that Concept Art House had a hand in creating some choice character concepts.

Originally referred to as “The Brute”, Cronos was one of the first characters developed for LawBreakers and was a quasi-catalyst for what the game would eventually become. “He’s a tough guy who wears a mask,” was about all the direction Concept Art House's Art Director, KJ Yu, needed to start the first round of Cronos sketches.

First Concept Art House deliverable for the LawBreakers project - 7 possible directions for Cronos

With the initial direction selected (Boss Key chose option one) and with more of Cronos’ backstory fleshed out, KJ was able to layer additional details and nuance into the final deliverable.

Concept Art House's finalized Cronos sketch 

The Boss Key art team filled in the final details, added color and injected Concept Art House’s work with LawBreakers' signature attitude. Jay Hawkins' full-color Cronos painting and finalized “card” are truly stunning.

Boss Key relied on Concept Art House when they needed to ramp up production quickly. By working together and remaining flexible, our combined teams delivered a dynamic character that's sure to excite players for years to come.

Interested in knowing more about Boss Key's artistic process? Check out the vide below; cued up to where Jay Hawkins talks about Cronos. KJ’s sketches are even up on his computer screen during the interview.

From West to East: What studios must know before bringing their games to Asia

GamesBeat is a games industry event that never disappoints. This year’s conference was held in a small resort outside Los Angeles and - as always - drew some of the most influential executives and creatives in our industry. With fireside chats, panels and roundtable discussions, GamesBeat 2016 participants discussed the future and helped set the tone for ongoing gaming innovation.

Concept Art House’s own James Zhang was amongst the panelists on From West to East: What studios must know before bringing their games to Asia. The panel’s conversation started off strong diving into China’s ever changing gaming regulations, touched on the rise of mobile eSports, and progressed into the cultural differences driving player expectations and motivations. A quote from James seems to best sum up the conversation, “games are complicated, and China’s even more complicated.”

The full From West to East conversation and VentureBeat write up can be seen here, and even more GamesBeat 2016 footage here.

Concept Art House’s VR Work Shines at E3 2016

To all of you just getting back into the post E3 2016 swing of things, welcome back! The Concept Art House team had a great time in LA during this year’s festivities. An exceptional moment for us was getting to demo Ripcoil in Oculus’ E3 2016 show floor booth. 

Ripcoil is a Pong style, two person virtual reality game created by Sanzaru with visual concepts done by Concept Art House. The game is played standing up, with players navigating an expansive arena via hoverboard. Using the Oculus Touch motion controllers players throw, catch, and punch a virtual disk to score points and defend their goal in a one-on-one match. 

Concept Art House worked with the Sanzaru team to define the game’s art style, generated iterative sketches, and delivered final concept designs for Ripcoil’s characters, arena, and play disk. Below are just some of the character iterations we created for Sanzaru. 

First iteration of Ripcoil character sketches

First iteration of Ripcoil character sketches

Color rough of a Ripcoil character 

Color rough of a Ripcoil character 

Color render of a Ripcoil character

Color render of a Ripcoil character

Final Ripcoil character concept from four angles

Final Ripcoil character concept from four angles

It’s an honor to work on titles that are helping to define best practices for virtual reality game and visual design - and we aren't the only one's standing up and taking note of Sanzaru's upcoming VR title.

I Still Can’t Believe How This VR Game Tricked My Brain

Hands-On: ‘Ripcoil’ is Sci-Fi VR ‘Pong’ Meets Competitive ‘Tron’ Disc Throwing

Ripcoil is a Multiplayer Disc Battle for Oculus Touch, First Gameplay Videos Inside

Ripcoil is an Oculus Rift exclusive title, and will be available for consumers at launch of the Oculus Touch motion controllers. 

E3 2016 Bound

James, Sloane, Jason, Christina and Debra from Concept Art House's sales and business teams are headed to E3 2016. We'll be catching up with old friends, making new connections, and of course taking tabs on the latest art trends. Be sure to get in contact if you're in LA June 13th through 16th, we'd love to talk shop and to hear about your next project. 

We hope to see you there!

Headed to Nordic Games? So are we!

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Our Head of Intergalactic Sales, Sloane Earl, is in Sweden meeting with friends and partners at the Nordic Game Conference. Be sure to say “hi” if you see her. With flaming red locks and a 6 foot stature, she's hard to miss.

Or, contact us to set a meeting.

SLOANE EARL
HEAD OF SALES

Email:  sloane@conceptarthouse.com
Phone: +1 (484) 437-9711

 

 

 

Connect with us at DICE Summit 2016

Concept Art House will be at DICE Summit 2016 -- Feb. 16-18 in Las Vegas! Keep an eye out for Sloane Earl and Brooke Allison. They'll be meeting with friends and clients by day and hitting the parties by night. 

Contact us to set up a meeting with Sloane and Brooke in Sin City!

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SLOANE EARL
HEAD OF SALES

Email:  sloane@conceptarthouse.com
Phone: (484) 437-9711

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Brooke Allison
Account Executive

Email:  brooke@conceptarthouse.com
Phone: (503) 334-5521