Posted by Ken McDonnell @Ken
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Ken McDonnell

Star Wars: FORCE COLLECTION is an action packed card battle game for iOS and Android devices. Users have the potential to collect over 230 character cards and discover special vehicle blueprints to create the ultimate Battle Formations in the Star Wars universe.

But what goes on behind the scenes of Konami's successful mobile title? What's it like to be gifted the opportunity to work with one of the most beloved IPs in the world and bring it all to life in the form of FORCE COLLECTION? We had the opportunity to ask the design team, who bring the cards of the game to life, what it's like to work on such a successful Star Wars product.

The Art Behind Star Wars: FORCE COLLECTION

For the purposes of the interview, the team chose to focus on two pieces of art depicting characters from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Qui-Gon Jinn:

And Darth Maul:

What was the goal behind these images?

These cards represent an iconic battle scene from Star Wars™: Episode I – The Phantom Menace drawn in unique perspectives to highlight some of their fighting styles. Our goal was to illustrate their dynamic movements while retaining a realistic appearance.
Qui-Gon Jinn has a unique action where he strikes through using a turn-around spin, so we wanted to feature that.
We tried to appropriately capture Darth Maul’s moves and actions, which resemble martial arts. In order to portray how powerful and menacing Darth Maul is, we tried to make him more vicious and evil

What is it like to work with the Star Wars brand?

It’s like a dream. Many of us experienced the first trilogy when the movie first premiered, and we dreamed of being involved with Star Wars.

These images depict different stages of the process of completing a character, roughly how long did it take to get from picture 1 to 5 with Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn?

Stage 1:

Stage 3:

Stage 1:

Stage 3:

These were the first illustrated cards for Star Wars: FORCE COLLECTION, so we had to develop the correct artistic direction that new cards would take moving forward. In total, it took about three months.

The art style is very unique. Did the team initially plan for a more animated style, did anything change over time?

Originally, the cards used in Star Wars: FORCE COLLECTION had a realistic style. When we introduced illustrated cards we decided to continue with this more realistic look.

How many individuals work on one image?

Generally, one person illustrates each card. Many people, including the licensor, are involved with the feedback process.

What were the team's favorite Star Wars characters to recreate?

Early image of Darth Maul
Early image of Darth Maul
All of them, actually. Each card has its own unique setup and background story. Some of the cards we illustrate are not seen in the film. Some of our particularly favorite illustrations include:
• Darth Vader (The Penultimate Conflict): He is one of the most important characters in Star Wars. In order to do the character justice, we had to make him perfect.
• Ben Kenobi: We have not had a 5-star card for this character in long time, so we put our heart and soul into it when we created it.
• Cad Bane: A key character from The Clone Wars. One of our personal favorites.
• Darth Maul [Malice Reborn]: We wanted to release this version of Darth Maul from the beginning, so it was a big achievement for us.

How do Konami's staff feel about Jar Jar Binks?

He is definitely a fun character to work with. When we created a 5-star Jar Jar Binks card, we intentionally chose a comical expression for him. We wanted the expression to seem like Jar Jar was mocking his opponents. We hope to use Jar Jar Binks for some in-game jokes in the future.

7. Darth Maul & Qui-Gon are both from The Phantom Menace. Was Lucasfilm's new trilogy a great source of inspiration for the animators?

Yes, we are heavily inspired by the prequel trilogy which draws galaxy-sized battles in more detail. Of course we are also largely affected by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

8. Do you look at The Clone Wars and other Star Wars material like comics and novels for ideas? Or do they mostly come from the films?

We like to draw on inspiration from a variety of sources. When creating a card, we make sure we fully understand the background of each character before we start creating it.

9. What did you all think of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Who was your favorite character from the film that you'd like to draw for Star Wars: FORCE COLLECTION?

It was very exciting. We found ourselves shedding tears at the end.
Of course we like Rey and Kylo Ren. Poe Dameron was particularly really cool in the movie so we were happy to release the card early.
We don’t know how active a role Finn will be taking in the upcoming feature, but he is a really good character so we hope to have the opportunity to work on another card for him.
Also, there’s still a lot of mystery with Luke, so when we find out more about the next film, we hope to work on his card as well.

What do you think of the art style for FORCE COLLECTION?