Katharsis Casino Wells Hotel, artwork by Vanguard Games
Katharsis Casino Wells Hotel is a concept artwork for the barren northern ice world of Katharsis, an area in the fictitious world of Mistbound.
Mistbound is an adventurous world full of visual suspense and thematic contrasts. It forms the heart of a series of critically-acclaimed games that have steadily been coming out of Amsterdam studio Vanguard Games for the last 6 years. Mistbound has become a unique project undergoing continual expansion and evolution, entirely appropriate for a fictional world whose main theme is industrial cultivation.
The world of Mistbound is also a social commentary on the lust for greed and power. It is a place that has suffered under decades of exhaustion of natural resources and continuous conflicts over what little there is left. People are forced to find ever more inhospitable environments to live.
Only a few areas where man has almost gone are slowly restoring. The dramatic contrasts between these lovely, fragile and almost naïf environments and the expansive and hard climates where nature is barren and life is a fight for survival is reinforced by the use of Clair-obscur or Chiaroscuro. A visual technique used in many of the Vanguard Games' visuals to exaggerate the contrasts between light and dark even further. Maybe some of the Amsterdam roots of the studio are still showing there, because famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn was a master of these techniques.
These contrasts between hardness, aggression and softness can also be found in the mechanical designs of Mistbound. Machines are made of a variety of materials. Steam, steel and natural fabrics evoke fin de siècle. They are elaborate and clever designs build for industrial digging, mining and warfare but they almost feel endearing with their cartoon-like form and cartoonish animation. It underlines the foolishness of mans will to dominate nature.
But next to that all Mistbound also evokes that classic adventure feeling. The urge to travel and to find new horizons without knowing what lies behind them. Hence the name Mistbound.
Vanguard Games is an Amsterdam-based game studio that started 6 years ago with the development of a series of critically acclaimed game titles based on the world of Mistbound, the creative brainchild of former creative director Marcel du Long and Harm van Dinter.