In 1977, the first video game art came from the Atari 2600 (which required a large heaped spoonful of imagination). Although not as well presented as those in arcade machines, this was the first taste of at-home gaming.
However, by 1983 artwork had taken a huge leap forwards with the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Colours were still limited, but you could begin to see more realistic visuals, with added details.
Now, in 2019 (only 36 years after the NES), video games are so life like they’re too good to be real. The use of visual 3D effects, motion capture and various other technologies make games more immersive than ever before.
Below are just a small handful of the hundreds of visually stunning games on the market today, and what makes them a cut above the rest.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Nominated for dozens of awards, including Best Art Direction at the The Game Awards 2018, this game is an absolute visual masterpiece.
The landscapes alone are a sight to behold, with a long draw distance and immense environmental detail. It uses high quality global illumination and ambient occlusion, alongside tessellated tree textures.
They even went as far as ensuring a certain animals undercarriage reflected the weather conditions. If that’s not dedication, we don’t know what is.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
The one thing that sets every Assassin’s Creed game apart is the ability to perfectly replicate historically accurate worlds. No stone is left unturned, almost literally, when it comes to the finer details.
The scale of the map is also out of this world, which includes a variety of climates (each with their own minute details). Unsurprisingly, it too was nominated for Best Art Direction at The Game Awards 2018.
What better way to learn more about history?
Far Cry 5
Unlike other games, Far Cry 5 actually uses a fixed resolution for all consoles, with minimal scaling. This gives a softer look, which is actually more visually pleasing.
The textures and shading are unworldly, blending seamlessly into every piece of scenery. Although the artwork wasn’t quite enough to gain any visual award nominations, it’s still a fantastic example of game artistry.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
It won Best Art Direction (Readers’ Choice) at IGN’s Best of 2015 and Excellence in Visual Achievement at the 2016 SXSW Gaming Awards.
The Witcher 3, after 4 years, is still considered one of the most visually stunning games of all time. One of the biggest contributions to this is the use of HairWorks. This adds thousands of DirectX 11, tessellated hairs to characters.
If that wasn’t enough, the recent Visual Upgrade Mod makes all textures even more detailed than before. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
If you’re an artist, and you think you have what it takes to help make a game like this, then why not see what game artist jobs are on offer?? Our online job search has hundreds of positions available, all over the world.