Gone are the days when video games were confined to arcade halls. Now, just about every home has a video games console of some kind, and games are enjoyed by people from across the world and from all walks of life.

The video games industry is worth billions of dollars. The production scale of a big modern game is akin to that of a Hollywood film, it requires a huge team of talented experts, including coders, designers, and writers. Given the enormous cost involved, it’s essential for developers that their games are commercially successful. How important is art style to the success of a video game? Let’s find out.

Different Types of Art Styles

There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of games out there. Given these huge numbers, it will come as no surprise to learn that games come with an incredible variety of different art styles. It would be impossible to list them all, but let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones before we continue.

Realistic art is perhaps the most popular today, commonly seen throughout modern AAA game titles. Using state-of-the-art visual processing systems and talented artists, this style aims to replicate real life and create a highly immersive gaming experience. Immersion is incredibly important in gaming. Whether it’s a horror, game, a first-person shooter, or a live casino, creating a realistic environment is one of the most effective ways of keeping players engaged.

Cel-shading is a more artistic art style, but one that has proved particularly popular. Cel-shading is a type of rendering process that makes 3D objects and backgrounds look more like 2D drawings. The resultant effect is visually striking and unique, making for a memorable and engaging gaming experience.

Pixel art is an old art style. It was originally born out of necessity, devised to create images for yesteryear’s less capable systems and screens. However, despite advancements in technology, pixel art endured. Gamers love it for its simple, familiar style. It’s fun and playful, using warm color palettes and basic arrangements to create a nostalgic atmosphere.

How Important is Art Style?

Video games are true multimedia works of art. Visuals, sound, narrative, and gameplay all combine to create the overall experience, and all need to work in tandem to create a sense of cohesion and stability.

However, of all the elements that make up a game, art style is arguably the most important. At the end of the day, video games are a primarily visual medium, which means what the player sees on the screen will significantly impact their perception of the game.

Art design that is slapdash, incomplete, or otherwise unattractive to the eye will break the immersion, taking the player out of the game and making it impossible for them to engage on any meaningful level.

Conversely, the most successful are often those lauded for their art design. Game art should reflect the tone and thematic content of the game itself; it should establish mood and influence the player’s feelings and emotions.