My name is Toni and I live a double life. My friends know me as a Star Wars superfan; my work colleagues at Rovio HQ know me as the art director for Angry Birds Star Wars.
What this means is that my Star Wars Blog debut is actually a really, really big deal for me.
I’m here to talk about some of the decisions that went into directing the art for our new game, and also leave you guys with a little exclusive that can be found within Angry Birds Star Wars when it launches on November 8.
Recognize the above? It’s Luke Skywalker and his crashed X-wing in Dagobah’s Dragonsnake Bog. This is what I’d like to talk about.
When merging the Angry Birds and Star Wars universes, from the outset our core objective was to take the iconic designs from both worlds and make them gel in a natural way. We knew that both worlds were very different, but it was clear that both share a distinct, recognizable look and feel.
So how do we make the two worlds gel? Well, conceptually, that part is fairly straightforward. The slingshot is the weapon of the Angry Birds, so it should somehow be visible in the Rebel starfighters. In this X-wing design, the wings have been replaced by a horizontal slingshot with an energy beam running in between the tips.
If you look carefully you can also see a small, egg-shaped R2-D2 nestled snugly into the top of the X-wing. In this world, the droids are all eggs and that’s actually one of the core constants we’ve kept between the Angry Birds and Star Wars universes. The pigs have been the villains of our Angry Birds games, famed for hunting down eggs that the birds are so hellbent on protecting. In Star Wars: Episode IV, it doesn’t change: the Empire wants those droids. Maintaining this focus in the art was a conscious decision on our part.
Again, this direction can be seen in our vehicles, too, with the X-wing housing a golden nest right behind the cockpit, which the R2 egg-unit slots right into.
We’ve kept the X-wing silhouette completely recognizable and you may need to look twice before noticing all of the differences with the original version. This is the same with the rest of our vehicles, with the same consistent logic defining how we fuse these two worlds together.
Before I go, we can’t forget Yoda. This is actually the first proper image we have released of him and, yes, I’m aware that it is only showing the back of his head.
Yoda was originally meant to pay homage to one of the Blue Birds. After all, they’re fan favorites and about the same size as the little old Jedi. However, after a few iterations, we decided to craft something a little more unique. I mean, Yoda is one of the greatest, most iconic movie characters of all time — we needed to make it special and went for an older, wise-owl look for him.
And, when we finally do put Yoda in action, we have something equally special up our sleeves for him! Just have to wait and see, you will.
Find out more from Toni Kysenius, the art director of Angry Birds Star Wars, on a live hangout with Rovio and Lucasfilm on November 7, 11 p.m. PST.