Title: The Art of Dead Space [Enhanced Edition]
Author: Martin Robinson
Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Publisher: Titan Books
Source: Titan Books DRC
Genre(s): Artbook, Video Games, Horror, Science Fiction
The Dead Space series has arguably been one of the greatest series to hit the current generation of consoles. Which is why it’s fitting that as we move into the next generation we take a moment to appreciate the artwork and creative processes that brought us this iconic series.
The Art of Dead Space is one of the best art books I have ever read through. On it’s face the book offers the reader some really great insight into the series through a mix of beautifully illustrated pages and informative little tidbits. There are several sections in the book with each being dedicated to the way that particular character, location, or feature was adapted over time. There’s a really great section on Isaac with some really interesting early designs for his iconic armor. And the Necromorph section has some really cool concept art from early attempts to try and figure out just what the hellish creatures were going to look like in the end. Each section has some little write ups that explain to the reader what the images are showing, how and why things changed, and other little insights into the minds of the creators as they began developing the various aspects of the Dead Space series.
But as with most art books what people care most about is the art. And let me tell you this is one gorgeous art book.
There are so many great painted scenes and concept art. I mean, some of the illustrations are absolutely stunning. But it’s not just sweeping landscapes and level concept designs. They also have very detailed character and item designs. I mean, there’s a couple pages there dedicated solely to the actually mechanics of certain items – such as Isaac’s helmet. The art book literally takes you through each and every panel of the helmet and how it’s pieced together. Which is necessary if you’ve ever seen actual in-game animation.
Which, you can see in the art book without even needing to load up a save file.
See, some people might wonder how they manage to pack in information and artwork from all three books and I’ll admit that there are probably few things that are left out and there is probably plenty of concept art that didn’t make the final cut. That’s what makes the enhanced edition so awesome. In the digital version of the art book Titan Books was able to embed additional features into the book. So when I mentioned that there was a page where they broke down the actual mechanics of Isaac’s helmet? Yeah, that’s pretty standard fair for an art book. You can see each little section and sort of remember how it works. But in the enhanced edition you can actually see it happen and compare the details on the page and watch how it correlates to the in-game footage by taping a play button superimposed over an image.
Because the publishers are trying to put all the highlights of all three of the books in this art book they had to leave some stuff out. But with the enhanced edition the publisher is able to add special galleries to the book. So, imagine there is one particular image that’s really cool and at some point they made a few other versions or they added to it for the benefit of game design, changed some things up. Usually, you’d never get to know they existed. They would be left out and unless someone posted up a picture online you’d never know about it. But in this enhanced edition of the Art of Dead Space you get to see those images.
The best part of the digital art book, though?
The video interviews.
Most art books give you just a little peak into what the developers were thinking or the artists were thinking when they were coming up with concepts for the game. Which is kind of sad because so much goes into their thought processes and they really are more than happy to share that experience with you. Their ability to do that, though, is limited by a page count and the fact that art books are more about the art than the stories. In the Art of Dead Space, you know what they were thinking because the book is riddled with exclusive videos with game artists and developers who are able to talk about the game and their part in it, how their plans changed, how things were designed and scrapped. And they are so passionate about it. It’s just fun to watch.
It’s such a great addition to the whole experience of reading through an art book. I love art books; they’re awesome. And I love interactive magazines. I have a three year year subscription to Entertainment Weekly because their iPad version is just awesome. (And I use the print copies for word collages and crafting). So maybe I’m a little biased. But I think that the enhanced edition’s additions just make what is probably one of the best art books I’ve read through even better.
Honestly, if I had to buy just the digital version or just the print edition? It’d be a hard choice. I think I might go with the print edition only because the book is just so well put together that I’d hate not to actually have it in hand. But considering my favorite part of the whole digital edition were the exclusive interviews and videos? I don’t really know.
Want to see the digital enhanced edition in action and also hear me prattle on like a moron in a totally incoherent fashion? Watch the video below!