Some reflections on FATALE

Sounds like Polarization Country again… 😉

Anthony was surprisingly mild. Lewis didn’t enjoy it. But Amanda did. VorpalBunny and Chris got all intellectual and lyrical. I think Simone liked it too, though my Italian is limited.

And I love what dandriel said on the forum, after playing FATALE:

I felt like when you get out of an art gallery, or a cinema… when you get back to the real world but your mind is blinded by the fantasy world you have just abandoned.

Bring me the head of John the Baptist!

A closer look at the head of Iokanaan. Created by Takayoshi Sato. Rendered and composited like crazy by me earlier today. Hope you like it.

Also, please accept this wallpaper of the 7 veils, downloadable from the gallery page of the FATALE website.

and this,… is one of my favorite paintings by Caravaggio.

Because I dream along with him that the head once had a body.

Fatale Audio Trailer

We’re delighted with the audio that Jarboe (voice acting and ambient music), Kris Force (sound effects) and Gerry De Mol (dance music) have created for Fatale. So much so, that we are releasing a trailer that only contains audio! Have a listen:

One of the cornerstones of our approach to design for interactive entertainment, is that all elements in the production are of equal importance. We do not single out any element above any other: 3D artwork, animation, interaction, text, sound and music all contribute in equal parts to the multi-sensory experience. Our aim is to communicate on many levels simultaneously and offer many different forms of amusement and delight. Traditionally, videogames tend to be a very visually oriented medium. But in our work, sound is of equal importance. And somehow it felt fitting to release an audio-only trailer for a project about a man who loses his head.

An MP3 version of the audio trailer can be downloaded on the project’s gallery page.

We’ve also finished the cistern area where John the Baptist is held captive. Here’s a screenshot:


Italian interview about Fatale

Not that we’re able to reveal a lot yet (if only because were still working very hard crunch crunch, trying to get as much stuff in as possible while keeping an eye on that damned framerate ) but it was fun talking about our new project with Claudio Todeschini. The interview has been translated into Italian. Part one is here. Part two here. Buona lettura!

Unveiling Salome

FATALE: SALOME (gold version)

This is a first look at the first character from FATALE, Salome. And we can tell you now who the artist that we previously listed as “secret” on the Fatale website is! She was designed by Takayoshi Sato, who also modeled her (and another of the characters who we shall introduce at a later date.) As many of you know we have been huge fans of his character design work for years, thus it has been a true joy to be working with him on this project.

We’ve started a gallery on the project’s website. We’ll be publishing more images, along with more information, in the weeks to come. We’re gearing up for release on October 5th! :)

Thank heaven for little girls

Oil painting by Gaston Bussière entitled Salomé (1914)

Bussière is one of the few painters who has depicted Salomé as a young capricious girl, the way she was described in the Bible. Other painters turn her into a mature woman and, especially in the period of Bussière, a femme fatale, devourer of men, deeply evil, and equally sensual. Bussière’s Salomé is naked and yet any sensual pleasure we may get out of looking at her is a very guilty pleasure. She is just a child, only faintly aware of her femininity.

Her dance seems to be more playful then sensuous. Bussière’s interpretation is supported by DeAnna Putman’s analysis of the character of Salomé:

Two key Greek words in the biblical accounts (Mark 6 and Matthew 14) make it very clear that Salome’s honorary dance was not salacious.
First, Salome is referred to as a korasion, meaning, a little girl not yet old enough to be married. Basically this means she had no breasts and had not menstruated yet. Second, the word used for dance here is orxeomai, which not only means dance, but the playful goofing off of young children.

Obviously this adds a layer of complexity to the story which is difficult to join with Oscar Wilde’s interpretation. Belgian youth author Ed Franck, however, was inspired by exactly this conflict: in his novella “Salome” he describes how a teenage Salomé falls in love for the first time, only to meet rejection.

What big eyes you have, Salome!

I am amorous of thy body, Iokanaan! Thy body is white, like the lilies of a field that the mower hath never mowed. Thy body is white like the snows that lie on the mountains of Judea, and come down into the valleys.

Suffer me to touch thy body.

Thy body is hideous. It is like the body of a leper.

It is of thy hair that I am enamoured, Iokanaan. Thy hair is like clusters of grapes, like the clusters of black grapes that hang from the vine-trees of Edom in the land of the Edomites.

Suffer me to touch thy hair.

Thy hair is horrible. It is covered with mire and dust.

It is thy mouth that I desire, Iokanaan. Thy mouth is like a band of scarlet on a tower of ivory. It is like a pomegranate cut in twain with a knife of ivory. The pomegranate flowers that blossom in the gardens of Tyre, and are redder than roses, are not so red.

Suffer me to kiss thy mouth.

I will kiss thy mouth, Iokanaan. I will kiss thy mouth.

– from Oscar Wilde’s play Salome

Fountains of blood

Pietro di Sano
15th Century Italian painting of John the Baptist’s beheading. By Pietro di Sano.

This picture makes John’s execution almost look like an unfortunate accident. Somehow sticking his head through the window -was he trying to escape?- led to a lethal injury. If course that’s if we ignore the man in the middle with the perfectly clean sword. A scimitar, no less, indicating the exotic origins of this person -despite of the Roman regime that had decided on the prophet’s fate. He’s looking at the golden platter. His job is not done yet. I wonder if he’s thinking about how he’s going to fit John’s aureole on that thing. It too looks like it’s made of solid gold. Is that why his head fell off? From the weight of his holiness? Or did it have a sharp edge perhaps? This would certainly explain the cleanliness of the scimitar.

John was wearing his typical outfit of camel’s hair (as described in the Bible by Matthew), often interpreted by medieval artists as camel skin. But in all likelihood, he probably wore woven clothing. And a camel’s hair is probably very rough, indicating a certain inclination towards masochism in the prophet, not atypical for Christian martyrs.

A much more dignified depiction of the saint comes from Jan van Eyck, painted a bit earlier in the same century.

Jan van Eyck
Detail of the 15th century Flemish Alter Piece depicting John the Baptist. Painted by Jan van Eyck.

Judging by the rich cape that covers his camel skin dress, this is probably a portrayal of John the Baptist after his death, in heaven. Looks like Salomé didn’t get to keep the head, after all. And now it is even surrounded by a magnificent aureole of golden rays.

It’s beautiful.

To think that this amazing piece of work is only one part of a much larger, much more complex and breathtakingly marvelous piece that is located at 10 minutes walking from my door! In Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent.

Who needs death when heaven is so nearby?

The picture of John the Baptist apparently got stolen together with the panel of The Just Judges. The latter was never recuperated, which is a shame. But I hate how this stupid so called mystery of the lost panel overshadows the splendor of the masterpiece. I mean: it’s got a lamb on a table with blood coming out of its chest!!!

Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral, by the way, is probably the one work of art that has influenced our own practice most. Not just the altar piece, but the entire cathedral, from its gothic architecture and its dramatic staging of baroque decorations to all the paintings and sculptures in it, ranging from the sublime to the banal. In this cathedral we started thinking about non-linear storytelling in three dimensional space.