Here is a collection of covers for top-selling action games of the last couple years. Did I miss some secret meeting?
It’s not a random selection of course – but pretty close to representative, as easily two thirds of all action game titles with some subtitle/version fit the pattern of worn flat white text and red version letters. It’s not exhaustive either, just the popular games I could think of right now.
If anyone has insight (maybe as cover creators themselves), I would be curious to hear it. My bet is that Metal Gear Solid 2 which started it… and it’s also taking twist on version 4.
I noticed this when watching the latest installment of Feminist Frequency.
This detail has quite some parallels with the violence against woman tropes in games. There the question is a moral one “do I want to create and consume games that stereotype other people”. But it’s also one about quality and diversity. Is there something superior about flat white text with little cracks on it, that so many games have to use it? Does it not make the whole bunch look uncreative? Also, I would think in both cases (tropes about woman – and covers) it’s no intentional plot or secret agreement. It is driven by subconscious group-think, by lazy copying – and by the fear of the industry and gamers to change working formulas. A bit like Skinner’s experiment with superstitious pigeons – that do a one legged dance just because they happened to do it once when food was given to them.
There is a harmful automatism and lack of thoughtfulness in game art creation. It works so why stop?