FIVE Questions with a FIVE GUY: Stephen Daniele, Art Director

 In Studio

This week we sat down with the charismatic streamer/art director/concept artist/world builder extraordinaire Stephen Daniele, to learn how he went from art student to Art Director for Kingdom Games.


Why are you an artist?

Frazetta’s art really captured my attention. I loved his artwork; I loved all the fantasy artwork of the 70’s and 80’s –think Conan the Barbarian. For the longest time, I wanted to do cover artwork for fantasy novels. Eventually, I worked on Dungeons & Dragons and it was awesome.


When did you start on the path to be an artist?

My first job was working with architects; they taught me so much about structural design and the relationship between positive and negative space. I still use what they taught me when I build environments.

I wanted to be a solider, then an astronaut, then an artist—in that order. I wanted to be able to tell stories with images. The first real push wasn’t until 7th grade though. My art teacher was this 6’6” Vietnam vet, Jeff Dodd. He had a profound impact on me.  I had drawn a few still life images of birds, and without telling me, he entered them into a competition. I won, and art has been my driving passion ever since.


What games inspired you to get into the industry?

I was a huge fan of the Lucas Arts adventure games like Indiana Jones and Monkey Island, but the original Tomb Raider opened my eyes to a different world. Your ability to simply explore the area, without a HUD or other distractions, really inspired me. The relationship with the character in this 3rd person perspective pushed me into this industry. I had to develop in the medium.


What are your goals with art in games?

At a base level, games are entertainment, so it’s always important to make sure you have a compelling story, visuals, and gameplay. The games I enjoy the most blend interactivity with that social multiplayer aspect.

Specifically to art direction though, I want the visuals to do a lot of heavy lifting. When I think of my favorite game series—Gears of War, Borderlands, Dead Space, and Ico—the environment and visuals tell you so much about the world. The technology, the colors, the atmosphere—it all tells a part of the story. Without those key elements, the games wouldn’t have had such a strong impact on me.


Why’d you join the Kingdom Games Team?

I really like the mission statement; and I accept the challenge of telling Biblical stories in this medium. To date, there hasn’t been a really solid entry. Kingdom Games is taking the challenge and pushing to offer a new audience a door into these stories.

The story of David is one of hundreds of other stories that would make for amazing titles.


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