The art of SteamWorld Heist

Since smashing onto the scene with its cowboy steampunk robots, SteamWorld Heist has become a firm favourite.

For those that haven't delved into this fascinating strategy game, the game sees you build up a merry band of robots and raid a series of increasingly hostile ships for loot and items.

The turn-based play means you have to think carefully about where to move your crew each turn. Get it right and you can fire trick shots that bounce off walls and crates to take out enemies.

Here, the game’s art director Tobias Nilsson tells us how they invested this turn-based action game with so much character, opening sketch books to show us the history behind the game's captivating design.

Steam-powered stars

“When we started working on SteamWorld Heist, we decided to keep the visual style of sharp-angled shapes that made its predecessor SteamWorld Dig so unique,” explains Nilsson. “But we also decided to make it grittier, with more detail to make use of high-resolution screens. We like to think of it as pixel-art for retina displays.”

A diverse crew

Some early sketches of your Steambot crew.

“Joss Whedon’s [space cowboy TV show] Firefly was a big inspiration for the feel of the crew and ship. Our goal was to steer away from stereotypes and create a diverse crowd with colourful background stories and motives,” adds Nilsson. “The crew members are rusted and dented, in order to emphasise their civil status as lowly Steambots.”

Captain Piper Faraday in all her glory.

    SteamWorld Heist