Retold art changes lack charm

The original AOM’s art style had a charming retro aesthetic inspired by classic art and movies, such as Ray Harryhausen’s Claymation, The Ten Commandments, and the 19th century Norse Mythology paintings of Hans Thoma.

Yet various redesigns in Retold abandon this choice in favor of a more generic “epic mythology” art, as seen in games like God of War and Asgard’s Wrath. This is most visible with the new god art, such as Loki and Gaia, as well as the Medusa, Cerberus, and the Minotaur redesign.

Now that isn’t to say all of the original charm is gone. Most of the remastered units and gods shown so far are faithful to that timeless and classic look, but those few that deviate from it stick out like a sore thumb to me.

So to clarify, I don’t hate the overall look of the game, just those bits that ignore Ensemble’s intentional stylistic choices for the original game.

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Agreed. I am fine with the graphics of the game and what I’ve seen from it at this point in time, but the art of the gods is something that’s too iconic for me to change.

Gaia, Seth, Athena or Thor all look weird to me.

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I had the same feeling about sc or war3 remakes

The old arts had some distinct grotesque styles in them, it cannot be simply explained by the concepts like “nostalgia” and “low resolution” people like throwing on you.

Like some units in original sc or war3 were not handsome-looking. They were ugly or even creepy but in a memorable way. The icons of some protoss units were dark and gloomy but now they all become “yet another noble warrior”.

Remake arts tend more towards the generic “cool, epic, majestic, super polished, heavily decorated” style that you can find a lot on deviantart.

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When EE was announced I got really worried about this kind of change because of some pictures like this one:

I absolutely love original gods arts, but I kinda get the point of modernizing them a bit. At least the ones of Loki and Poseidon I loved. Gaia I loved the new Titan, not much the one in the cover art.
The cover art looks a bit like mobile generic games, unfortunately.

When we open EE, that’s the Zeus we get:

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I only hope that the character design was intended to mark the dichotomy between the destructiveness of Cronos and the vitalism of Gaia, although for now he looks like Groot instead of having a motherly face. “Political correctness” couldn’t matter less to those of us who played this marvel back in its days; The least we expect is for our game to be respected, something they clearly didn’t do with AoE 3.

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Aside from me liking the Medusa and Loki redesign I agree with everything.
I’m going to repeat some things I said in another thread to urge the developers to rethinks some designs because I am very emotionally invested in AoM since my childhood and would love to see it thrive.
My complains are mostly with atlantean mythical units (not the Satyr though, it looks good).

Argus: Looks darn close like a Zerg Overlord from Starcraft 2. Literally alien to everything else.
Automaton: Looks like something from early seasons of League of Legends, probably because of the glowing eyes from a void of a face.
Gaia: As mentioned by multiple people, she looks straight up like she doesn’t belong in here, could be the lacking nose in combination with the mouth. I would have been open to a Tree+Moss/Nature theme similiar to God of War, but not if she ends up looking like Groot.
Most of what we see from the others looks like it could be from anywhere from the 90’s games styles to current times while Gaia’s style popped up around 2016 at the earliest and it is not something that fits, wether I like it or not.

The devs job should only be to update the fidelity of the old and not change the style/feel to something they prefer.

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This is my thoughts excactly, thanks for putting it into much fewer words than I could ever manage.

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I don’t have much complaints about the current image based on the information I have, but I think Gaia is a bit of a design flaw.
Someone said the new design better represents her identity as “Mother Nature”, but I personally would like to say that she is essentially “Mother Earth” and not a “Spirit of Tree”. The latest her image seems like the female Ver. of Groot from GotG or Treant in modern fantasy.

Considering her attributes in the story, it’s still understandable that she would be given plant-related characteristics, but it doesn’t seem necessary to be the embodiment of a tree herself. And another problem is that, as someone pointed out above, the cartoon-like design weakens her impression as a “Mother Goddess”.

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tbh. her skin should be made of earth not wood.
She already got all the other plant stuff going on.

I’m pretty sure the original design showed a little to much skin to be remade in high quality.

i don’t know why some are so picky about some new art/design directions but i respect it since my pickyness about myth creature designs which are in my opinion more or less flawed in the original game gets respected too.

but if you argue with the memory factor it in fact is nostalgia, you see some out of a persective you remember and contact something superior positive with that memory. thats nostalgia in my honest opinion.

i understand the argument about the “too much decorative” design and that this is often too much. this bothers me too in my games. but not this one cause i REALLY don’t see any design which is overdone and overdecorated. in fact i think everything has a clear purpose and is simple yet very effective designed so far.some more details of course, but in a wise placed and immersive way.

gaia (seth and argus) seem to be the biggest topics regarding new designs.i understand that gaia is a drastic change and drastic changes are often not very welcome from ppl who like to be in their good old memories.

but seth? he never really was in any main promotion art for AoM and his head seems to in fact resemble the head of at least one of the creatues he is portrayed with. of course doesn’t look badass as the original one (which looked more like a horse-head or something?) and the new head looks more cute due to the fact the connected animal looks also adorbale appereance wise. but the splashart/wallpaper and its design is a topic of its own. (partly agree it looks too mobile-ish)

and argus…? really? i see everything alien is connected to starcraft now… you can’t invent the wheel new gentlemen. also you really can’t argue it looks too alien if the orginial was so alien and goofy looking it could have been right out of either a pixar, ghostbuster or marsattack movie. if we want to argue about argus then if a unit like this should in general even be a myth unit and not how its design “should be”.

