Airborn Showcase Project
The Airborn Showcase is a visual prototype based on our own IP and developed in-house to push the envelope of stylized graphics and illustrate the range of work Airborn Studios can cover in terms of world-building, visual development, and art production.
In a Nutshell
Tl;dr: The visual showcase you can see here is the result of the work our team did over the course of a year. We wanted to see how far we can push stylized graphics with our means, and that’s what we did.
But there’s a bit more to that, so let’s go down that rabbit hole, shall we?
Concept, Visual Development, Storyboarding, Concept Art, 3D Art, Level Art, Worldbuilding, Animation, Sound, Art Direction
PC, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X/S
A brief history of Airborn. Well, Airbørn.
If you’ve ever been curious: yes, yes, we know that ‘airborne’ is spelled airborne. We really do. Before there was Airborn Studios, there was… Airbørn. And that is what the company is named after. The more you know!
Behind Airbørn was the idea for a game set in a world full of floating islands, loaded with steam/diesel-punk tech, and partially inspired by a number of movies, comics, and other games. It was a passion project iterated upon by a small group of like-minded artists over the course of almost a decade. It even managed to get awarded in Epic Games’ Make Something Unreal contest and was covered by outlets like Edge magazine.
Some of those folks who contributed went on to do great things at other studios later on. And a good number of them are, in one way or another, still a part of our team. The work itself stuck with us as well: even now we regularly stumble across it in ref boards potential clients send our way.
That said, due to the circumstances and the increasing demands of day-to-day business, Airbørn entered a stage of hibernation. And Airborn Studios went on to work on games like Overwatch, Fortnite, Valorant, and Crash Bandicoot 4.
Back to the roots?
In early 2019, however, we slowly started to wonder: what if we went back? What if we returned to the world of Airborn, revisiting it with a fresh mindset, the latest technology, and all the knowledge we had gained since we had worked on the previous prototype? The idea gained traction and plans were made.
Unlike its predecessor, the new prototype was supposed to have a stronger visual focus – after all, art production is what Airborn Studios is all about. Instead of being confined to a single setting, we set out to create a vignette of scenes akin to a trailer as this would enable us to showcase more characters, environments, and set pieces. All built with real-time assets, of course, and everyone in the core team would get to be involved in some capacity.
Before any decisions on technology, tools and workflows were made, we needed to hone in and define a visual language for the prototype. No matter where the envelope was to be pushed, everything should still contain identifiable traces of the Airbørn of the old days. Anyone familiar with the old work should be able to instantly recognize the new one without seeing our name attached to it. This is even reflected in the music which has bits of the old theme woven into it.
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This project was supported by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
All in all, we’re pretty bloody happy with what we achieved within the scope we had.
The art team really knocked it out of the park – as did our friendly external helpers like Funkeyz (rigging & animation), SkewSound (sound design), and, of course, Ian Dorsch (returning to once again compose some wonderful tunes). For more details and the full credits, please head over to our Artstation post!
The images above are only a selection of the work we did on the Airborn Showcase
Please visit our ArtStation album to see more concepts and 3D assets done by our team!