When you think of a Sounders FC match, what do you envision? It’s hard to not picture the stadium’s city skyline backdrop and a CenturyLink Field brimming with supporters. That’s exactly what John Zylstra of Futbol Artist Network captured with his illustrations that now grace a custom-designed Xbox One that EA SPORTS commissioned ahead of the release of FIFA 16, which will include the Sounders home pitch.
“When Sounders FC reached out to us before the release of FIFA 16, we knew it was the chance to do something unique and exciting,” noted Daniel Nyari, art director on the project. “I hired illustrator John Zylstra who I have worked with on several projects for MLS already this season, including a Rivalry Week poster for Seattle versus Portland. He’s a huge soccer fan so whenever we team up, it’s a really exciting process that feels like more play than work.”
Nyari knew what had to be highlighted in the illustrations: the unique atmosphere of a Sounders FC match. “Seattle doesn’t only have some of the best fans in North America, but the entire world. It’s on full display every matchday as the stadium fills up. The Sounders are a visual treasure: there’s a beautiful blue and green color scheme, the iconography of Seattle itself and the rush of seeing fans cheer on their team in waves of green. I wanted to see something that connects CenturyLink Field to the people and the landscape.”
John Zylstra got right to work, designing a panoramic shot of the stadium that spans the top of the Xbox One console. “We chose an angle that curves the stadium beams…something a stadium of this scale truly deserves. Since the fans play such a huge role in the culture of the team, we wanted to show an interior shot that connects the fans to the field.”
Zylstra worked with Nyari to use the controllers as a way to highlight the landscape of Seattle. “The horizontally composed blue lake, the white clouds and blue sky echo the colors of the Cascadia flag. The mountain scape encroaches from the sides and meet in the center where the Sounders logo is placed, connecting the two elements. We wanted the controller to draw a connection between the club and the fans, who will be the people using the console.”
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