Yarn and Paint: Art of E3 2010

Posted: June 21, 2010 by RacattackForce in Animation, Authors, Nintendo, RacattackForce, Video Game Art, Video Games, Video Games Editorial

Once again, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone, and gaming companies did their best to showcase their upcoming titles for late 2010 and 2011. While some failed to enthrall the gaming community (namely Microsoft), others blew gamers’ minds away: shocking and surprising us with great games and devices to get success. However, this isn’t a gaming blog, so I won’t go that far into my personal thoughts on the games themselves. Instead, I’ll be focusing on the art styles quite a few new titles are utilizing to accentuate the gameplay. All Nintendo titles, sure, but what gaming company is more creative than Nintendo? Hello, I’m RacattackForce, and I hope you enjoy.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword


The Legend of Zelda has been around for over two decades, inviting gamers to help save the land of Hyrule from the evil Ganon(dorf), or save whatever land our hero Link is currently in. Ever since the series made the leap into 3D with the Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64, we have seen various art styles used to portray this world of adventure. While The Wind Waker aimed for a light-hearted and cartoony style, Twilight Princess took on a much darker color palette and a more “realistic” style. With Skyward Sword, however, comes a visual style that many Zelda fans have scoffed at and compared to the graphics of an N64 engine. It is the middle ground between Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker: it is impressionistic/new realism.

Inspired by the painting style that originated in late-19th century Britain, it is a simple style that has quick sketch-like feel and relies on light tones and clear division of said tones. Human characters and creatures have little details, in order to fit into what feels like a world made with thick layers of paint. Simplicity is key in impressionism, and thus it is key in this game. Every thing is simple-looking: bright and colorful in the outdoors. Dark and a bit eerie within caves and tunnels. Learn more about the style here & here.

“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is coming in early 2011 to the Wii.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Kirby is a character known for his insatiable appetite and his ability to harness the power of whatever item or creature he just consumed. However, with this new Wii title, his powers are a bit different. Our pudgy pink hero is now made of yarn and resides in a fabric world, which he can interact with in various ways (which includes unzipping pieces of the background to reveal new places to explore). Kirby can also become a variety of vehicles and weapons, including a car and submarine.

What led to the design choice of using yarn is beyond me, but it is a very creative and beautiful idea. The various textures make for a nice and colorful gaming world, and the attention to detail is amazing. Kirby’s unraveling of his foes, the bumps he forms as he travels behind a piece of cloth, and so much more make me wish they’ve thought of this sooner. The possibilities and the fun you can have with yarn is endless in real life, if you simply have the imagination: you can use the material to make anything. The team behind this game took that, and planted it at the game’s core. It is a unique idea, and I can’t think of anyone else besides the people at Nintendo who would come up with it.

“Kirby’s Epic Yarn” is coming this Fall to the Wii.

Okamiden

I’ve yet to play the original Okami for the PS2 and Wii, but the art style and orchestration of that game are both amazingly beautiful, and the same can be said for the upcoming Okamiden despite the graphic downgrade. The ink-and-wash outlines give everything a distinct Asian flavor that works well with the mythology presented in the back-story.

Everything flows smoothly like a moving painting, a feeling that’s added to with the ability to use a magic paintbrush that can alter your surroundings. The artwork is simple and cel-shaded, with the colors looking just as painted as everything else. There is something incredibly quaint and tranquil about the entire thing, that is hard to pinpoint. In any case, Okamiden is a game I makes me wish I had a Nintendo DS.

“Okamiden” is coming in 2011 to the Nintendo DS.

Disney’s Epic Mickey

Disney and Nintendo, isn’t that much of an odd mix according to Warren Spector, the director of this new Wii title featuring the well-known, beloved icon of Mickey Mouse. A love-letter to Disney fans, the game is a huge stroll through the company’s history. Countless references to old shorts and comics. Dozens of forgotten characters like Gremlin Gus and the Phantom Blot make their appearance in this game. This love for Disney history extends to the various art-styles used in the game: “inkblot” as seen in earlier Disney cartoons is one example.

Though the Steamboat Willie stage was the only one showcased at E3, there is no doubt in my mind that countless other styles used over the years at Walt Disney Animation and the comic books will find their way into this video game.

“Disney’s Epic Mickey” is coming this holiday season to the Wii.

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