Classifying Art style Genres

One thing I have come to understand during my research, is that there is no real categorization system for Art directions in video gaming. Strictly speaking, this seems to be a good thing as it is not really what games are sold on and being able to pigeon-hole art in such a way would suggests either saturation or lack of variety. I have found, after asking a number of my friends that the default way people seem to refer to games is with either some of the blanket terms I have used previously (2D, 3D, Realistic, Cel shaded, Pixel ECT) or by comparing them to other, visually similar games.

Whilst I do not think it is possible to properly describe art styles in 1-3 chunks in a way that game genres are described, I believe small sentences would suffice in this area. To test this theory out, I picked a number of my favourite art styles in video games off of the top of my head and attempted to describe them without referring to other, similar games.

  • Bioshock

    A grim underwater metropolis with heavy Art Deco stylings

  • Deus ex : Human Revolution

    Futuristic Cyberpunk with sleek modern stylings and a strong yellow focus colour

  • Splatoon

    Vibrant, Colourfull and cartoonish Art design with a mix of qwirky characters and a trendy, hip hop style.

  • The wolf among us

    Cell shaded noir with heavy comic book stylings.

  • Mad World

    Black and white with a heavy emphasis on tonal shifts and blood as emphasis

  • Guilty Gear XRD

    Cell shaded anime stylings with traditional animation techniques for dynamic animations

  • Shadow of the colossus

    Epic fantasy art with a grandiose sense of scale

  • Bloodborne

    Heavy gothic influences with complex religious architecture (Grand cathedrals and the like)

Describing a game using a sentence is clearly possible, but as far as offering a quick impression of a games visual style, simply showing a picture would be far easier. Showing gameplay style is far harder with pictures than visual style, so genre descriptors work well for gameplay but images are a far better method. In truth, upon finishing this, I have realised this is a problem that comes from semantics rather than any real issues or discoveries, which is unfortunate.


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