Heide's Tower of Flame
'Heide's Tower of Flame' is official concept artwork for action role playing video game Dark Souls II, made by Japanese studio FromSoftware. This limited edition Certified Art Giclee™ print is part of the official Dark Souls fine art collection by Cook & Becker, FromSoftware, and Bandai Namco. The print is hand-numbered and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Discussing architecture in games is a tricky business. Take these buildings in this concept sketch for the 'Heide's Tower of Flame'-map in Dark Souls II. They're gothic in appearance, reminding us of the great cathedrals in France or Italy, yet you would be hard pressed to find an equal building in the real world. Gothic (church) architecture stressed height and verticality, in an effort to 'be closer to God' through the means of building large and elegant stone-and-glass constructions. Alas, religious ideals did not take gravity much into account: in 1284 the cathedral of Beauvais, designed to be the highest church building ever seen, partly collapsed during construction because the light walls did not support the weight of the building.
To prevent incidents like these in the future, builders implemented large support structures comprised of flying buttresses and huge 'piers' of masonry, built at some distance from the actual walls (you can see examples of them in the Heide artwork). The effect: churches boasted high and elegant interiors, yet piled on rows and rows of bulky masonry on the outside for support.
The grand Dark Souls -architecture in the Heide artwork does not take this into account: it has height, yet hardly any support systems, which makes no sense in real-world architecture, structurally, especially when the lower part of the construction is submerged in a rough sea. Fortunately, this construction only needs to function in a video game environment, where storytelling through the character and atmosphere of a building trump mathematical plausibility.