This is starting to bug me – will the games art industry ever grow out its teenage years? And are the artists caught or complicit? Just a snapshot of links I came across this very morning.
What I see there are typical adolescent male fantasies and fears. Super hot girls, luring openly with their sexuality – but dangerous to come close to. Seriously, don’t dare!
And the male, strong prose. Protecting that poor female in the background, holding her back. Surely I’m not the only one noticing how shocked she looks at that immense shiny gun trusting into the foreground.
Or maybe it’s because I talk with a friend about metaphors a lot recently – these things are not just pretty images. They say something with the content. That’s what the artists of our industry have been completely ignoring. What is expressed here? Could we actually instead have a message – maybe even a positive one?
Just to be clear I’m not against sexy girls in art. There are sexy girls in our lives, right? But they don’t all dress with little metal plates on their breasts. They are not just victims waiting for protection. Nor are they gonna burn us with fire (not always anyways).
The symbols get in the way of creating believable art. The woman in the first image above would loose all clothing in a second. Sometimes some tiny strings might just be necessary – I don’t even think they would cover her up all that much. And is nipple-armor really sufficient for battle?
These questions have been already covered wonderfully – I’m not saying anything new here. It’s just that the industry is not moving.
Serving the adolescent male target group has become the only tactic. And while that is a valid group to create art for – even mirroring their fears and desires – it can’t be 90% of the market. Feminist Frequency had a great video about Lego, how they intentionally started targeting this group, and lost their general appeal. And how they’re now in a spiral that they can’t seem to get out of anymore.
You hurt your sales – and maybe you’re even hurting other possible groups?
Artists have to work for the industry – I am part of it and don’t exempt myself from any critique. Sometimes there is no choice and sometimes it’s just fine anyways. But many continue the same in their spare time, when they have a choice. If you do something all life long, maybe it becomes routine too much? Maybe one learns to do the technique better and better – while forgetting to evolve on the subject. You stop to think about the “why” – “why are you doing art”?
Just another example of today’s news – a game people have likeley spend millions of dollar and years of work on:
Star Wars 1313 is probably cancelled now – and it’s said to have been losing steam for a while. Maybe there is a reason. It seems empty in game mechanics (“duck, shoot, roll” for the millionth time). The characters are B-movie cliche’s that movies got rid off after the 80s.
The showing off of testosterone levels again hurts believability: why do the guys jump into space without even checking? Why should I care about it, when they don’t? And will their attitude appeal to a broader audience than hardcore gamers? It might hurt others groups and your appeal in the long run.
This 3D-art has the same syndrome: Detail, detail, detail – shows off super high skill! But no style and no heart.
Mindless entertainment is OK. But if it’s mindless, don’t expect people to miss it when it’s gone.
And if nobody will miss your art, why spend your lifetime creating it?