Q&A with Halo 4’s Concept Artist Gabriel Garza
By now you’ve probably read Adam Kovic’s glowing review of Halo 4. Clearly it’s going to be a winner when it finally comes out for the Xbox 360 next Tuesday. But while the finished product seems like it’ll be a hit, it’s important to consider that there are plenty of people who worked hard to make the game what it is today.
I had a brief Q&A e-mail interview with Gabriel Garza, one of the concept artists working on the game for 343 Industries. You can take a look at his work in Awakening: The Art of Halo 4, which comes out from Titan Books on Tuesday, the same day as the game.
Machinima: What were some of the concerns you had coming onto a project with this much scrutiny? Were there any design decisions you made because of those concerns?
Gabriel Garza: How to create something new and at the same time be faithful to past Halo titles. When I redesigned, the Master Chief we kept in mind some of the iconic elements that people remember from past games. Having Kenneth Scott as your art director was the best way to achieve all of this.
M: What was the process of redesigning Master Chief for this new game?
GG: Long. We made a lot of sketches just to find the right visual language for him, we had a couple of buzzwords that helped us describe the intention we all wanted for Halo 4 Chief’s look. After we had images that reflected the spirit and new look we wanted, we just started doing detailed drawings of the Chief’s parts like hands, helmet, etc.
M: What are some of your favorite new designs, and why?
GG: I personally like a lot of the weapons. I wasn’t involved as much on those, so for me they are all beautiful—for the stuff I did I only see the mistakes.
M: Can you speak to the designs of any new weapons, vehicles, and environments?
GG: For vehicles specifically, the UNSC ones we wanted a more functional look to them, we also added more subtle curvatures to the edges.
M: What was the process of creating the new enemies for the game, the Prometheans? How much give and take was there between the game designers and the concept artists? In other words, which team influenced which? Were the Prometheans’ designs based on designer input, vice versa, or a combination thereof?
GG: It was a hard and long process and we all participated. The problem was that we did not have previous reference for Forerunner enemies, so we ended up using some of the architecture visual language from previous games as a starting point. It was a big, teamwork kind of task to bring something new and fresh to the Halo universe.