I'm looking for resources describing art style - setting - gameplay relationship (from game design perspective).

For example, Fallout's colour palette most often is the dark one, models - realistic and not cartoonish. Setting - post nuclear holocaust. Auditory - mature players.

I could also take a different example like Borderlands. Art style is cartoonish, comic but not childish. Setting - vault raiding/monster killing on an alien planet. Auditory - mature players, but still appealing to teenagers (I suppose 13 and up).

Pixar and Nintendo games tend to be both cartoonish and childish. Setting - simple or movie based. Auditory - definitely kids, yet can be entertaining for adults for a limited time.

GTA - cartoonish, comic and somehow childish (especially the first one), yet auditory is definitely mature. Setting - working for crime syndicate/free roaming.

Let's say I create and epic fantasy game (setting). How should I choose most appropriate art style for my game? Are there any canons in art style like there are canons in literature (western, eastern, etc...) How does art style alone suggest what kind of gameplay one should expect? One can release concept art, but setting is generally kept secret so that player could uncover it while playing.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The thing about style is that it's almost all subjective. It really depends on your particular goals. But even then, gameplay is almost orthogonal to it. Darksiders and Zelda are basically the same game but completely different styles, for example. What is the mood you're trying to set? Are you trying to stand out? If so, what are your competitors doing? And what exactly are you trying to get out of this question? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    Feb 26, 2013 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetrad I'm in need of resources discussing possible art solutions for influencing/heightening particular mood/atmosphere (canons). Btw, quote from Destructoid: "Let's get one thing straight before we even begin: Darksiders is the manliest game ever made, for real manly men who are manly with their man things. The Legend of Zelda, in contrast, is for children and girls who have not yet known a lover's touch. You only have to look at the main characters to see this is true." Gameplay is not defined solely on the type of game (action-adventure). \$\endgroup\$
    – User145678
    Feb 26, 2013 at 11:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ For those, who downvote, maybe having a reason instead of a lack of knowledge about a particular subject, would be way better. It seems a disappointing trend of a stack network. \$\endgroup\$
    – User145678
    Feb 26, 2013 at 11:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Consider this (both having medieval theme/setting): 1 and 2 What does 1st one suggest for the user about possible game experience and what does the 2nd? My impressions are that the 1st one is a funny game suitable for younger children, while the 2nd is a gritty (realistic, dark) game. \$\endgroup\$
    – User145678
    Feb 26, 2013 at 11:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "resources discussing possible art solutions for influencing/heightening particular mood/atmosphere (canons)" is probably too broad a question. If you had a specific atmosphere/mood you wanted to heighten, then we might be able to help you. As-is, it sounds like you're asking us to provide links to things that may or may not exist (which is what google is for, and probably why the downvotes may have been cast). \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    Feb 26, 2013 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


Gamasutra is always a good online resource for in-depth articles on this kind of topic. One article that seems to particularly match your request is the following:

Another article from a different perspective, slightly related:

About canons in video games: the Library of Congress established a list of games which started a genre, which is now known as the Game Canon. This attempt has been criticized (also on Gamasutra: Canon 2.0, by Gareth Mensah). This article led to an entire website called the Video Game Canon

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great. Seems a lot of useful info I was looking for. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – User145678
    Feb 28, 2013 at 18:09

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