DmC: Devil May Cry™
Developer Ninja Theory approached Atomhawk to help solve a number of key userinterface challenges. The first challenge was to help wrap a visual design narrative around a game that has always encompassed heavy use of statistics and information-heavy UI screens. We needed to design a front end and game completion screens that flowed seamlessly and incorporated the game's iconic "street art" visual influence.
Secondly, for the in-game UI, we were tasked with creating a monochromatic street art look that relied heavily on animation and VFX to convey information.
Early Front End Style Exploration
The game featured demonic CCTV and so our initial thought for the visual narrative was to place the front end screens around an abstract city that is constantly watched by red-eyed cameras. (above)
Later this idea was scrapped due to the additional time needed to build the 3D scenes to project the front end only. Instead we focused on a front end journey that moved along just one location, a graffiti covered wall. The different front end screens would be projected over street art sprayed on walls, windows and shop fronts. As the player moves through the screens, the camera pans along the wall. (below)
Certain parts of the wall would also feature 3D objects that represented achievements and powers gained through the game. This blend of 2D UI and physical 3D elements would work really well with the camera panning transition between the different parts of the street wall that represented the front end menus.
Powers could also be bought with the orbs that the player had collected in-game.
The final pass in the design stage was to simplify the concept down to be achievable within the time constraints and so we opted for a cleaner wall that had less geometry in order to reduce production time.
In-Game HUD Design
The art direction for the in-game HUD (head-up display or Status Bar) was for us to produce a minimalist and monochromatic look in keeping with the street art theme. The challenge here was that going monochromatic would limit the amount of data we could convey to the player through colours. Our solution was to use animation and VFX to convey a number of events in the UI. We used paint splashes, camera shake and chromatic aberration effects, with the final UI taking inspiration from Banksy's stenciled works of art.