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The Art of Free to Play: Viktor Antonov on designing Battlecry's beautiful world

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The Art of Free to Play: Viktor Antonov on designing Battlecry's beautiful world

We're told game design has to be unsentimental and iterative. But Viktor Antonov, creative director on Bethesda’s Battlecry and the celebrated artist of behind Half-Life 2's City 17 and Dishonored's Dunwall, disagrees.

“I come from a less experimental philosophy and a commitment to a strong concept," he said. “If you’re called by a client as an architect and you make a building, you won’t experiment and destroy buildings before it’ll function.

“Battlecry was a one-shot concept. It was very precise and it’s gone into production exactly as it was planned."

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What Dunwall's designer did next: Bethesda-backed multiplayer arena battler Battlecry

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What Dunwall's designer did next: Bethesda-backed multiplayer arena battler Battlecry

We’ve known for a good while that Bethesda had opened a new studio in Austin named BattleCry, to work on a free-to-play multiplayer game. We didn’t know what the game was called, but we probably could have guessed: it’s Battlecry.

Set in an alternate 20th century where gunpowder has been banned but gutting your opponent is a-okay, it’s a third-person competitive affair from Viktor Antonov: the world designer behind Dishonored’s Dunwall and Half-Life 2’s City 17.

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Dishonored art directors redesign London’s Shard skyscraper

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Dishonored art directors redesign London’s Shard skyscraper

Just as gaming’s best stab at New York lies not with Crysis 2 but in the profound greys of Liberty City, London’s finest digital incarnation is known by another name: Dunwall. Dishonored’s steampunk clock towers and dilapidated docklands are ripped straight from the capital - and what is Samuel the Boatman but a transplanted cabbie?

In acknowledgement of the game’s debt to the city, Arkane art directors Viktor Antonov and Sebastien Mitton have applied Dunwall’s aesthetic and thematics to real-life LDN skyscraper/obelisk The Shard. See the results after the break.

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Dishonored dev diary discusses the creative process, from concept to conclusion

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Dishonored dev diary discusses the creative process, from concept to conclusion

At times during this, the last Dishonored dev diary scheduled before its release into the wild, even the cameraman seems swept up by Arkane’s player-driven-gaming rhetoric. He jettisons framing conventions, instead crouching in the shadows behind the heads of Smith, Colantonio, Antonov and co. Film from any direction, or not at all. See parts of Harvey Smith’s skull the designer never intended.

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