Released back in spring Ubisoft Montreal's Child of Light possessed a uniquely gorgeous visual style that few, if any, have matched. In a talk at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) earlier this year, Creative Director Patrick Plourde discussed the journey from concept art to bringing the 2D RPG to life.
Plourde cites the artwork of illustrators Kay Nielsen, John Bauer, and Yoshitaka Amano (the last well-known for his Final Fantasy artwork) as overall inspirations for the soft, wispy look of Child of Light and its protagonist, Aurora. When asked if there had been any pressure to create a character and style that were more "bad-ass," Plourde, who also served as creative director for Far Cry 3, said there had been a little, but he believed the correct route to go matched with the original inspirations and the story that had been written:
At that point I wanted to have the character that was on paper represented onscreen, so it made no sense to turn her into a bad-ass. So that's the principle reason why it didn't work for me. Of course somebody can make a female bad-ass character; that's OK. But for this project, where we were, what was interesting for me, it just was connecting, so we kept going with something more delicate.
The full presentation has been made available for free viewing and can be found here on the GDC website. It's a fantastic session for those interested in artistic direction.
Much more recently, Plourde also spoke at the GameON: Finance conference in Toronto. According to Ploude, Child of Light's financial picture ended up just as rosy as some of its characters cheeks, the small team's game having made a profit for Ubisoft:
It's not as profitable as Assassin's Creed is profitable, but it's profitable enough that we would have been able to fund a sequel. Or if it had been my company, I would be driving a Ferrari and doing donuts.
According to GamesIndustry, Ubisoft has retained Child of Light's developers as a core team at its Montreal studio.