Look, Destiny has some cool space wizards and fancy lighting, but as anyone who played the beta can vouch for, the main attraction of the game's visuals was that sky.
It's not that it's realistic. It's hyper-realistic. It's every postcard and Western movie and motivational poster with the sky on it rolled into one.
Realising this, Bungie's website has an interview up with Mark Goldsworthy, an artist at the studio whose job title is Image Architect. Which sounds a bit naff until you consider what he (and his team) do.
Their work isn't just art, it's engineering. Sure, the skies look beautiful thanks to the colours and imagery, but they're so breathtaking because of the way they seamlessly blend into the game's levels.
"We work closely with the world environment art team, iterating and evolving the skies and landscapes alongside the playable areas", Goldsworthy says. "As the worlds develop, so do the skies. We can bounce ideas off one another and react to new work that enters each build. We prefer to hand-craft the landscape and cloud arrangements rather than use large, static photo wraps."
Being hand-crafted, and not just a single huge image, means that the sky can shift and transition just like a real one. "Sky and atmosphere really help establish the mood. The sky needs to be dynamic. It's made of many individual components that move and change as celestial bodies travel from horizon to horizon."
That all takes a lot of work, work you'd probably never appreciate were it not given a shout-out like this, so if you're into how pretty the skies are and want to learn how they were actually made, be sure to read the full interview.
To see the larger pics in all their glory (or, if they’re big enough, so you can save them as wallpaper), click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner.
Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!