Mini game artwork for award-winning interactive documentary Game Change.

The Game is Changing: Game Change earns Honoree at Webby Awards

It’s fair to say that game enthusiast Shannon Jahnel Lanktree was in her element when illustrating and animating graphics for interactive documentary Game Change, which recently earned an Honoree in this year’s Webby Awards.

Shannon worked on the project with an exceptional cross-disciplinary team of videographers, producers, web designers, storytellers, animators and 3D artists under the overall direction of Allan Walker and Charles Anderson from digital storytelling studio Vanishing Point

The Game Change project was created for NZ On Air and Radio New Zealand in order to share the power of interactive media and storytelling with the public.

Created in the form of an interactive documentary, it explores New Zealand’s burgeoning video game industry, using video games to tell three separate stories. The project uses the innovative design, language, and mechanics of video games, but applies them to traditional journalistic storytelling.

The three stories chosen span the spectrum of the video game industry and include Game Face, for which Shannon created illustrations and animation. 

In Game Face, Lorien Gugich, aka Lorii Pops, is a single mother who happens to be one of New Zealand’s top video game streamers. 

During the documentary, viewers are seamlessly brought into the experience to help LoriiPops through mini-games such as feeding her son Leon, spotting ducks in the park and helping Lorii to put on her lipstick. 

The concept behind the design was to transform moments in Lorri’s routine into interactive experiences for the viewer as a metaphor for how she, on a daily basis, steps in and out of the world of games.

After careful exploration, the project’s art direction evolved into a clean and charming illustrative style, using a mixture of geometric and organic shapes, limited colour palette, controlled patterns and textures, and hand drawn outlines. 

One of the visual and technical challenges that the team had to solve was finding a way to transition from live footage to the interactive experience, in a seamless way. This was done by creating large transition sequences and smaller splashes as an extension of the established illustration style. They were developed to retain a hand drawn aesthetic, which was also extended into animation through the use of slower frame rates, to give it a more traditional animation feel.

See more of the development work for this project on the project’s Behance page.