One great pleasure I've discovered about this self-serving blog is finding new things lurking in pieces of old art and memorabilia. Until lately, I seldom took the time to look at this stuff or reflect on my strange little career. I now find myself looking at artwork from old projects in a whole new light.
I managed a team of about 35 people during the development of Kingdoms. I also worked with a half dozen or so external contract artists, most of whom worked on illustrations for the game's cinematic sequences. The contractors varied a lot in their experience level, ranging from veterans with decades of experience (like the aforementioned Greg Call) to fresh young talent, right out of art school.
One of the veteran illustrators was a man named Dale Rutter, a long time instructor at the Art Institute of Seattle. Dale was primarily responsible for painting a panoramic view of the capital for each of the kingdoms in our story. Above is his lovely painting of Lendra, the capital city of Veruna... the side with all the nautical stuff. Upon closer examination, I can't help but think that some of the city seen behind those evocative, ancient battlements has a distinctly modern look.
In fact, I'm sure of it. This looks more like the sort of place you'd find insurance brokers, condos and health clubs than the seat of power for a distant magical land. Dale has a reputation as something of a prankster, so I'm guessing this was intentional.
Good one, Dale. Too bad it took me almost eight years to notice!