Tag Archives: titanbooks

The Art of Alien Isolation Hardback Review

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To coincide with Creative Assembly’s terrifying take on the Alien franchise, Titan Books have released The Art of Alien Isolation, that features extensive behind the scenes commentary from both the artists and creators as well as never-before-seen concept art and 3D renders. If you are already familiar with Titan Books who publish a spectacular range of hardback books to accompany popular game launches, The Art of Alien Isolation is in a familiar style with a Special Edition available signed by artist, Bradley Wright. Compiled by its author, Andy McVittie – this stunning collection of art will be sure to impress fans of the Alien Isolation game that is available in stores right now!

The Art of Alien Isolation will take readers on a journey into the art production of the game itself that focuses on the events fifteen years after the original plot of the classic Alien movie. Containing a stunning display of concept art with detailed creator commentary through-out you will have a comprehensive insight into the Alien world and the Sevastopol Space Station, now a deserted unit home to the chilling Xenomorph’s. Chapters of the book are broken down into Character’s, Weapons, the Space Station, the Xenomorphs and the Storyboarding process that pieced the game into what is fully playable today from SEGA. We do have a full review of the game in process which you should look out for in the coming days ahead.

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The book offers an in-depth look at the design and construction of the Sevastopol Space Station, noting how if something could not have been built on the original movie set in 1979 then it has no place in the game. Covering its vast infrastructure and signature three towers, the artists detail the challenges faced on initial concepts and how the games character, Amanda Ripley follows in the footsteps of her mother through the eerie corridors and abandoned vents before a spine chilling face-off with the Xenomorph – the unpredictable, terrifying creature that is the Alien!

The Art of Alien Isolation, really covers a lot of inspiration that was taken from the movie and gives reference to dramatic illustrations from the artists who helped set the tone of the fear factor in the game itself. Referring back to the Sevastopol Space Station, it is meticulously complex in its structure with the ability to house 3000 residents. Now at just a population of just 500, law and order is on the verge of collapse with the art book allowing you to visually see the main three towers in more detail covering the accommodation, the Technical tower and the Science Tower that is home to hospital labs and research facilities. Although for movie buff’s or complete die-hard fans of Alien, you will know that there was four towers in the original space station, and the book gives a great account into how artists and designers broke down each environment, area and concluded that for the game, three main towers were needed for the habitation, science and technology areas with engineering in lower decks.

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There is just an incredible story of inter-weaved design processes that you do not get any information about generally with a lack of awareness to the efforts and lengths that skilled artists resort to, to give gamers everything they need to enjoy a game. This book is an eye opener in terms of the complexity and processes applied to delivering the art direction. Not only is the art book beautiful to look at, page after page, but when you learn more about the development process of Alien Isolation, you really begin to appreciate the hard work into creating digital fictional worlds where we take for granted the problematical and challenging situations designers face in the concept process. Without art books like this and many others that Titan Books publish, we may never get the opportunity to see the work previously that went into the development from an artistic perspective. Not only is it a great read if you’ve never even played the game (because the game is not being reviewed by myself personally) but I found the Art of Alien Isolation additionally a great way to compare movie-to-game transitions.

The Art of Alien Isolation is a stunning collection of the art featured in the hit SEGA game and is well presented, documented and a fantastic insight into how everything shapes together to become the dark, horror setting that you will play in the videogame. The book would make an ideal gift for any Alien gaming fan or a superb purchase if you’re looking to expand your collection of gaming memorabilia.

You can search to buy this book online or visit Titan Books website, and look out for our Alien Isolation game review soon!

Win “Dragon Age: The Masked Empire” – UK Competition [CLOSED]

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THIS COMPETITION HAS ENDED AND THE WINNERS WHO WILL RECEIVE THEIR BOOK VIA POST ARE: JADE, JOHN & TRACEY. EMAILS HAVE BEEN SENT OUT REQUESTING AN ADDRESS FOR POSTAGE.

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, is the latest novel from Patrick Weekes published by TitanBooks. Released on April 8th 2014 and available to buy online. ThisisXbox have very kindly been given three copies of the novel to give out to BioWare fans in the UK (this is for speedy postage reasons) – all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this page stating why you are a Bioware fan and why you’d like to win!

Three winners will be picked at random and must be UK based, and be willing to provide an email with a postage address only after the selection process. Winners will be announced on this page Wednesday 30th April 2014 before 6pm. The novels will be posted out on Thursday if you reply promptly.

A synopsis of the novel is given below – and good luck to those entering:

Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now, the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages, even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves. To save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.

