The forthcoming artbook by award-winning garden designer Rob Dwiar, Genius Loci: A Grand Tour of Video Game Landscapes and Gardens, will be fully funded with only a few more backers. Genius Loci was accepted for publication in April, 2021. The artbook is just about ready for print.
The term “genius loci” translates from Latin to “the spirit of a place.” This was a reference to the various gods and goddesses that were believed to inhabit particular groves and springs. The term is mostly used these days by architects and designers to describe the overall character of a location. This would be what Dwiar seeks to capture when it comes to video game landscapes.
“From rigorously designed palace gardens to expansive natural lands and from alien planets with weird and wonderful plants to terrains imbued with meaning and symbolism, an expansive range of landscapes can be explored, traversed, and enjoyed in games,” Dwiar says. In the tradition of eighteenth century tourism, he proposes to “guide readers on a journey across video game histories, geographies, and stories” while offering “detailed appreciation and analysis along the way.”
Dwiar promises to “shed light on the background, history, typology, horticulture and botany, and landscape and garden design features,” revealing what “real-world traits and approaches can be found in each place to give a thorough journey across a multitude of games and places.”
Genius Loci will be a deep dive into environment art and level design. The point is to bridge the gap between what players are able to see in games and what they can see in the world around them.
“The landscapes, gardens, and horticulture found within video games have come on such leaps and bounds in the past few decades that there is much to talk about, look at, and get lost in. Real-life garden design features and approaches now feature in game design, accurate portrayal, use, and combination of plants finish landscapes to a beautiful degree of detail, environment design has deeper levels of meaning and narrative importance than ever, and even the most prominent and high-profile games can see players engage in horticulture. Genius Loci will see all of this and more explored through dozens of places and games.”
The artbook will showcase more than 40 gardens and landscapes from Dishonored and Dishonored 2, Dragon Age Inquisition, BioShock and BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect, The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Valhalla, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us, Oblivion and Skyrim, Fallout 4, Death Stranding, Red Dead Redemption 2, Ghost of Tsushima, and several other games.
Genius Loci will be a full-colour, high-quality hardback with over 40,000 words across more than 200 pages. The artbook will feature upwards of 100 game photographs taken by Dwiar.
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