The idea of a mood board, which collects a variety of images from various sources to bring inspiration, isn’t exactly a foreign one. Perhaps that’s what Chronicles of Elyria was looking to do when it shared a “mood piece” that was found to actually be a photoshopped piece of “artwork.”
The link above is an archived grab of the original post, which has since been edited by the studio and the image removed. It originally was meant to convey the Kypiq aesthetic, with buildings meshing with the natural world and a variety of reds and greens.
However, a poster on the MMORPG.com forums referenced a discussion on the Chronicles of Elyria Discord that found an artist’s watermark on the image. Another poster on that same thread went deeper, locating the original image of the woods as well as the Pinterest image of the building used in the mood piece. In short, nothing in the mood piece features original artwork from the Chronicles of Elyria art team, which is odd since the team had put the Elyria logo on it but did not mention that the art was sourced from outside the studio.
According to the edited post, making the mood piece with found assets in order to inform concept art and design is precisely the point:
“At various points throughout the game development lifecycle, it is necessary to capture the feel and quintessence of an idea, location, prop, or character design, so that a mood and vocabulary can be created that allows designers and artists to have a conversation about what it is they’re creating. These mood pieces are generally put together very quickly and often act as a precursor or prototype to the concept art and grey box assets being created by the team of designers and artists at a studio.
The image, which we removed, is one such mood piece. It was created as part of an internal discussion between our principal concept artist and the designers about the nature and structures of the Kypiq biomes. Snipehunter felt that it looked cool and, being a mood piece, (when combined with sufficient explanation) would help people understand a bit more about the process of making games. It would also allow us to track the piece over its evolution, from mood piece/paintover, to more fleshed out concept art, to a finalized design for the Pyqish architecture.
Unfortunately, the mood piece, being a photobashed compilation of several items of stock art with some rough paint over, was not received well or understood to be what it was: a means for us to visually communicate with each other (and now you) a mood or idea, not a finished concept or piece of art. We have taken the image down and locked this thread for further discussion, and removed all previous posts to discourage further replication or dissemination of the mood piece.”