Fighting with the legendary skill of the Orlesian Chevaliers, Grand Duke Gaspard has won countless battles for the empire and the empress. But has he fought in vain? As the Circle fails and chaos looms, Gaspard begins to doubt that Celene’s diplomatic approach to the mage problem or the elven uprisings will keep the empire safe. Perhaps it is time for a new leader, one who lives by the tenets of the Chevalier’s Code, to make Orlais strong again.

Briala has been Celene’s handmaid since the two of them were children, subtly using her position to help improve the lives of elves across Orlais. She is Celene’s confidante, spymaster, and lover, but when politics force the empress to choose between the rights of Briala’s people and the Orlesian throne, Briala must in turn decide where her true loyalties lie.

Alliances are forged and promises broken as Celene and Gaspard battle for the throne of Orlais. But in the end, the elves who hide in the forests or starve in the alienages may decide the fate of the masked empire.

The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow Hardback Review

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Martin Robinson, an award winning journalist and features editor for Eurogamer is back with another entertaining and insightful hardback having previously published ‘Halo: The Art of Building Worlds’ and ‘The Art of Deadspace’ through Titan Books – his latest release is ‘The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow’, and it coincided with the retail availability of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 .

The Art of Castlevania Lords of shadow will take readers on a journey into the art production of both the original Lords of Shadow and the sequel, Lords of Shadow 2. Featuring a stunning display of concept art with detailed creator commentary through-out you will have a comprehensive insight into the fantasy world and the minds of the creators behind the popular Konami franchise. The book offers and exclusive look at Gabriel Belmont, the evolution of a legend and how Hideo Kojima helped influence the final design model during Lords of Shadow’s inception to reflect the tragedy that consumed Gabriel’s heart and the emotion that informed his story. As the main protagonist, within the art book it also details the struggles that the design team faced as they aimed to recreate one of the biggest characters for the rebooted franchise taking him from an initially planned barbarian figure to a dark and disturbing Dracula with a sombre disposition.

Further reading will inform you into the thoughts of the well-known Scottish actor, Robert Carlyle who takes on the voice acting of Gabriel and Dracula and how he even helped change the direction of the first ever trailer for Lords of Shadow. If you are a fan of the Castlevania franchise, then The Art of Castlevania will be quite an enlightening read, it may be an ‘art’ book but it’s not all just about the pictures!

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There are around thirty pages alone depicting the majority of the Belmont Family and striking art designs of Alucard, who is featured through-out Castlevania’s history, but in Lords of shadow his story was rewritten. Alucard is the inverse of Dracula, he is what becomes of Trevor Belmont and is possessed by the light within to pursue the monstrosity his father has turned into. The Belmont dynasty is shown through both images and text as well as touching on the game, Mirror of Fate, which is part of the Lords of Shadow story released on the Xbox Live Arcade. Following the details of the Belmonts, the book goes further into the imagining of the allies and antagonists within Lords of Shadows. To keep you informed if you haven’t played any of the games – the Lords of Shadows are a collection of Knights whose goal is to purge the land of evil, but eventually they end up becoming part of the evil itself.

From the re-imagining of Carmilla who appeared in the 1987 Castlevania II: Simons Quest to the lack of availability of actor Ian McKellan for Zobek’s voice which then in turn led to the casting Sir Patrick Stewart instead;  so much information is covered in the book that you’ll be a Castlevania Lords of Shadow mastermind in no time!  The later sections of The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow keep you up to speed on how the locations and environments were designed to be grand and part of the fairy-tale wilderness picture postcard settings the developers had in mind from the on-set.  The whole artbook depicts a mythical journey and how rich and detailed the design team had to be to re-write the Castlevania history. This book demonstrates the diversity, detail and attention paid to ensuring the spectacular sights are every bit as dark and psychological as per the momentum of Lords of Shadow, building upon the foundation set by the first title and continuing the trends in the latest release, Lords of Shadow 2.

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The Art of Castlevania Lords of Shadow is a stunning collection of the art featured in the hit Konami Lords of Shadow franchise and is well presented, documented and a fantastic insight into how everything shapes together to become the dark, horror theme setting that you play in the videogame. The book would make an ideal gift for any Castlevania gaming fan or a superb purchase if you’re looking to expand your collection of gaming memorabilia.

You can search to buy this book online or visit Titan Books website directly via this link.

The Art of Battlefield 4 Review

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Battlefield 4 has had its fair share of hiccups on both Xbox One and Xbox 360 since launch requiring a number of patches to correct the issues, (which is currently in-progress) but undeniably one of the key features that impress in Battlefield 4, are the striking visuals that hit you face on as soon as you start playing the game from the onset. To give you an understanding of the art direction and how this beautiful visual quality was developed from concept to reality – The Art of Battlefield 4, is available to buy now from Titan Books, and if you’re a fan of Battlefield, this really is a must have addition to accompany the game itself. You might not be a fan of books, or perhaps ever considered buying an art book before – but for the games that you love and enjoy, these art books do not only look great, but it showcases the work of the artists as well as give you some history on your favourite games.

