For Golden Week we have a week long special on the goldest game (in terms of color palette) from Square Enix. Jonathan Jacques Belletete, Art Director on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, had a candid chat with Siliconera about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the third game, which is actually a prequel to Deus Ex.
If there’s a lot of purple in Deus Ex 2: Invisible War, there’s a lot of gold in Deus Ex 3.
Jonathan Jacques Belletete, Art Director: Yeah.
Is there symbolism to that?
Absolutely. The palette of the game is black and gold. That’s really what we’re using. The way that it started is that I really wanted to have a color scheme that people could identify with and recognize and say this is Deus Ex, Deus Ex 3: Human Revolution or whatever. It’s like when you think about Assassins’ Creed, the first one, everything was white and blue. All of the marketing stuff was like that and the in-game was a lot like that too. It’s a bit of what I wanted to do. A lot of my good friends in Montreal’s industry worked on Assassins’ Creed and they did a really great job with the color palette. I wanted to do the same thing. One day I saw the black and gold thing, I think it was an image, maybe and ad or something. Then I said let’s do this.
The gold represents, you know, the Golden Era, the Renaissance, the cybernetics, the human side. Gold is an earthy tone, like gold is from the earth, right. The black is the dystopic side. Also, put together it’s a really rich palette that games haven’t really used yet. In-game, there are some games that have a bit of those colors in certain environments, when it’s a little brownish or whatever it kind of gets close to it. In terms of marketing and presentation it hasn’t been used.
I really want people that every time they see black with like gold or oak in front of it they’ll think oh man, that’s the palette of Deus Ex. And yes, in terms of symbolism the gold is the Renaissance and the black is the cyberpunk, dystopic stuff.
The costumes in the game seem inspired by the Renaissance. They’re very stylish, out there, and someone who may not have realized you’ve been working on Deus Ex 3 for awhile may even think they are Final Fantasy-like. Were you at all looking, being part of the Square Enix Group, other Square Enix titles?
It has nothing to do with that at all. You have to understand, we started working on this three years ago. Into my first month I had my concept of the cyber-Renaissance already. It wasn’t as figured out at that point as it was today, but that was way before the acquisition of Square Enix.
The entire aesthetics of the game, I want to make this really clear, and I’ll get back to the teaser afterwards because I have to give major props to Square Enix and Goldtooth. All of the ideas, the aesthetics of the game, the light and stylization, the cyber-Renaissance is entirely us. It was way before Square Enix arrived.
What happens is that a lot of at Eidos, me included, I’m a huge fan of the Asian aesthetics in games and everything. Not everything, but there is some stuff they do very, very well. In my own vision of what great video game art is, there are some variables of what the Japanese do. From the get go that is already how I work, some of the stuff I design. Maybe it had that feel already even though Square Enix was not even in the picture. In terms of the costumes, I think that the Japanese tend to blend a lot of eras in their characters and everything. Maybe that’s where the relation and resemblance is from, but there was no connection between me and them.
Yesterday, we talked about the past, how Deus Ex: Human Revolution connects to Deus Ex and if any elements of Deus Ex 2 were carried over. Tomorrow we’re going to focus on the teaser trailer and the stylized look of the characters.