Xbox Series X: If images can enchant: Fascination of art design in video games

The gloomy samurai fable Trek to Yomi recently showed how aesthetically appealing you can bring suffering and death on the home screen, and hit his idea for large waves in the gaming community.

In the fight against the standard, more and more games shine with a unique art design. In addition to the well-known generic uniform (yes, you are meant: 3rd-person-open world formula), thanks to a steadily growing indie scene, there are often wonderful game concepts that deserve to be considered outside the game.

From Elden Ring to Cuphead and from the creative department behind the Moon Studios to Viktor Antonov to Yōji Shinkawa. In addition to challenging gameplay and a gripping story, every good game has another significant quality that can help the experience for us players to enjoy a unique enjoyment: an artistic art design!

The following lines should deal with precisely these artistically set accents and lovingly designed worlds, which consciously or unconsciously arouse emotions in us players, even if it does not require high-end graphics. Have fun while reading!

E contribution by Michele Goi

A few days ago, when I scrolled my social media feed, I stumbled over the cover of a comic book. Even if I have never bought a comic book, let alone read, I was tied up by the sight so that I had to buy it immediately. I did not know anything from the content, nor did I know what to do with this new comic book series at the beginning. But the illustration of the cover attracted me from the first sighting. This happened on an emotional level, which one can hardly explain yourself.

One or the other classic game cover was already able to attract me with his visual stimuli. As a big fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, the cover of Left Alive caught my eye at the time, even if the final game of illustration was not part of Yōji Shinkawa.

The fact is, we are only showered by visual stimuli every day. Countless games rustle past us, fight for our attention and have to be able to stand out from the crowd. Often a quick glance is enough to decide whether a game is played, or just not.

My thoughts are still circulating about a game, the trailer of which caused a sensation at the E3 Xbox press conference 2017 with its stylistically striking art design.

With his presentation, The Last Night aroused memories of Blade Runner, and left a lasting impression due to his atmospheric 2D perspective with depth of field. Although announced five years ago, and not yet appeared, I have not given up hope of sneaking this oversubscribed Blade Runner aesthetics and losing neo-Non-blam tables through the virtual rain of this oversubscribed. This due to the effect of the species design. Sounds crazy? But it is.

With special art design, even small titles can get stuck with us players. I consciously write about art design and not graphics, as this does not matter to conjure up the most photo -realistic graphic on the screen.

It is important to mention that some of the best known and most visually appealing video games have no photo -realistic graphics. It is the uniqueness that distinguishes it. It is much more to create an appealing, somehow iconic, individual design of the world and figures with the means you have in the medium of video game. On the other hand, it can be stated that a good art design can protect even old -fashioned graphics.

Nowhere is it better than in the dirty Cel-Shading graphic style of the Boarderlands series, which ensures a unique, surreal look with strong contrasts and successful effects, the black and white silhouettes in limbo or the soon to be published and from the works of Mr. Giger inspired scorn. None of these games offer the perfect representation of every grass. Instead, they reveal an artistic view of their world with their unique art styles.

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Even a playable cartoon like Cuphead was able to inspire me thanks to the very own “historical” cartoon style with animations in the thirty design and the resulting atmosphere of old cartoons, even before I could even play it.

The interaction with the right musical accompaniment is also important for this. A terrific example of this is the world design of Bungies Halo or Destiny, which in conjunction with the orchestral soundtrack does not have to be behind films like Star Wars. Perhaps only because it serves a form of our escapism and, like in psychonauts, sends us into crazy adventures on intangible worlds.

Behind every game sits at least one game art designer who puts a lot of work and lifetime in a project to offer the player a unique experience. You are responsible for creating sketches and creating the “feeling” of a game. They are artists and, as such, still receive far too little recognition. Because without their artistic direction, video games would not be what they are today.

A game can be sold via the art design. However, it is not a unique selling point whether a game is ultimately good. How often art design can also be just a facade have already shown a number of works impressively. Here we speak of “style over substance”. The statement “Never Judge a Book by Its Cover” therefore applies in all directions.

Ultimately, art style is of course also a personal taste. What fascinates one of the others. However, it can be an important point. Smaller games in particular can be seen that they dare to do more in this regard.

The Trek to Yomi, which flickered in a faded black and white, is no exception. In the recent past, the world of Far: Changing Tides has hit the same notch. Its game world is reminiscent of a dreamy painting in which we brave bravely as a brush stroke, dragging small packages through the area so that the painting finally scrolls more stylishly. The game is almost a unique work of art, a playable painting. It seems that the game industry has recognized that good video games are not only a way to share a story, but also art.

I am always happy when developers have the courage to risk aesthetically something and try to set artistic exclamation marks. And this is precisely here the strength of Microsoft’s subscription service. Thanks to the Xbox Game Pass, you can also get involved in the experimental and enjoy playing the luxury games that reward you with a different type design – otherwise players usually stay with what you know! But when the pictures themselves tell a story and more and more developers are moving from the artistic mainstream fairway, playing games can use their own aesthetics, this always lets me discover my love for the game again and again.

_ Note: This is a comment by Michele Goi who does not reflect the attitude of art or other employees in any way.

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