The Graphics of Vanquish


Filed: Community, Games, PlatinumGames, Vanquish

Vanquish was originally an open battlefield type of game, where the goal was to move around crushing enemy positions; however, once we got started with development, we quickly made the decision to change to a more linear structure. We abandoned the open battlefield and focused on making each stage as visually dense as possible. As a result, I think the graphics in Vanquish are really quite wonderful. It is one of the main points of Vanquish I want to recommend to people. (The only regret is that our decision decreased the amount of times the player uses boosting.)

Of course, arriving there was a struggle. Upping the visual density, increasing the contrast, making the special effects especially eye-catching, throwing tons of enemies on the screen… In an environment where we were doing whatever we pleased, it became pretty obvious that there was no good way of keeping your eye on the prize – the enemies you are targeting. I felt like I was being pin-pricked by the staff talking about how hard it was to see the enemies. Moreover, the enemy character that you see most often, a robot we call a Gorgie, was predominantly white. We had primarily gray backgrounds with white enemies. When you think about it from a realism standpoint, camouflage exists to make things difficult to see, so in that way things make sense, but from a game standpoint, it was not the best idea. I really liked the white enemies, so it took me a long time to come around to the idea of making them red. We also had to limit the number that we could put on screen at once due to hardware limitations. (This had the effect of limiting the huge amount of information we were throwing at the player, so I’m sort of on-board with this one.)

I’ve written quite a bit about it, but our art lead, Naoki Katakai and programmer Ryoichi tend to do whatever they please, and what they came up with was great, and I think our visuals are quite spectacular as a result. Thanks to all the staff that worked so hard on them.

This is the initial conceptual design for the enemy known as a Gorgie. At first, they had white bodies…

But they are red in the final design!

Once we made them red, they became much easier to identify in-game.

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43 Comments Add Your Own

Amir Posted on July 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Vanquish's look is fantastic even compared to the technical giants like Gears of War 3 and on my prospective it's more intense and hard-boiled and a lot of stuff going on in the screen ….. Great Job people :)

Ujn Hunter Posted on July 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Super Hard Mode with white Gorgies? DLC? :)

Marink Posted on July 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm


I love the art work!

FAUNA Posted on July 23, 2010 at 1:35 am

From a western fan: Japanese sci-fi with mecha & anime-esque tweak action. I couldn't be happier. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the art direction & heavy stylization. I am very impressed with the graphics. Thank you for going linear & not open world. I ask for: lots of lengthy cutscenes (I really like cinematics & story) and a special edition with hand-drawn cover art. Thank you all at Platinum*, the best developer in the world…

SonicTHP Posted on July 23, 2010 at 1:57 am

I honestly thought they were red because they were Russian robots.

FAUNA Posted on July 23, 2010 at 5:38 am

I LOVE the use of vibrant/vivid colors…

Jon Chang Posted on July 23, 2010 at 9:23 am

We have spent a lot of time designing an action game at my shop. We are still working on it actually haha We've had a similar issue where we have a tactical action game, but when we made all the models camouflaged, they were/are difficult to see at long ranges and at close range, it was difficult to tell between friends and foes without adding additional graphics to let our players know who they were supposed to kill.

We are still trying to solve this challenge ^o^/

Firefly Posted on July 23, 2010 at 9:53 am

That, SonicTHP, appears to be coincidental. I can see the original white color scheme being a holdover from the usual coloration of spacesuits… given the setting, the 'claws' do make practical sense in that they allow the Gorgie to grab onto some structures with their feet. On the other hand, the glowing blue item on the chest seems a too-obvious weak point… but then, Gorgies found in later levels might have additional armor that covers it. Kudos for the head design being vaguely suggestive of someone wearing a 'Fritz' helmet.

And while I'm sure a Super Hard difficulty level will be available in some form, perhaps the original enemy colorations (because the Gorgies aren't the only enemy this has happened to, I'm sure) could be available as a toggle (much like how Army of Two: The 40th Day and GoldenEye have 'Big Head' mode). On this latter point, I would be interested to see what other iterations of Sam's battlesuit exist; perhaps these could show up as alternate models as well.

Lastly, a question: since upgrades are a big part of the game (we already know various guns can be upgraded; perhaps this applies to grenades and Sam's suit proper), will New Game+ (see: Ace Combat) be an option?

TOLLMASTER Posted on July 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

I wonder if the Gorgies are faster now that they are red. Painting robots red always makes them faster.

Humberto Posted on July 23, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Well, it's a good thing that the whole thing worked out in the end, if they were doing as they please but they didn't get results then we'd really be in truble.

Anyway, I'd rather not make judgement on game til I have my hand on it, so i can't wait for the demo.

iran Posted on July 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm

a great game from a great team(platinum games) i love every sinlge games u guys release! and this on is a super game! i love it!

Nick Posted on July 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Is it as good as RE4 though, that is the million dollar question. I wish you all the luck in the world in creating your best game to date. I am a big fan of your work.

Shawn Posted on July 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm

So awesome ;)

Jonathan Posted on July 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Will there be a similar art contest like the one for Bayonetta?

fxcontactlenses Posted on January 27, 2011 at 12:19 am

I also think that your decision to rid the idea of an open battlefield and made each stage as virtually dense as possible was a wise decision…

…And the graphics so look awesome!

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