Guardians of Haven

In May 2016, I was hired by Gree International to Art Direct an ambitious mobile title named Guardians of Haven. The game was set in a near-future America in which a plague had turned much of the populace into zombies called ‘Infected,’ but evolved a small fraction of the people into super heroes, called ‘Evos.’ The game featured three connected gameplay loops: One was a first-person shooter game in which you played Azara, an Evo with incredible reflexes and the ability to absorb healing from the Infected she killed. Another gameplay mode was Combat Army, in which super-strong Foster Locke led troops into battle in Clash-Royale-like gameplay that was more about puzzle solving. The third mode – City Sim – let you build up a settlement of apocalypse survivors where you managed building and resource production. Tying everything together was a detailed story told through animated comic book pages crafted by several comics-industry veterans.

One of my responsibilities was Art Direction all comic book panels, which we used to tell the story between missions. I needed to make sure that all comic panels conveyed their story with efficency and clarity (these would be seen on mobile screens!), matched the in-game art from the missions, and that the depiction or all characters was consistent despite contributions from many different pencillers, inkers and colorists.

I oversaw the UI development for the entire game, which was produced both through an outsourcing house (Sprung Studios in the UK) and in our Melbourne studio.

I also contantly worked with the marketing team to make sure that they had the assets they needed to promote the game and was the prime driver for artwork for
app store promotion, acquisition ads, assets for trailers, and more.

Here is a YouTube video gameplay walk-through showing the first of the three game loops, here the Shooting/Hunting gameplay.

Gree International was shut down in Summer of 2017 and Guardians of Haven was never released in the United States.

 

Guardians of Haven logo
goh_appicon_512_01&02
Two versions of the game’s app icon, which I directed and recolored (Character art by Ryan David Jones.)

 

GoH_appstore_01-4
App Store images, which I designed and laid out, cleaned up screenshots for, and commissioned and directed all of the character artwork for.

 

rampart 01
Our initial design for Foster Locke – aka Rampart – depicted him as a stern military man but was seen as too unmemorable and vanilla for such an important character. I worked with the team to redirect the feel of the character, making him more of a rebellious hard-ass, and using not-very-subtle clues to indicate his super-powers of strength and invulnerability. Here is the initial and final design (again by Ryan David Jones.)
azara 01
Azara is the super-sniper whom you play as in the Shooting levels. Strong and dispassionate, she wears a poncho scavenged from a train wreck over her skin-suit. Additional detail was needed for the arms, as that’s the only part you see of her when you/she are shooting a rifle.
kendallwatts & oskarQuinn 01
Kendall Watts (left) is the leader of the hacker group known as FreeHive, which runs the settlement Haven. (render by Concept Art House.) Oskar Quinn (right) is a former army general who has built up his own paramilitary organization to try to take control of America. (Render by Ryan David Jones.)

 

talkingheads portraits 01
The game’s story had a large and diverse cast of characters who would appear in short sequences to speak with each other, much like in Japanese Role-Playing Games. I oversaw the development of all conversation portraits, making sure that they felt consistent in style despite being produced by many different comic book artists and colorists
style guide UI 03 - talking heads
A page from of the style guide that I developed for the engineering team to explain how these characters would appear in-game
case 01
More characters: Case, a good guy and a soldier from Haven (artwork by Carlos Machuca)
squad 01
Case’s crew (also by Carlos Machuca)

 

tiabennett 01
Tia Bennett, an enemy sniper (artwork by Carlos Machuca)
factiontroops 01
Soldiers from different enemy factions (art by Daz Tibbles)

 

infected_clothes 01
In Guardians of Haven, it was really important to us to have the Infected not all look like the same generic model over and over again. We wanted the zombies to reflect the same gender and race diversity of the environment they inhabited (which for much of the game was a post-apocalyptic Baltimore and to also reflect the diverse make-up of our expected player base.

infected_races 01

infected_female 01

comicpanel 01
Comic book story panels. Art by various artists, Art Direction by me.

 

comicpanel 02

comicpanel 03

comicpanel 04

comicpanel 05

 

CAcards 01
Art by various artists, UI by Sprung Studios
map composite 01
The mission maps were a challenge because they had to map to actual real-world locations (in this case, Baltimore, MD) and include clear iconography showing completed and yet-to-be-completed missions, repeatable missions, and show landmarks that appear in the missions themselves. When more traditional maps lacked the personality that we wanted for the game, I painted/illustrated the background myself as a guide for the direction that Sprung should take with the rendering.

 

icons 01
We had hundreds of UI elements and icons to produce or the game, including button styles, in-game HUD elements, inventory icons, currency icons, combat abilities, stickers and more. I oversaw the development of all of these. Some were made in-house, but many were produced several outsourcing companies.

 

style guide environment detail
And of course, a major responsibility was to help define and explain the lok and feel for the entire game to artists both internal and external. Here are a few pages from the game’s style guide that I developed

style guide environment moodstyle guide breaking the grid

style guide proportionsstyle guide mobile scalestyle guide vfx

goh booth art 01
Promotional artwork that I contracted, used here as signage for a trade show booth. Character renders by Ryan David Jones, environment art by Concept Art House.

goh booth art 02

goh booth art 03