Austin-based company Mondo has risen to glory in the last few years, designing one cool movie poster after another and even doing the same for some TV shows. Now, EW is excited to share the first-ever Mondo video game poster, a very cool image designed to capture the insane wonder of Insomniac Games’ buzzy, hyperkinetic actioner Sunset Overdrive.
Check out the poster:
EW spoke to designers at Mondo and Insomniac Games about how this collaboration came together.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you guys decide to get Mondo to posterize Sunset Overdrive?
James Stevenson, Community Lead, Insomniac Games: Mondo first captured my imagination with its Star Wars series, particularly the triptych by British designer Olly Moss. We later worked with Olly directly to create box art for Resistance 3, and I started grabbing more and more screen prints that Mondo was releasing, to the point where I have a full flat file for a coffee table.
I’ve always wanted to see some of Mondo’s stable of great artists take on video games, and Sunset Overdrive seemed like a perfect fit for something crazy. When Justin (Ishmael) and Mitch (Putnam) suggested Matt Taylor, I was ecstatic, as I have some of his work framed on my walls, and I’ve loved his style and use of color. He really bought into the world and nailed the tone with his image.
This is the first time Mondo has done a video game print. What attracted you to Sunset Overdrive?
Justin Ishmael, Mondo CEO: We’d noticed the game from trailers and early announcements and the art really caught our eye. Eventually Microsoft showed us assets and other behind-the-scenes materials and it all looked so nuts and seemed really cool… so we decided to give it a shot! We knew Matt Taylor was the perfect guy for the project and he definitely delivered.
Matt, your poster captures a bit of the hyperkinetic tone of Sunset Overdrive, but it’s also draped in shadow and just a couple of very stark colors. Can you talk about how you arrived on that visual style for the poster?
Matt Taylor, Mondo artist: I wanted the poster to stand alone as its own thing, rather than just be a continuation of the look of the promotional and box art that was already out there. The box art was a crazy, maximalist, throw-everything-in-and-the-kitchen-sink-too piece of illustration, and there was no way I could compete with that. So I decided to go aggressively bold, blocky, and colorful and still try and capture the tone of the game, hence the onomatopoeic BOOM in the explosion.
Something that stood out for me in the materials I was given was that the user can customize the main character up to the hilt–so there is essentially no set look for the player. With this in mind I thought that silhouetting the figures would give the poster a central figure without specifically suggesting the player look a certain way.
Were there any earlier ideas for the print that were radically different?
Taylor: The only differences between this and the [initial] sketch were mainly additions of extra weapons and game-specific background elements.
I’d like to hear how you guys developed the distinctive look of Sunset Overdrive. In particular, were there any visual references or influences you drew upon?
Drew Murray, Game Director, Insomniac Games: We just had a huge, motley collection of everything that Marcus Smith (Creative Director) and I (Game Director) thought was cool–rock ‘n’ roll photographs of Iggy Pop and Pete Townsend; vintage Halloween masks; Banksy and other stencil-graffiti art; Hindu religious art; Nigerian “Hyena Men”; ’70s and ’80s action movies like The Warriors, Escape from New York, Repo Man, and Streets of Fire; artists like Jamie Hewlett, Jeff Koons and Pierre et Gilles; punk rock fliers; anime such as Tekkon Kinkreet; and a ton of other things that we’d collected.
I think we actually overwhelmed the partners of Insomniac with our first presentation, showing all of these things together. To be fair to them, it probably looked like we’d just dumped out a bunch of the weirdest images that we could find.
Matt, how would you describe the aesthetic of Sunset Overdrive, given that it’s drawing on so many different things?
Taylor: It’s like comics, movies, video games, and art have all been thrown in a pop-culture blender and this is the result. There’s so much in there that it’s almost a game in itself, spotting the references to cult movies or modern art and design. It sums up where we’re at aesthetically right now.