Behind the cartoony sci-fi piece Roguelike Shoulders of Giants – on sale now

We’re so excited to finally release Shoulders of Giants! Since we just launched the game, the whole Moving Pieces team is feeling pretty wistful (as well as a little scared/excited in equal measure!), so I thought it might be a good idea to share some thoughts on an aspect of the game that we especially proud of: its stylized visual graphics. I thought it would be nice to take this opportunity to talk about what inspired the look of the game.

While it’s amazing to see how far photorealistic graphics can be pushed with the latest Xbox hardware, we were really excited to create something that combined the latest graphics technologies like physics rendering with a more stylized approach to shading like cel shading. This was the basis of our technical and aesthetic approach to visual effects for Shoulders of Giants.

We started by experimenting with what it could look like by taking early concept art and creating simple worlds without any gameplay. We first went a step further with more traditional cel shading, but found that when we mixed in some photorealistic rendering techniques, this is where the beautiful details really started to shine.

In terms of setting, we knew we wanted the game to take place in a sci-fi universe, which meant we had a space skybox full of planets, stars, and swirling clouds. We were heavily inspired by the 1970s sci-fi art style and loved how it often included giant planets in the background to keep the horizon interesting.

The main story of the game is that the dark and cold forces of Entropy have taken over the Universe, and the task of the players is to restore life and balance. One of the main NPCs in the game is the all-powerful Owl from an ancient order, and many of the levels and items found in the game are inspired by ancient civilizations such as Ancient Egypt and Greece.

We have introduced levels with abandoned ruins of an ancient order scattered throughout the levels for the player to explore. This was the main inspiration for the appearance of the levels and their layout.

Some props and levels in the game are also inspired by surreal paintings, especially in the last act of the game. We thought of rumbling clouds and stairs going beyond the horizon.


Taking advantage of the stylized look, we emphasize the use of color to tell a story. Shoulders of Giants. One of the biggest themes in the game is dark versus light.

The player starts each level with a world covered in darkness, and as you advance and complete the level, you restore it with life and light.

Making the “light” version of our landscapes bright and vibrant was not difficult, but making the cold, dark versions of these alien worlds sing with color was no easy task. Our art director and I sifted through palettes for days and eventually decided that we needed to re-evaluate what the word “dark” really means. We decided to rely more on darkness as a concept of cold or the absence of life.

In the end, we found combinations of colors and lighting that still looked bright and inviting, while still allowing us to express our themes. We have created sandy deserts, white fields of snow, and worlds of corrosive acid glowing green.


We can’t wait for players to jump into the world we’ve created!

For more information visit the play store page and Official siteor join our strife.

Xbox Live

Shoulders of Giants

Interactive moving figures


Control a sword-wielding robot and a shooting space frog at the same time in Shoulders of Giants, an explosive and colorful sci-fi roguelike. Play alone, with a friend, or as part of a team of four as you fight your way through waves of enemies in your quest to save the galaxy! The forces of Entropy are wreaking havoc across the stars, decomposing living planets and spurring the heat death of the universe. A team of cosmic survivors, led by the psychic Owl, fight to restore balance. Mysterious Fur! Sharp amphibian! Together they must break through the waves of enemies and return light and life to the galaxy! Pre-order the game to get access to limited edition paint packs with special visual effects. Dazzle your friends!

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