Due to professional interest, but also thanks to my general love for art, I’m always on the lookout for artbooks. They’re good for reference or just ordinary perusal on a rainy day, and I collect just about anything and everything that catches my eye.
Several of my shelves, however, are especially dedicated to the realms of fantasy and sci-fi. Over the years, I’ve amassed artbooks featuring masterpieces by the greats such as Frank Frazetta or Brom, but also gaming-related books containing graphics and concept art from games like Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, etc.
Today, I want to give some love to The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I was ecstatic to add to my collection this week. Remember, I was initially disappointed that no artbook was included in the retail collector’s edition of the game, but now that I am holding this gem in my hands, I am beginning to understand why. The Art and Making of SWTOR is a masterpiece in and of itself. It’s a hefty hardcover of good quality, filled with full-colored images of digital pictures and concept art, and pages and pages of commentary to go with it.
Topics covered include the things you’d expect: class design, planets and environments, species, creatures, ships, weapons, armor, etc., etc., etc. But since this is technically a “Making Of” book as well, you also get developer insights into the creation of the game, everything from commentary on SWTOR’s evolution from its roots in Knight of the Old Republic, to the multitude of challenges BioWare faced when moving into the MMO space.
There are also other interesting tidbits on the game’s development, random facts about the game I picked up as I read through the pages. One of my favorites is the section at the back, called “Verbal Cubism”. Did you know that beyond the main dialogue, thirty-thousand lines of alien-speak were recorded for SWTOR? The book states: “To put this in perspective, [that's] more than the entire script for Mass Effect or both KOTOR games combined. Just in aliens.” Pretty neat.
If you 1) have a general interest in game art and concept art, or 2) are a big fan of SWTOR, then this book is definitely worth it. Since both those descriptions apply to me, I must say I am quite pleased. I’ve been flipping through the pages admiring the beautiful pieces in there since I got it. I wish I could showcase them all, but there are just too many. Here are, however, some of the highlights and my favorites: