Sunday, 30 March 2014

Book review - The Art of Blizzard Entertainment

Please welcome to Farsight Blogger guest blogger Richard Williams, a fellow gamer, weird stuff enthusiast, writer and a really good friend of mine. Richard has a passion for art books and for a few weeks he'll be sharing his thoughts on some of his favourites.

OK, The Art of Blizzard Entertainment is BIG. Blizzard have finally opened their art department archives for their flagship games and the art is really, really... really good.

It is, mostly, World of Warcraft art (which you would expect when you consider the number of releases for that IP and the amount of time it has been running), but it also features plenty of art from Diablo and Starcraft. The last few pages also includes art from games which never made it past the concept stage but sadly there isn't much of this because, as it explains in the book, Blizzard weren't very good at sorting their art back in the early days and much was lost.

Who is this book for? Well, fans of the respective games will like this book. Your liking will increase with each game franchise you happen to have enjoyed, so if you're a fan of WoW, Diablo and Starcraft then you will just geek-out over this book (as I did). Also, fans of concept art books would like this book but with that price tag I'm guessing there won't be many buyers who aren't fans of the games.

Any complaints? Just one, and it will sound like a weird one considering the size of this book, and that is there should be more of it. If the different games had separate art books released for them (as WoW has) then there would be more spread across all the books. Because this has been put into one volume you feel as though it's been edited down. So basically, what I'm saying is, I'm sure there's lots more art work for Diablo and Starcraft (WoW is well catered for in this book) and I would have loved to see it.

In Conclusion; is it worth it? Well, let's not pretend that it isn't expensive. But how does that price compare? It seems like a pricey book at first but when you compare the cost to other art books it actually doesn't seem so bad. It's really quite a decent price for nearly 400 pages of quality art in a hardback format. So the price is not, in my opinion, so bad (if you can afford it).

Is the art worth it? YES. Yes, yes, yes. There is an embarrassment of riches of art in this book which will easily please fans of the games. But not JUST fans of the games. Lovers of fantasy and sci-fi art will also enjoy the work contained herein.

I guess it comes down to a checklist system. Are you a fan of the games? Are you a lover of concept art? Do you enjoy a nice big tome of a book which takes the better part of an hour to flick through (even when you're not really studying the pictures in too much detail)? If the answer to 2-3 of these questions is yes, then move to the final question.

Can you afford to part with the money? If yes; buy it, feel happy and regret nothing.

An epic volume of art and behind-the-scenes insights, The Art of Blizzard® celebrates the studio s genesis by examining the creative forces behind these games and showcasing their artistry through more than 700 pieces of concept art, paintings, and sketches. 

Commentary on the art is provided by Blizzard Entertainment s own Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen, who ve each played important roles in shaping Blizzard s game universes over the years. 

Over the past two decades, Blizzard Entertainment has had a tremendous impact on the world of games and global pop culture. From its humble beginnings as a three-person-console-game development studio in 1991 to the creation of the blockbuster Warcraft®, Starcraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard has a history of crafting stunning worlds of science fiction and fantasy. The company s distinctive gameplay and storytelling styles have captivated an international audience numbering in the tens of millions whose passion cannot be quelled. 

Twenty years after Blizzard opened its doors, the company s World of Warcraft® boasts the title of the world s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and the studio is widely recognised as one of the leaders in creatively driven game development.