Artists have aimed to permeate modern video games, something which might offer them a unique visual style and distinct charm. As consumers may witness the technical capability of video games grow, game directors might see this as an avenue game in which art may be woven in. Whether extenuating a pivotal moment of gameplay by a talented orchestral score or creating a distinct landscape for players to explore, art and video games aim to find an interactive synergy which may captivate the imagination. Through the creative use of technology, players may enter and experience the dynamic vision of the game director. It’s through this interactive meeting of art and technologic which may enable players to embrace interactive entertainment, offering them a personal experience where the interpretation of artistic value may be left up to the individual.
An example of a game which showcases the synergy of art and technology was the serene experience of 2012’s award winning Journey. Developed by Thatgamecompany, the release of Journey may have been an important step in the progress of art within interactive entertainment. Journey is a game about taking players on an experience of discovery as they explore a mysterious world; their destination a mountain peak which fills the horizon. The release of Journey was met with widespread acclaim and garnered a breadth of accolades, including numerous “Game Of The Year” awards and BAFTA’s for audio and artistic achievement in 2013.
After the success of Journey, Matt Nava (Art Director & Lead Artist) and Austin Wintory (Music Composer) went on to form their own studio, titled Giant Squid. Now, as the creative director of his own studio, Matt Nava aims to establish Giant Squid as a video game studio with an emphasis on artistic and innovative design. Taking the lessons he learned from the success of Journey, Matt Nava set out to begin work on his next project, ABZÛ. ABZÛ takes place in a dynamic underwater setting, giving players freedom to explore a deep sea world teeming with life.
Giant Squid have set out to create realistic underwater environments, where fish dart between the coral reef and light glistens through the surface. The characteristics of the ocean aims to invite players to stay submerged whilst they continue their exploration of the deep. Sound designers set the mood with a rich composition which may evoke emotion and breathe life to the virtual environment. The refined gameplay which aims to allow players control of a responsive protagonist who swims fluidly through the water, providing precision in the translation of thought into action. All these techniques are implemented in a layered way, which aims to present an artistic vision which may inspire players as they experience this undersea adventure.
In the case of Journey and ABZÛ, the team behind each project strove for innovation and an amalgamation of art and interactive technology. As more developers begin to understand the potential artistic application within the video game medium, audiences may see a surplus in innovative titles; titles which may place art at the forefront, prioritising an evocative experience over all else. By creating a piece of work which contains multiple sensory stimulants – audio, visual and tactile – players may find themselves immersed as they explore and interact with virtual art. Furthermore, if these worlds aim to contain an abundance of captivating characters and a compelling narrative, the layered nature of the medium may truly create a unique experience for each player.
ABZÛ may be another example of how the medium of video games might provide a platform for innovative creators with an artistic vision. The varied team behind the project, each sewing their individual talents into the tapestry of the game, may produce a cohesive product which demonstrates the potential of art in video games. Through creativity and talent, players may find themselves traversing a variety of unique environments, exploring each landscape as a rich sound texture dances across the spectrum of emotions, immersing players further into the world.
How might artistic implementation in video games serve to immerse gamers in a unique world and story?