Marathon’s Art Style Is Inspired From Mirror’s Edge, Reveals Director



Story Highlights

  • Marathon’s art director has extensively discussed the various works this game’s art style has taken inspiration from.
  • Mirror’s Edge, Aeon Flux, Otomo, Koji Morimoto, Ghost in the Shell, The Designers Republic, and Chris Cunningham are among those that have innovated Marathon’s art style.
  • Sports like Formula 1 and MotoGP have also considerably influenced the visuals.
  • Due to the creativity expressed in Marathon’s art style, it has definitely stood out more among the games shown during PlayStation Showcase 2023.

After receiving praise over Marathon’s art style revealed in a trailer during the PlayStation Showcase 2023, art director, Joseph Cross, made a Twitter thread discussing the different media that the game has been inspired from. Cross revealed the official term “Graphic Realism” for Marathon’s art style and how games like Mirror’s Edge and Aeon Flux, along with others, are the major sources of its innovation.

Though the thread is long, it provides great insight into this unique title. Cross started by appreciating the praise Marathon’s trailer received for its art style, discussing the team’s hard work. He mentioned the specific term for the art style: “Officially we call it ‘Graphic Realism,’ this is mainly a production facing term.” 

This is mainly a production facing term meant to frame how we think about and prioritize aspects of our visual world. On one side it’s about a simplified/deconstructed universal design language, strong graphic design and color statements, and limited materials. The other side is about realistic proportions & scale, implied functional & detail, and a generally grounded world.”

Cross talked about their aim to create a visual “brand” of science fiction that can withstand the trials of time. He presented Metal Gear Solid 2, the original Marathon, and Wipeout as examples of some titles that are “full of interesting visual qualities and ideas,” and are on par with current-gen titles like The Last of Us, God of War, and Death Stranding. 

Moving forward to the visual influences, Cross stated, “Mirrors Edge, Aeon Flux, Ghost in the Shell, Otomo, Koji Morimoto, The Designers Republic, Chris Cunningham, are all definitely in our ‘stew’ of inspiration.” Moreover, Into the Spiderverse and the work of Alberto Mielgo and Johnny Hardstaff were a source of strength and inspiration for the team to take more visual initiatives and creative risks.

Surprisingly, Cross and the team’s inspiration was not limited to just games and pieces of blockbuster media; Marathon is also considerably influenced by sports like Formula 1 and MotoGP. The level of transparency provided by Joseph Cross has made the game much more exciting, as there are hints of their favorite media brought together into what feels like a visual beauty.

Marathon is a PvP extraction shooter developed by Bungie, and although many details are still not revealed, the trailer showed what we could expect from the game. It will be visually pleasing, with bold and vibrant colors incorporated into the original Marathon vibe. It will be released on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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