Colour and its absence

One thing I noticed in the previous generation (PS3/XBOX 360) was that games using vibrant colour and distinct art styles were far fewer than on previous generations (PS2, XBOX ECT). Instead, with the improvement of graphics, there seemed to be a serious bias towards realistic styles with less distinct and unique art styles.

Whilst I imagine it would take more research on the subject, my initial assumption is due to the massive leap in graphical quality, more effort was expended on making games looking closer to reality. Due to a lack of strong graphical technology in previous generations, games generally either had to attempt to look realistic within its own boundaries (For example GTA San Andreas and Metal gear solid 3) or create a distinct art style using certain techniques (Cell shading, Pixels, hand drawn, Animated ECT). This is not to say these were the only reasons I assume however the push towards Realistic styles also had an adverse trend that is only recently starting to die down.

Colour, at least vibrant colour schemes, became far less prevalent in gaming. Many games would release with a focus on browns and greys as their overall colour pallet. A good way of noticing this would be to compare Fallout 3’s art style with the recent Fallout 4. Fallout 4 has a bright and colourful environment despite being in a post apocalyptic wasteland. Fallout 3 in comparison feels rather drab with very little vibrancy and a perchance to rocky areas with little variation as far as foliage and colour were concerned. Even the buildings and man-made objects looked worn and toned down.

Whilst its graphics were acceptable for the time, Fallout 3 used a bland and uninteresting colour pallet

This trend has since died down with the technology jump between generations being far less vast and with more of a focus on performance than graphical quality. In the current video games industry, games that use distinct art styles are beginning to stand out once again. With games like Witcher 3, Street fighter 5, Doom and Fallout 4 all using vibrant colour pallets along side their attempts at realism, Colour seems to be returning to the AAA games industry which is a good thing.




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