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The Pickford BrothersJohn and Ste

 

Plok work

Concept art and Promo art from around the time of the SNES release

After the end of Zippo and Rare Manchester, and consequently the end of the Fleapit coin-op project, we kept working on Plok, certain that we had the makings of a great game, and which the new generation of 16-bit consoles were powerful enough to handle.

The concept art I did during this period had four purposes; to pitch Plok as a SNES game to Software Creations, and subsequently to publishers, to support the development of the SNES game, to illustrate the SNES manual, and to expand the Plok universe in preparation for further titles.

After going crazy with the Letratone with the Fleapit concept art, this time I had just discovered magic markers for the first time. Wow! Flat, even colour on a sheet of paper. I was amazed, and went a bit mad with the magic markers for all the Plok concept art.

Style-guides

I'd worked on quite a few licensed games by this time, and on some of the better ones we would be given expensively produced style-guides from the licensors; folders filled with concept art and character designs showing acceptable poses, correct relative proportions of characters, pantone colours etc. All designed for the production of merchandise rather than video games, and not always that much use to us (pantone colours didn't translate to the SNES palette very well...), but they seemed to be the signature of a 'proper' character. We'd been shown something similar which Rare had prepared for their Battletoads characters before they'd even finished the first game, so producing a style-guide seemed to be the first step towards making a successful franchise. Looking back it all seems wildly optimistic, but I started producing colour charts dreamily expecting them to be used as the basis for dozens of future Plok titles and merchandising spin offs, hehe.

Plok poses

About half way through doing these we got the idea that we could use them for the game manual, which Tradewest were happy with (we usually had no involvement in game packaging at all), so, excited by the thought of seeing my drawings in print, I spent many evenings and weekends doing free artwork for the publisher.

Costumes

There were several different costumes in the game that Plok could find, which were time limited power-ups, each of which altered his abilities for a short period.

Vehicles

There were also several vehicles that could be found in the game, which Plok used to navigate secret short-cut levels.

Baddies

Mainly the fleas really, as they were the only main baddie we would have kept in future games.

Bosses

A couple of the bosses in the SNES game were designed by the Lead Artist and Lead Programmer (Lyndon Brooke and John Buckley), and John and I didn't have much to do with them, so I didn't do any promo art for them as they weren't my designs. The Bobbins Bros and Rockyfella we definitely would have used again in any further games.

Scenes

These were drawings I did after the completion of the SNES game, as part of a package of materials we were building up for for future products and sequels.

Ste Pickford, 17th October 2004

 

We are The Pickford Bros, veteran independent video game designers based in the UK.

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