Developing The Art Style of Stay Dead

Stay Dead - Blog #08

Picture of Andrea Rubio

Andrea Rubio

Head of Marketing

Stay Dead - Blog #08

diving into the colorful world of “Stay Dead,” giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the magic our Art Team is brewing bringing our fresh take on a zombie video game.

The Art Development of Stay Dead

Vancouver, BC. Canada

Today, we’re diving into the colorful world of “Stay Dead,” giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the magic our Art Team is brewing bringing our fresh take on a zombie video game. From the charming undead family to the eccentrically beautiful Porto Morto Island, this small but mighty team has been redefining what a zombie video game can be. It’s not just about making things look cool; it’s about pouring soul, passion, and a bit of undead humor into every pixel.

Dreaming Up a Zombie World:

1. How did you come up with the look for "Stay Dead"? Did other kinds of art inspire you?

When asked about the inspiration behind “Stay Dead,” Alfredo Barajas, our Art Director, shared, “We knew we wanted a world where zombies were content with their existence. There wasn’t a specific artwork that influenced us; rather, we started with the traditional zombie behavior and aimed to create something aesthetically distinct, something that hadn’t been explored in zombie culture before.”

Sergio Saucedo, Concept Artist, added, “The initial sketches were inspired by various cartoon sitcoms, not traditionally revolving around zombies. We were influenced by the creepy charm of shows like ‘Beetlejuice,’ ‘The Addams Family,’ and ‘Real Monsters,’ along with the family dynamics found in ‘Tasmania’ and ‘The Simpsons.’ These influences steered our creative process.”

Flor López, another key Concept Artist on the team, noted her influences, “I’m really drawn to the vibe of those 2000s Cartoon Network shows, like ‘Dexter’s Laboratory.’ The way they captured irreverence and fun is something we’re incorporating into our game.”

Creating Characters with Heart... and Brains:

2. Can you tell us how you designed the zombie family in the game? How did you make sure they looked funny and a bit spooky at the same time?

On designing the zombie family, Alfredo explained, “Figuring out how to blend the funny with the spooky was a journey. We initially didn’t know how to visually express their duality. Moving away from the typical portrayal of zombies as soulless wanderers, we endowed our characters with personality, simplicity, mischievousness, creativity, and joy, drawing heavily from animation and film.”

Drawing the Undead:

3. What tools did you use to create the game’s artwork? Were there any new techniques or tools you tried out for the first time?

Discussing the tools and techniques for creating the game’s artwork, Freddie mentioned, “We started in 2D, using Photoshop and Illustrator. Transitioning to 3D was a significant shift for us.” Flor shared her learning curve, “Adapting to Substance Painter was challenging but eventually thrilling, akin to painting on a physical model.”

Haunted Environment

4. How did you design a world where the zombie family feels at home, not just a bit scary, ruined place? How did you make sure the game’s world matched its spooky and funny feel?

Freddie delved into designing a world where zombies feel at home, “Our zombies are happy in their reality, which differs from other zombie stories. This perspective influenced every aspect of Porto Morto’s design, making it a ‘post-apocalyptic paradise island’ that’s lively and engaging.”

Flor drew from this vision, “My work on the environments was inspired by Freddie’s dynamic character concepts. We aimed to mirror the directors’ vision, crafting a world that’s both fun and chaotic, appealing to both zombies and humans.”

Inside Scoops and Hidden Gems

5. Do any of you have a favorite character you created? Are there any secret details or fun surprises hidden in the game that players should look for?

When diving into their personal favorite characters and looking for hidden surprises within “Stay Dead,” our artists shared some insightful reflections.

Freddie Barajas, our Art Director, found it tough to choose just one favorite. “Every character has a piece of us in them, making this decision difficult. However, Stu really stands out for me,” he said. “He embodies nobility, always putting his family first and trying to make the post-zombie apocalypse life fun and functional. His strength lies in his unrecognized ingenuity and heart, making him a pillar in the family dynamic.”

Sergio Saucedo revealed, “For me, it’s all about Bram. His adventures, especially his bug collection and the bond he shares with Hades, the family pet, add layers of humor and depth to the game.”

Flor López expressed a particular fondness for Blair. “Blair’s emo, punk attitude, and her music preferences really resonate with me. It’s her defiance mixed with vulnerability that makes her character so relatable and engaging”

Freddie added, “We’re playing with the idea of introducing easter eggs that reflect our audience’s tastes—maybe a sprinkle of humor, a dash of controversy. It’s exciting to think about the different directions we can take ‘Stay Dead,’ and these hidden gems will add another layer of engagement for our players.”

Looking Ahead!

The art director opens up about his feeling after witnessing the great response to Stay Dead's art at early game events like GDC. He's also excited to see what players will say once the game drops in full swing.

As we continue to develop “Stay Dead,” we’re constantly reminded that this journey is far from over. The positive response to our art at early events like GDC has been incredibly motivating. But as we forge ahead, we’re mindful that our project is still evolving. Changes and new directions are part of this creative process, and we’re excited to see where it leads.

This project is a labor of love for us at Animagic. Seeing the community’s reaction fuels our passion and reaffirms that we’re on the right path. As we continue to develop ‘Stay Dead,’ we welcome you to join us on this journey, to share in our discoveries and be part of our story’s unfolding,” says Freddie, echoing the sentiments of the entire team.

Stay tuned for more updates, and remember to join our Discord server to be part of our growing community!

Stay Tuned and remember to join our Discord server to meet the team and join our community!