Battlefield has been around for over a decade now, and after many years in the hands of DICE (previously known as Digital Illusions) they finally released a book full of concepts and explain how the first Battlefield game was based on the old PC title Codename Eagle, set to be more evolved and a bigger ambitious project. Thanks to that ambition and a dedicated team it paid off, and Battlefield 1942 was born; a title backed by EA that was way overdue in development time and was a do-or-die project for DICE at that time. Today, Battlefield is the closest competitor to Activision’s Call of Duty (the biggest FPS in the world) and is one of the biggest properties in entertainment for EA Games which started out as a dream from a small group of friends in a cramped Stockholm apartment! It is detail and history like this that you may never know of or thought of, but art books aren’t just stuffed full of pictures. You more often find that interesting details during the development stages are included to as well as things which did not quite make the final cut.

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The buildings and cities within Battlefield seem to get bigger and better with each game that is released and evolving architecture has been a part of Battlefield since Bad Company as the Art of Battlefield 4 defines the significant advancements in Battlefield 4. Detailing how whole office blocks and skyscrapers can come tumbling down, how the towns are built up like toy sets prepared in anticipation for the player to run through them knocking down buildings as they go. Although described in more detail through the Dam City chapter of the book, throughout you very much get a feel for how the artists consider the player in every detail. It’s not just about shaping a beautiful game it is also about what the player is expecting to see and how they are expecting even the minor details of a war torn city to appear.

The Art of Battlefield 4 is best described as the ultimate gallery of the latest game in the Battlefield series using sketches, concept art and behind the scenes commentary from the artists to bring to life each mission which is illustrated in astonishing detail. The book will take you in glorious detail down the dark, twisting alleys of Shanghai to snow covered peaks and colossal dams with the games’ art shown in all stages of production including how buildings are destroyed and re-built. Chapters are broken down into geographical areas of Battlefield 4, Characters and Multiplayer. What it does showcase is that if there’s a theme to Battlefield 4, it is that things go very wrong, very quickly and as both a reader and gamer you witness the technical vision and dramatics from the viewpoint of the artists.

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You can read our review of Battlefield 4 which scored an impressive 80% here:

Battlefield 4 is a great FPS title which has made a welcome return to offering a solid Multiplayer experience but also giving a memorable Single Player campaign that will have you replaying the mission to get those missing collectibles and is a challenge for experience FPS players. Visually impressive with amazing audio, Battlefield 4 ticks a lot of boxes as an FPS fan and with Xbox One enhancing this experience even more with greater numbers of players online and more refined visuals…

The Art of Battlefield 4 is available to buy now from TitanBooks via this direct link, and would make a great addition to your gaming memorabilia or to gain deeper insight into the development of Battlefield 4 itself. As always, hardcover art books make great gifts for gamers, but The Art of Battlefield 4 is a definite must-have book for any Battlefield fan!

Thanks to TitanBooks for providing thisisxbox.com with The Art of Battlefield 4.

The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Review

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Here at thisisxbox.com we are no stranger to receiving the occasional art book from Titan Books that bode well with accompanying your favourite franchise. Having read every page of Halo: The Art of Building Worlds, The Art of Dead Space, we are pleased to now peruse the pages of The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag in hardback written by Paul Davies (Official Nintendo, CVG).

Whether you are a hardcore fan of Assassin’s Creed or not, there is no denying that the story telling within the franchises’ history from Ubisoft is utterly compelling. It reels you in slowly and uses factual events from the past as modern day entertainment on our consoles, but with some stunning environments of a world that once was; you can only imagine how much detail and planning went into the lavishly depicted environments.  This is where an accompanying art book can step in and show you how everything that you have enjoyed playing originated in art form. It also allows the games’ art directors to tell you the concept behind each scene and explain their reasoning for such detail in the interactive environments that we get to see on screen.

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Abstergo as shown in glorious detail over a few pages

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is a game that is available now on Xbox 360 and shortly for Xbox One, we scored the Xbox 360 edition 8/10 in our review:

One of the best changes to the actual gameplay Ubisoft have made is the tweaks to the infamous tailing sequences—mostly in the form of an overhauled Eagle Vision system. Now, besides seeing the group affiliation of everyone in a crowd, you can also tag your targets. This allows you to see them through walls and buildings so you can follow them from a much farther distance than in previous entries. This can make sneaking around heavily populated enemy islands and forts a lot easier. That said, it can and does feel a little over powered at times. X-ray vision is something just shouldn’t exist in this game, in my opinion. Another change that players will no doubt be thankful for is the new gun mechanics. Much more similar to what we come to expect in traditional third-person-shooter’s, you’ll find it is much easier to use your pistols and pull off headshots.

