Alessandro, the designer of our other team, e-mailed us this picture, and I just couldn't resist sharing it. Here's his tale.
I have a sweet spot for the good old days of game development, back when a game’s aesthetics were confined to the technical limitations of the era. The low fidelity and palette restrictions pushed artists to come up with really creative techniques to make things look pleasant. Those efforts resulted in an artistic style that is still used to this day, even when those restrictions have all but disappeared: Pixel-Art!
So whenever I see a modern art-style that I love in a game (Like Spymaster), I cannot help but to try and envision how it would look like if it was made over 20 years ago. This is the result:
My main motivation for the blocky routes and nodes came from Mario Bros 3. You navigate the stages in that game in similar roads that lead to different stages. It was pretty groundbreaking at the time to show that limited form of exploration.
The thing I enjoy the most about doing this are the detail challenges, like how do you represent a cigar in an ashtray in a region that is 9 pixels tall and wide?
You also have to change the form slightly to look more wholesome. For example the lunch tray looks so naturally placed in the original Spymaster, at a slight angle, but you have to make it straight to look good when making Pixel-art.
Aaaah, way better! The Obsessive-Compulsive in me is very very pleased! I try to work on my pixel-art whenever I have a chance, and I usually post my stuff on twitter, so add me there and tell me what you think! https://twitter.com/A_Ituarte