The new art style for the still-in-beta game SpyParty is a paragon of taste. SpyParty is a game where you must hide in plain sight and engage in psychological sleuthing to figure out who the other spies are. It also involves massive amounts of meta-gaming and high-level brain manipulation on the level of a John le Carré novel. The new character designs, by John Cimino, look like real people without distracting us with photorealism. Chris Hecker describes how they decided on the "timeless" part of their style:
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It’s important to me that the game’s visual design be timeless, not retro, not futuristic, but ambiguous, where it could be happening at any or all time periods. If you look at the collection of spy images I posted way back in September 2009, it’s very easy to visually date some of them, and I want to avoid that. I think 60′s retro spy-fi is as cool as the next guy, but it goes in an out of fashion, and it can be subtly alienating even when it’s in. My biggest inspiration for the timelessness we’re going for is Pixar’s film, The Incredibles.
The art direction of that film is, well, incredible, and they did a great job of keeping the actual time period ambiguous…it could be the 50′s, it could be today, it could be the future. I want a similar vibe for SpyParty. If you follow the game, you’ll know there is gameplay associated with checking your watch. There will be characters who check wrist watches, characters who check pocket watches, and characters who check mobile phones, all integrated visually and mechanically in the same game.
We also look forward to playing as the Kofi Annan doppelganger.