The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, is broken down into sections relating key elements of the main video game. Starting with ABSTERGO, the concept art for Abstergo Entertainment HQ includes intricate ship structures and Caribbean vegetation to help with a sense of immersion in the new environments of Assassin’s Creed IV. The book shows how Abstergo’s lobby area was originally inspired by Japanese architecture and culture before the nautical themes took more prominence to suit the game’s theme and spirit. You can immediately sense from the concept designs and art that although a small area within the game itself, every single room has to make a connection to the game to give a feel for the conflict between antiquity and modernity. The lab-like ascetics depict well the undertone to Abstergo and perhaps some hidden agenda.

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Edward Kenway – imagined in ways you have not previously seen!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE, highlights the key art for the pirates themselves which make up the characters within the two factions who are embroiled in the secret war between the Templars and the Assassin’s. Key artists who worked on creating the look of the main protagonist Edward Kenway, explain how a young brash character born in Cardiff UK is first a pirate who later becomes an Assassin, how a hero with many complexities was visually inspired by Patrick Swayze in the movie Point Break!  The book later details how many of the Pirates were easier to create once a ‘main’ look had been established; it was then a matter of visual patchworks and a mix of uniforms. Graphically the art book details key characters and how their appearance responds to their personality traits from both factions. It proves to be very informative, I didn’t personally review the game for thisisxbox.com, but through the book I have detailed understanding of the story, the characters and the environments featured within it.

A TALE OF THREE CITIES, Art Director Raphael Lacoste retraces the steps of bringing to life three very different cities within Assassin’s Creed IV and touches on the many months creating landscapes and landmarks that feature within the game. Havana, Kingston and Nassau all have outstanding beautiful concept art designs that show how the design team reflect the feeling of order, stormy atmospherics and coastal shallow reef’s to present a pirates life. Old Forts, Shipwrecks, Graveyards and a series of illustrations that were actually used for pitching missions could be framed artwork in their own right! What the art book also interestingly allows you to see is some of the cut environments from the game also – Port au Prince was a whole city entirely cut from the game, but some of the buildings were inspiration for other areas within the main game. With this chapter you get an interesting take on how Port au Prince was a town built on strong slopes. You never know it might return as DLC in the future or a sequel?

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Includes concept art for cities removed completely from the main game

Although there are chapters that show the art of exploration and sea battles, the key chapter for me and the highlight of the book itself is PIRATE LIFE, a whole section dedicated to the dramatic settings within Assassin’s Creed IV and how the initial thought of how meeting Blackbeard must have been a breathtaking moment. This for artist Kobe Sek was the most satisfying concept for the project because of the mood that needed to be expressed in design form. This chapter also shows some of the fine weapons, and sailing ships used as concepts which are very detailed in their designs.  You can see how the game has evolved from initial thought process to portraying life on the actual ships – how pirates lived, breathed and the tools needed for their piracy operations. The art work in this section is absolutely stunning and it is easy to forget how important that art direction plays in the concept of video game design. The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag will show you many important aspects of the latest video game through the eyes of the art team and how everything pieces together and evolved into what you are likely playing now on your Xbox 360.

The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is available to buy now from TitanBooks via this direct link, and would make a great addition to your gaming memorabilia or to gain deeper insight into the development of the Black Flag itself. As always hardcover art books make great gifts for gamers and if you’re stuck for a present to buy this Christmas for a gamer, why not make it a book?

Thanks to TitanBooks for providing thisisxbox.com with The Art of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.

Devil May Cry: The Vergil Chronicles From Titan Comics

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Titan Comics is pleased to announce the launch of the Devil May Cry: The Vergil Chronicles graphic novel.

Based on the re-imagination of Capcom’s stunning Devil May Cry videogame, the series divulges the shocking secrets behind this world-famous saga. Set against a contemporary backdrop, Devil May Cry depicts a duplicitous world where nothing is ever as it seems and the line between good and evil is constantly blurred. In a world controlled by demons, Dante is humanity’s last remaining hope.But Dante is lost, imprisoned far from the human world. Accompanied by Kat, a human psychic, and nearly driven insane by his inner demon, Dante’s twin brother Vergil must now attempt a rescue!

This comic prequel reveals the crucial backstory of the franchise’s hero, Dante, and his twin brother Vergil; with never-before-told revelations about these iconic game characters!

Due for release from August 27th 2013. More information can be found on the Titan Comics official website.

Look out for our review in due course.