One of the most complex decisions in a video game is how to be visually. Being able to differentiate yourself from others is an important point in favor of the project. The Valencian study Deconstructeam has this issue solved with solvency thanks to the artist Marina Gonzlez (@Marineteta), which prints a style pixel art very personal to all Deconstructeam titles; when seeing an image of The Red Strings Club The Essays of Empathy the hallmark of the study is undoubtedly recognized. We have talked to her after their participation in the Fun & Serious Games Festival to learn more about their way of working.
Vandal: Deconstructeam games are recognizable at a glance by your personal style. It is a choice for love of the pixel art Or in the initial moments of the study you were forced and then you liked the style?
Marina Gonzlez: In principle out of necessity and then I ended up falling in love. When we started making games, we were three artists and we had very different styles of drawing. We had to take something that unifies the styles a bit. At that time the pixel art I was resurfacing in several games and I see a bit of nostalgia and also curiosity, to say “let’s try this to see how it works” and I know that it took me years of testing and experimenting but over time I love the ability it has to synthesize and its characteristics. I really like to play with the color contrast, with different resolutions, I find it very interesting to represent reality through pixels.
I don’t know if this concept exists, but it could be said that it is a pixel art costumbrista?
yes, yes, it is not a pixel art arcade-type games, for example, or classic games that had much brighter or very vivid colors and contrasted each other so that they would attract a lot of attention. Was a pixel art that, because of the elements and the resolution they had, how it was drawn, was different. But I like to create characters that are realistic because they combine well with the narratives that we do, I think they combine well to establish a relationship with these characters, for, for example, in the Strings Club meet Donovan and Brandeis, the protagonists, I think it is important that the visual style is that, that it has enough detail so that you can see what they are like but that in the end you also just completed what Donovan and Brandeis are like, because we all have a Donovan and a Brandeis on the head, but there is a certain custom in what we do.
The color palette is also very specific, right? It is usually desaturated, with a preference for black and red
I really like to play with that, from the Red Strings Club I think I started to change a bit the philosophy of those that I liked in color, there I started looking for tones like more reddish, purple and such because it combined a lot with the futuristic and cyberpunk world, I did not want super bright lights, I wanted a mixture of little different and I really liked that style. Saturation is something that matters to me because something very saturated works very well for certain types of games and illustrations in pixel art But for the type of games we do, I really like the desaturation and lower the tone a bit because I think that life is sometimes like that, that everything is not always as supersaturated, there are those kinds of nuances in the color.
The last game Deconstructeam released is Essays of Empathy, an anthology of non-commercial games that includes documentaries about the creation of those experiences, what was this development like and what are you currently doing?
It is an interesting and curious development because it came after a mental health crisis that we had last year due to the pandemic, because we focused a lot on work, on a large project that we have been developing for some time, we ended up very burned, we broke a little and we had to stop.
At the beginning of this year He came to us and said: “I have seen that you have games that you have taken in game jams and that they are very interesting and it would be cool to make a compilation “, we had them on our website and that’s it and they proposed to remove them and that Deconstructeam would be there again. We found the idea interesting and we decided to make a new game, Sixpenny, within the collection and, in addition, give it a documentary character to record ourselves talking about the projects.
For me it has been interesting because it has been to reflect, look back and see what we have learned, what we have done, what we have done well or badly, what things we have stayed with and what does not work for us, what we have done. in love, like narrative, because from a point on we decided to make more narrative games because we liked that, it was something that we saw that we liked to do and that we were good at it, I think. It has turned out to be a very interesting project, although it is a bit of a niche, because this documentary roll that you have is interesting to me, I would like to see more of a studio taking its games from a decade or five years ago or whatever, from a time , and see how it was done, and talk about the creative project.
We cannot say anything about the project we are working on now but I really want to teach something already because a long time ago, but it is a game that follows a bit the continuation of the Strings Club with narrative, pixel art and a gameplay that I think is going to be interesting. We continue working on it.