The art of Simon Stålenhag


Has anyone else come across this Swedish artist?

Simon has been painting sci-fi subjects since about 2013 it seems. Some of his work is post apocalyptic but some is mid-apocalyptic as in the GZ setting - in fact some of his work is uncannily close to GZ scenes and gameplay with 80s cars and clothing set in a wintery Swedish landscape among bizarre huge machines. I wonder, devs, did you know of his work when you began working on the game?


… kind of a touchy subject you brought up there, @Saddletank :wink:


Oops, sorry. I didn’t know that. I think I can see why it might be a touchy subject though. Would love to know more if you could PM me.

EDIT: Admins, please delete if I accidentally stepped over a line with posting links to this website!


It’s a pretty well-known subject around here. There was some controversy on Generation Zero’s announcement that the game was inspired by his art, though it’s not been confirmed. IMO, other than sharing that 80’s vibe they haven’t got much in common. Stålenhag’s work is far more stylized, encompassing sci-fi on a grander scale than GZ that seems to be more down to earth.

Both Generation Zero and Simon Stålenhag’s art are very distinct, they share a similar setting but other than that they’re miles apart. I’m just glad to see more of 80’s sweden in a post-apocalypse setting, it’s not something we see a lot of in media.


No, no worries :wink: I think that Stålenhagens art is very powerful, and it is hard not to see a connection between that and Generation Zero. But no legal actions has been taken as far as I am aware. So besides the obvious similarities I still believe that it is two quite different things.


I see, thanks for the info. He did one painting of two youths driving a Golf GTI around a field with one lad with his head and shoulders through the sunroof waving a red road flare to attract a couple of giant walker types. I cam across Simon’s art about 2 years ago via YouTube (background art for a piece of music). As soon as I started playing GZ I was struck by the similarities. Sweden - 1980s - college age kids - machines… etc.


I love Stålenhag’s art and had some printed on canvas via his site. But yeah, bit of a touchy subject, I guess. :slight_smile: Personally I wish both parties would’ve sat down (easy enough, being in the same city and all) and had come up with some cross-promotion (“If you liked Generation Zero, you might also like Tales from the Loop and the art of Simon Stålenhag, also made in Sweden. Avalanche and Simon Stålenhag are not affiliated.” / “If you liked Tales from the Loop, you may also like the video game Generation Zero, also made in Sweden. Simon Stålenhag and Avalanche are not affiliated.”). I’m not a Swedish lawyer so may be talking rubbish here, but it’s a nice thought at least.


Not just the Chinese motor industry that blatantly copies wow. I mean even the same yellow paint combination on the walls to the same exact setup in houses for the computers. Fantastic art work as well.

I hope this guy got paid


I dont think art work has the same royality rights as like creating a song. And video games can mimic others all the time. doesn’t mean that idea lead to the game in making. How else do we have six battle Royale games all in the same year. The artwork and the game are astheticly different. I mean if you set it for pre 21st there’s only so much tech look you can have. And the artist is far more out there than gen zero. By far I can see why the argument for inspiration is there but you can’t copyright a theme and time period


They look similar because they both depict 80s Sweden. I don’t think Avalanche copied Stålenhag, I think both were inspired from the same real world sources.

The machine designs are completely different, the settings of the events depicted are different. The only commonality is the time and place. The medium Stålenhag uses to depict his scenes is so different from the medium Avalanche uses that you cannot say one was copied from the other.

If we are going to have people making contentious issues out of this then I think for the sake of the parties concerned this thread should be locked or removed. I had no intention or desire to cause problems for anyone when I posted.

Out of decency we probably need to avoid posts demanding justifications or things like that.


I agree and my point exactly, @Saddletank. Sorry if I teased you in my first reply, but knowing a bit of the history, I couldn’t resist :wink:
Some would claim that the movie Avatar was a complete rip-off of Pocahontas. In that case the story was alike, but the setting was entirely different. The thing is, that I wouldn’t have know about Stålenhag if it wasn’t for Generation Zero. That must be worth something.


Stålenhag casts a pretty wide net, so some of his pictures are an easier fit than others. You’ve already mentioned the one with the tanks and the flare, and this old stalwart could fit right into GZ as one of the prototype bots, but in the end, GZ is great, a lot of Stålenhag’s work is great, and I’m happy to be a fan of both, I guess that’s the long and the short of it.


It wasn’t called smurf pocahontas for nothing. :smile:

A more recent question might be, “annoying earthman finds himself among more sophisticated space aliens, makes cultural references they don’t understand, teams up with non-humanoids, and falls for space-girl” – are Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy actually the same story?
But that would take us completely off topic, I fear. :smile:


I agree here aswell. Well stated saddletank.


One have to remember the 80-ies Mech warrior games that also contained different types of walkers.

The theme of the game is somewhat typical 80-ies story line. You have ‘Terminator’ series from 1984, Knight Rider and several other robot and machine themed things.

Simon Stålenhage art is excellent and I recommend ordering it.


And very reasonably priced too I believe ( Already put a few on my Christmas wish list. This might just turn out to be good karma for everybody :slightly_smiling_face:


I feel like the game is more so inspired by terminator than Simon, as Simon’s work has much more of a retro feel to it, and is less realistic and more fluent art-wise. It feels much more fantastical as well, with the grand scale and alien landscapes. I’ve played the RPG tales from the loop with some prior friends of mine, and it is very very different from generation zero.


I believe this thread was about the look more than about the plot (of TftL vs GZ vs Terminator).


Aint there going to be TV series from “Tales from the Loop” in Amazon?


There is. It will be on Amazon Prime Video. I think it’s still under production tho.