Video game trends: What will the major titles in E3 2017 offer in terms of graphic styles?
When it comes to video games, we can break down graphic styles into two dominant graphic styles – realism and cartoony. With realism, the game’s overall look and movement mimic actual life. The people, settings, and other elements resemble reality, which is ideal for war or spy-based games. On the other hand, cartoony graphics are usually colorful and creative, evoking fun and excitement. We’ve seen this type of design style more often used in old-school adventure, casual and puzzle games. But there are exceptions, of course.
The evolution of video game graphics
Before today’s technology gave developers access to platforms that allow for more complex visuals in video games, games back in the 1970s were just a few white pixels on a black screen. Pong, a table tennis sports game released by Atari, was the first arcade video game that featured such two-dimensional graphics.
The worldwide success of these simple video games eventually gave way to a demand for more appealing visuals. In 1979, gamers were introduced to brightly colored ships in Namco’s Galaxian. And just a year later, Pac-Man was conceived.
During the mid-1980s, more complex video games were introduced to the world, including Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Strider. Technological innovations in graphics cards, screen resolution, memory, and storage capacity made it possible for these games to come in more shapes and colors. Back then, the lack of powerful GPUs and general processing power meant that designers had to resort to cartoonish – often cute – graphics for the game sprites. Realism wasn’t as much of an option. It was, but it looked very, very choppy.
A look into upcoming 2017 video game visuals
Fast forward to today, with the latest video game consoles and the advent of virtual reality, realism, and cartoony have become the most dominant graphic styles among most video games. And while it may seem that realism may have taken the lead over cartoony graphics given that a lot of major console titles are coming up with video games that look so close to real life, there is still a great number of those which feature cartoony graphics that offer a different kind of gaming experience but are equally fun and entertaining to the players.
Over two decades since its first release in 1994, the development of Tekken’s visuals over the years can be seen in this video. In its latest version, Tekken 7 was created using the Unreal Engine 4 for more detailed, realistic characters and dynamic, reactive environments. The Unreal Engine 4 is also used to develop virtual reality games.
Red Dead Redemption is regarded as one of the best games of the past decade. An open-world action game set in the Old West, Red Dead Redemption 2’s graphics are as accurate to the real thing as it can get. From the horse-and-buggy to the sunset in America’s heartland, the graphics are loaded with details that make watching someone play the game feel like watching an old western movie. Looking at the different screenshots, even a non-gamer will be able to appreciate the flawless rendition of the environments, the skies, and the characters.
Developed by Vicarious Visions, Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is another classic game that goes back twenty years. Unlike Tekken 7 and Red Dead Redemption 2, this game offers a light, colorful game experience with cartoony graphics. The main character, Crash, is an adorable orange fox who can spin and jump quite fast. The entire game is highly animated with bright colors and neon lights.
Another genre where cartoony and often cute characters shine is iGaming. Aside from the bright, vibrant colors and cartoon-style characters, online slots come in various themes which are often inspired by animated shows like Alice in Wonderland. Other games have magical themes that show fairies and elves, such as Pixies of the Forest and Lucky Leprechaun.
First launched in 2005, fans have been raving to see the next installment of Kingdom Hearts 3; which is why the announcement made by Square Enix was greeted with much excitement. One of the unique features of this game is its addition of popular characters from blockbuster animated movies, such as Baymax, Frozen, Toy Story, The Jungle Book, Wall-E, and Alice in Wonderland, along with Disney favorites, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. We’ve seen these characters used in different game types to provide added fun and entertainment to players, but having them all in one game is not something we see often.
The Verdict: It’s a tie!
Looking at some of the upcoming E3 titles this 2017, it is difficult to favor one graphic style over the other. While realism is definitely a big trend in certain game genres, we cannot discount the fact that cartoony video games are equally wonderful.
The editorial unit