As promised here’s a closer look at the creation of the Civ 5 front of box. We had about a month and a half from concept to completion.
On the Rokkan side there was myself, Charles (ECD/Lead Artist) and Matt Burniston (CG Director). On the other side we had creative and product leads from 2K, and Trailer Park who created the leader renders. Rokkan’s job was to come up with concepts and composite the final illustration.
Structurally 2K decided the box would be an O-card – PC game boxes that open up in the front. Instead of creating different panels for each part of the box, we wanted to create a seamless piece (front to back) that would encapsulate the history of mankind from medieval times, through industrialization, and finally to the space race. For lack of a better term, this had to be epic!
We started off with a ton of sketches showing a mash-up of warfare between different regions and units from various periods of time. Civ box covers have a history of showing these types of period piece mash-ups, and everyone agreed on the inclusion of this motif for Civ 5. Also, Rokkan previously worked on the box for Civ 4, so we had a deep understanding of the brand. Here’s a shot of the final storyboard that was approved prior to the style frame.
The production pipeline was divided into 3 portions. All of the terrain (ground trees, etc) were created in 3D using Luxology Modo. We also created Colossus of Rhodes and some of the other structures in 3D. The units in battle were actual in-game models that we re-textured and rendered in hi-res for print use. The pyramids, city, battleship, water, sky, etc. were photo-composited. The leaders were created by Trailer Park – a combination of photography and 3D. The final art was then assembled, retouched and composited in good ‘ol PS.
You can see from the spread that the location of the Civ and publisher logos denotes the FOB (Front of Box).
So how did we end up with the actual front of box (at the top of the post), was from focus group testing that the 2K team had done (a typical aspect of box art creation). Without divulging too much info, 2K got some really good consumer feedback which resulted in the removal of the leaders on the front of box to the more action-packed scene of the final cover (courtesy of 2K’s creative team). Either way, we’re happy with both of the executions. Our original leader packed artwork is being used for the website (also a Rokkan creation) and other avenues of marketing such as the Civ 5 booth at GamesCom.
This was a great piece to work on and it’s a throwback to my days at Acclaim Entertainment doing concept sketches. We had loads of fun creating the piece and hope there’s more in the future. Let us know what you think of the final cover vs. the original cover and hope this post was insightful!