Blizzard Entertainment has been releasing amazing games for over 20 years now. Their mantra of “we’ll release the game when it’s ready” has flown in the face of the rest of the industry’s desire to pump out material as fast as possible. Their “big three” of Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo are massive financial and critical successes with millions of copies sold worldwide. World of Warcraft alone has a consistent player base of over 10 million, and is the industry standard for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG). It’s success is so great that when a new MMO comes out, the first question is; Is this the WoW killer?
Video games are a very visual medium and Blizzard is releasing The Art of Blizzard on January 29th. The book showcases the company’s two decades of work; bringing fantasy to life.
Official description from Amazon;
Over the past two decades, Blizzard Entertainment has had a tremendous impact on the world of games and global pop culture. From its humble beginnings as a three-person console-game development studio in 1991 to the creation of the blockbuster Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard has a history of crafting stunning worlds of science fiction and fantasy. The company’s distinctive gameplay and storytelling styles have captivated an international audience numbering in the tens of millions whose passion cannot be quelled.
Twenty years after Blizzard opened its doors, the company’s World of Warcraft® boasts the title of the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and the studio is widely recognized as one of the leaders in creatively driven game development.
An epic volume of art and behind-the-scenes insights, The Art of Blizzard® celebrates the studio’s genesis by examining the creative forces behind these games and showcasing their artistry through more than 700 pieces of concept art, paintings, and sketches. Commentary on the art is provided by Blizzard Entertainment’s own Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen, who’ve each played important roles in shaping Blizzard’s game universes over the years.
In celebration of the books launch, Blizzard is hosting an art exhibit at Gallery Nucleus through February 3rd. The Exhibit is $5 at the door, or free if you come dressed in a costume. There are over 50 pieces of art ranging from sketches dating back to 1995 to a life-size replica model of Thrall’s hammer (see the gallery below).
We attended the premiere night on Saturday and were able to preview the art and speak with Nick Carpenter, Vice President of Art and Cinematic Development (video below). It was a great event made complete with Warcraft themed refreshment; Darkmoon Donuts, Health Potions (non-alcoholic), and Mana potions (with alcohol).
The book itself is an impressive tome. When I first heard the suggested retail was $75.00 (online you can find it ranging from $45-$50) I initially balked at the price. However, when we actually saw the book we were struck by it’s impressive size and detail. It is 376 pages of Blizzard bliss. Showcasing not only the amazing art you would expect from a book of this magnitude, but also giving us a peek behind the curtain. The book is full of stories and jokes from the artists regarding the art detailed within. From funny collaborations to intense debates surrounding a certain image or art direction, the book brings a nice layer of personal touch. Chris Metzen set out to create the definitive art book for Blizzard and wanted to make sure he stayed true to that ideal. Taking care not to turn this “art book” into a “history of Blizzard”. Hopefully that book isn’t terribly far behind.
Check out our interview with Nick Carpenter, Vice-President of Art and Cinematic Development;
Check out our gallery of images below to see what Blizzard has in store for you at the gallery. If you are in the Los Angeles area you should check it out. For $5 it is definitely worth the price of admission. The Nucleus Gallery is a nice venue and the pieces that are on displayand in the book for that matter are a nice mix of all three games. So don’t feel like you will be left out if you only play one or two of the titles. One of the patrons I spoke to at the event only played World of Warcraft, but her favorite pieces were from Starcraft, and I go the impression she would soon be checking the game out.
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