How to Develop an Art Style for Your Game?

When it comes to developing an art style for your game, one of the biggest questions is “hyper-realistic vs stylized?” A good game art production team will be able to work with you and deliver a game art style that you’re happy with but how do you begin that journey?

In the blog that previously addressed the topic of hyper-realistic art style vs stylized art style, we touched on three key considerations. They were budget, target market, and the influence of management. Aside from these key points, there’s a lot of work, effort, and passion that go into creating a great game art style. After discussing the question with a pair of our game concept artists and game 3D artists, we have a few more key elements that any aspiring game creator should be aware of.


Developing your Game’s Art Style for the Intended Experience

Developing an art style is the sum of many parts. One of the Magic Media group’s artists spoke on understanding the game’s vision and intent. What is the concept for the game and how might that be conveyed visually? What genre are you looking to be in? Your target audience was mentioned in our previous blog but it is absolutely fundamental in achieving a quality game art style that is successful on launch.

The goal is to create an art style for your game that complements the intended experience. Our game artists will work on these elements throughout the game art production lifecycle. Things like the colour palette, shapes, and textures, will all influence the mood and tone of the game. It’s important to understand the impact these elements can have on your game’s experience. The game art style will be visually speaking to every player regardless of your intent for it to do so.


Game Art Style Development in Practice

An example of this would be working on an adventure game in a paper world. Maybe aimed at young adults and younger audiences. Utilising proper references, our art production team would begin to look at children’s drawings, particularly in chalk, marker, and crayon. Additionally, children’s toys could be referenced for their design and style. Combined with a soft and playful colour palette, smoothing out shapes and any hard edges, and you’ve got a fun and innocent art style.

Alternatively, maybe the paper world game isn’t for children. Maybe you’re designing an art style that aims to draw players into a calm, playful world but in fact is a horror or thriller experience. The references would be the same but our game 3D artists and game concept art team would utilise the references differently. By dirtying the style, adding grime and a layer of dirt to the colours, you can immediately convey a subconscious discomfort to players. Edges can be enhanced instead of removed, shapes can be encouraged into sharp and aggressive angles. 


Creating your Game Art Style with References

For good game art production, references are everything. You might have a clear idea in mind but that can be difficult to understand without a visual reference. Our game art teams will gather swathes of references for every project they’re on. Not just modern references but even illustrations, blueprints, and technical documents from the beginning of the 20th Century onwards. Understanding the audience of the game and the feeling you wish to deliver is a compass for choosing your game art style.

References, however, are the lifeblood once that compass direction has been set. Whether working internally, or with an outsourcing team like us and the Magic Media group, the more references you can gather the better! The game concept artists, 2D artists, and 3D artists can each take their inspiration from the references supplied. With consistent references, deciding on your game art style becomes significantly easier.

Once you have decided on a hyper-realistic or stylized game art style, you can then begin to gather appropriate references from any form of entertainment you can. The best advice our game artists and seasoned game art production team can offer is to narrow down your style based on references and keep it consistent!

Ringtail Studios is more than capable of tackling either style and at any point of the spectrum of art. If you’d like our help in developing your game’s art style, get in touch! As part of the Magic Media group, we have the capacity to handle projects of any size as well as the expanded service offerings for art production, full-cycle development, co-development, VFX, and more!