Quoted from mandraws:
Funny, there was a flood of comments early on praising the art, then a few folks saying how much they hate it. Either way, I'll try to explain my point of view on creating the visuals.
Some artists really want the masses to love their art, some artists really only care about expressing themselves and if people like it, great. Illustrators like myself care about those things, but mostly it's how the client feels about the work. In this case, Scott was the client, and he saw every step of the process. So for those who hate the art, it really doesn't matter because you can go make your own pinball machine and choose your artist and try to be happy. Scott came to me after seeing a poster I did years ago for Zidware on Ben Heck's Zombie Adventureland. He liked the glowing nuclear style and my illustrative skill. We didn't meet in person until SFGE in June, but we talked on Skype all the time about how the project was going, which I started conceptualizing in March.
This game is a brand new original theme from a new designer and a new artist. The entire purpose of the game is to make a game LIKE games from the 80s, but as they would imagine it would be in the future. The downside to this amount of creative freedom is that everyone has an idea in their head about what it should be, and if it doesn't come out close to that, they get upset.
My philosophy on this game was to visualize the story Scott told me in the backglass, and depict mostly the machine you're battling on the playfield. The backglass is a cool illustration in my preferred style, and it is what I did first to set the tone and color scheme. It has a bunch of fun Easter eggs, and I'm very pleased with the final product. Some people compare it to Overwatch, which is purely coincidental and unintentional, but I consider it a compliment because those character designs are awesome, and people love them. Thanks for putting me in good company.
On the playfield:
I believe the worst thing you can do as an artist is spend so much time creating detail and visual flourish that it ends up making it harder to see the ball. When I play a pinball machine in a dark room and there's tons of detail and black lines on the playfield, I come away feeling like it wasn't a good game because I couldn't see the ball. I feel like it's the machine's fault I lost, not mine. You may like this art style and think it's more valuable because it's more detailed, but sometimes less is more. This game kicks your butt as a white wood with only the lights as a visual distraction so I chose to leave a lot of areas "empty." Nothing is emptier than a whitewood, and yet only a handful of people have made it to the end of the game. In addition, my task was to work within my take on the "outrun" style. Outrun is mostly black with neon lines, sunsets, grids, and things like that, which makes it extremely not user-friendly when trying to track a ball flying around at 174538 mph. From the outset, I championed the idea that the flipper areas should be bright and visually basic so that you don't lose track of the ball. Sure, maybe I could have had more detail everywhere else, but I don't put in detail unless it has a purpose. Unlike the games I've worked on in the past, there was a lot of pressure not to screw this up because people already loved the existing gameplay. If you're one of the people who don't agree with my decisions or think I could have done more, that's fine, but Scott doesn't seem to think that, and it's his game.