The cyberpunk art of Benedykt Szneider gave Ruiner a brutal beauty

Ruiner managed something few cyberpunk games do. It took some of the most cliched imagery the genre has and made it feel fresh. This was a game with Akira-style motorbikes, sushi stands, neon signs, katanas, ladies in leather, Japanese and Korean text everywhere, all crammed into a dirty Asian metropolis in the year 2091. What elevated it was the attitude, communicated in slow-mo ultraviolence, the excellent soundtrack, snappy one-liners and quotes—whether barked at the protagonist by his hacker handler or displayed on his distinctive helmet—and the manga visuals drenched in red. Ruiner was as slick as blood.

As Ruiner's creative director, Benedykt Szneider was responsible for a lot of that. Have a look at some of his concept art in the gallery below, including early visualizations of the city of Rengkok as well as characters like the cyber-zombified drained hosts and the shirt-averse gangers called the Creeps. You'll see the foundations of what could have been a great Kenji Kamiyama series, or maybe a Warren Ellis comic.

Mechanix the cybernetic repairman pinches a cigarette and the hacker known only as Her strikes a pose. A kamikaze Creep bites down on an explosive canister, while the leader of his gang wields a serrated samurai sword. In the finalized art Ruiner's tone is complete, given the red-and-black palette of a moody teenager's bedroom. Ruiner is a top-down game so we can't see the sky, but it's probably the color of a dead television show host. 

One more treat. Here's the offices of Heaven Inc., the corporation that runs Rengkok City, vertically formatted so that it'll look good if you've got one of those sideways second monitors or you're looking at this on your phone. Hit the button top-right to make it full screen and scroll down from the high-status skyscraper to the grimy undercity beneath.

Ruiner was published by Devolver Digital last year. You can see more of Benedykt Szneider's art here.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.