The Artbook Review #5 - The Art of Dead Rising 2

48 pages.
Edition: Hardcover.
By Capcom, 2010.
It's October and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is hitting shelves today, making it the perfect time for me to pull out one of the gorier books in my collection.
After an introduction by series creator, Keiji Inafune, the book kicks off with “The Evolution of Chuck Greene” a great little section filled with early concept work of our new zombie slaying hero.  Did you know Chuck was originally named Chuck Reid and worked as a smokejumper (with no mention of family)?  Or that one of the proposed
Citizens and Psychopaths of Fortune City.
combo weapons were a pair of drill stilts?  It’s interesting facts and concept work like this that really gets me into videogame art books and this one didn’t really disappoint in that regard.  One of the more amazing concept pieces I found was of Fortune City, where the game takes place.  What wound up as a simple Vegas parody in the middle of the desert was once a fertile neon oasis built atop island plateaus in the middle of an enormous canyon.  It’s quite beautiful…at least I think it is.  It’s kind of hard to tell since that particular image is little more than an inch in diameter.

That brings me to some of the issues I have with this book.  As is the trend with most art books that come packaged with special editions these days, it’s roughly the size of a DVD case.  While I can understand the decision to make them compact enough to fit in the packaging, I find little reason that designers couldn’t attempt to make up for this in page length.  As a result we get quite a few pages packed with tiny
thumbnail sized images; the worst offender being a page in the “Environmental Concepts” section that crams a whopping nine full color spreads into itself.  Another big problem I found were a few pages that placed small images right across the books crease…  Talk about frustrating!
Environmental Concepts.

Despite it featuring a few shining examples of how not to design an art book I did enjoy the artwork and it did feature a plethora of content.  It covered everything from zombies and psychopaths to vehicles and 3D renders.  All of which would have been more enjoyable if they’d simply expanded the book a bit and gave us some nice full page spreads.
Posted by tonis

@M.S. Feather: perfect review for October :)

I'm really glad that they're starting to take the artwork of video games more seriously and showcasing the creative process like this. There's an incredible amount of talent to assemble stuff like that.

Posted by IcePrince_X

Great review!

This is a good example of a good concept design but poor execution. Your right, one may have a great and rich art work but if its too small to see and appreciate, it defeats the purpose.

Posted by M.S. Feather
@tonis: I definitely agree!  A lot of people don't consciously think about how deep the design process in a game can be while they're playing, so releases like this or unlockable galleries within the game itself can really give you a better appreciation of the world you just spent hours immersed in.  It can make an enormous RPG all the more amazing when you stop and realize that every inch of the universe you're in and everything in it was designed by hand.
That's why when Roger Ebert stated that videogames could never be art a lot of people were naturally up in arms about it. ^^
@IcePrince_X: Yeah, that's why it's so unfortunate that a lot of game companies follow this trend. : (