For an interactive medium like ours, generally speaking, the first time an audience gets to experience our game will be through passive screenshots, gameplay videos and trailers. It's so crucial to make those memorable because they will be dissected to the nth degree.
Here are some images from current and upcoming 360/PS3 games that I think are successful in visual immersion and standing out from the crowd.
There's no mistaking Rapture's decaying art deco styling to any other game. That combined with the iconic Big Daddys and Little Sisters make the game memorable.
From the familiar chorus and orchestral music on the title screen to dropping the player into a HDR showcase lush jungle separates this sci-fi shooter from the rest. Very polished game.
Team Fortress 2
a perfect marriage of visuals/gameplay/tech. The character teasers Valve did sold the world so well. This game overnight became the de facto "stylized" look that all other games are compared to.
Gears of War
amazing amount of detail and interesting believable characters. Gears used post-processed color correction, desaturation, and Depth of Field to sell the mood well.
Simply epic. As a player you really got a sense of being a small part of a much bigger picture. An RPG like this one lends itself to more subtle character interactions and developments.
closest thing to an interactive painting. Great use of subtle layering.
Prince of Persia NextGen Interesting re imagining of the franchise. Reminds me of a stylized graphic novel in motion. The look is suited well to the gameplay mechanics of corruption/restoration.
ultraviolent post apocolyptic world with twisted humor and deep gameplay. I never played the original Fallouts but this one looks very interesting.
Mirror's Edge bleached clean sci-fi setting, color cueing to help the free running gameplay. Good use of visuals for gameplay immersion.
I'm Chandana Ekanayake, Art Director at Uber Entertainment. People that know me call me Eka. It was 12 years ago in October 1996 that I started as an artist at Bethesda Softworks. Earlier that year I worked out of a house with several other guys at a startup CG studio. We pretty much took on anything that paid the bills, from architectural renderings, interactive virtual flythroughs to rendered game cinematics. I was working 80+ hours a week; learning modeling, animation, motion graphics, editing; and whatever else I could get my hands on. It was an intense crash course in CG production and those memories and the time we had as a small group I still treasure to this day. Even though we were pretty naive about the business and production practices, our hunger for knowledge (and just general hunger ) kept us going until Bethesda brought us in as full-time employees.
Since that time I've worked with both small teams and very large teams on a variety of projects and genres. What drew me to Uber was the collection of talent and the opportunity to work on a project from the ground up with a small focused team. I'm about to start on my third week and already we have a fun playable game that we playtest daily. I've been replacing the early prototype assets with more presentable temp assets that will be iterated on and turned into shippable quality. At the same time we're establishing the world, themes, mood and fleshing out gameplay mechanics which translates well into figuring out an aesthetic direction for the game.
I've been thinking a lot about how to stand out in the current and future marketplace. What is the style and the visual hook? How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition? What are the current trends and how will that change over the course of the project when we ship?