about gaia i am torn apart personally. my 12 year old me really liked the old gaia titan design for obvious reasons. but it was always a quite generic design, something ppl argue about the new desings (which is a bit of a contradiction) her old design wasn’t even consistent with her god portray and her temple statue… also why should a “mother” be portayed more human? why does it have to have a nose to be a mother-figure? there are beings without a prominent nose who give birth. also now she looks way more connected to nature and like an ancient being connected to all living and not like a ######## i can see why some say "why does she have to have bark as her skin? and yeah that could be an argument but i think they wanted to show her ancient, primordial thematic with a bark skin which looks long living, aged and also a bit alien for an ordinary human being. you could still say “away with the bork” but what instead then? skin out of earth/dirt? out of rocks like they did in god of war? i think bark looks at least somewhat elegant.
i also REALLY like the idea that titans across the board should look less human and more primordial and “alien”. to separate them from the gods which are all portrayed human and to make them more ancient looking than the gods.
i think whoever had this design deicision and whoever give the new changes a “go” did the right thing. you can’t always stay in the past. i enjoyed played WC3 campaign and WC3 mods on lan-parties with friends but when i look now at the graphics they aged badly and only their nostagic-charm keeps the design tolerable. otherwise i would call it ugly and it doesn’t really catch me anymore. (since some use WC3 and similar games as an example)
ppl who try new things should be welcomed cause otherwise we would get stuck and we should support brave devs and don’t scare them away cause we see how way too many games get stuck in doing always the same to not take any risks scared about the earnings… thats why i think we should give them positive feedback in that regard and give them confidence that other devs/publishers of other games see this and show more courage to innovate.
also now gaia looks more connected to dryads design and i didn’t see anyone ranting about the dryad design even i think the old game did dryads really no favour in their design…

i think this guy points it out straight to the point regarding certain design decisions. also about gaia:

(2) Age of Mythology: Retold - Reveal Screenshots Trivia and Speculation - YouTube

but what i agree with here is that:

  • seth even looking accurate to his description he looks too adorable and should look more menacing.
  • the wallpaper/splashart looks overall too clean and mobile like

minotaurs finally looks badass and menacing. really hope this design-direction gets over to trolls aswell.

In the case of Dryads, the design did not seem very beautiful, contrary to the description, but it is not unsatisfactory. Because they are truly “Tree Nymphs.” Since they do not represent the whole of Mother Nature or personify the Earth, they can be evaluated using a more lenient standard.

Just to be clear, I’m not particularly obsessed with relics of the past. I don’t think it’s necessary to follow old portraits or unit models as long as the design is more suitable for Gaia.

By the way, I quite like the new designs of the other gods that we can see at the moment. So far, I like all the ones I know because of their elegant designs. Especially, I love how the Sun is placed on Ra’s head.

About this point you are mentioning: I am personally NOT the biggest fan of how busy and clean the wallpaper looks. But I like the colours and the idea to place the heroes in the middle for example. its still a solid wallpaper tho but could need some improvement especially since every god portray will get effected by this i am heavily certain.

About the gods portrayed: if I look at it from an objective standpoint I agree that Ra is one of the best looking at the moment. I agree with the sun detail.
Otherwise I would say Loki is pretty good, Isis is good, Athena is solid, Zeus is solid, Odin is good. Personally also not the biggest fan of Seth and Thor. Poseidon is alright but I liked the old one more. I will try to say neural regarding Gaia from now on.
Also: every major god is there if of the three base races with the exception of Hades which bothers me quite a bit personally. I think Hades is the coolest one of the three even tho Poseidon is lore wise and in the campaign very important and Zeus is iconic.

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I think Odin, Ra, Poseidon, and Loki look incredible. Zeus, and Set look okay (though as others have stated Set should look more menacing and mysterious like the original). And I think that Gaia and Thor have been Marvelized which I hate. Thor in the original looked more true to what would have been imagined by the vikings. His hammer had no design, his helmet although “designed” didn’t look quite so modern and scifiish. He didn’t look as sporty as he does now but rather ancient and strong. The new Thor is too young. As for Gaia, bring back the cute thick female model. The dove and overall gardeny presence felt warm and motherly. The new one is Groot. And Isis isn’t nearly as timeless and commanding as her original art. But as I said earlier, the artist that did Loki is amazing.

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Bast’s art has just been revealed.

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It seems that the artist for the minor gods is a lot more skilled than the artist for the splash art. Bast looks great!!

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As I’ve already read some “this looks like AI” comments on Twitter and Discord, I want to point out that there were accusations for Mountain Royals and Victors & Vanquished for AoE 2 as well where the artist’s husband had to step in:

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Honestly not a fan of the “house cat” look to it.

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Its honestly horrendous, im so scared that this is gonna be the norm for retold art. That’d be devastating.

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She always looked like that in AoM though

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