The Daily Grind - Do you like stylized visuals?

I really want to like WildStar. I mean come on, it’s a sci-fi MMO and it’ll have player housing at launch. What’s not to love, right?

Except for that whole cartoon aesthetic. Sci-fi to me is cold, dark, and grungy with a side of heavy metal, and while I don’t know what the proper artistic label for WildStar’s visual palette is — maybe “stylized” — I know it’s not my first choice. If the gameplay and feature sets are solid, it will likely grow on me. As it stands now, though, it’s uncomfortably close to World of Warcraft and the cringe-worthy look of those Star Wars’ Clone Wars shorts.

What about you, folks, do you like stylized MMO visuals or do you prefer a different approach?

Stylized graphics are always superior in my opinion. I am an artist, so I may be biased as I see no longevity in ‘realistic’ graphics or any skill or talent other than in the graphic engine itself, which is all the hardware’s doing. With the way technology works, a realistic game looks awful shortly after it’s released as newer and newer games look better and better ad inifinitum. As an artist, I have to explain to many of my programmer friends the 12 Principles of Animation and why just Mo-Capping something isn’t enough. You have to exaggerate. MoCapped games where the art team didn’t go in and add the 12 Principles look dead and lifeless. There are so many subtle motions in the human body that I don’t think our technology comes anywhere close to mimicking yet. That is where animation comes, it adds life and vibrancy to an otherwise cold, dead lifeless husk. I always have to explain it over and over though. They never seem to understand. “But it’s what is real? Why doesn’t i look as good?” I feel the same with with stylized art styles versus ‘realistic.’ I loathe the way Half-life looks because the ‘artists’ essentially just took a bunch of stock images off of the internet and slapped them on all the models. It looks so bad to me. Then you have World of Warcraft where every texture is hand painted essentially and just looks so amazing and beautiful (particularly the newer stuff. Like, just looking at the fur on one of those Rhinos in Northrend, or the skybox in Nagrand …. oh man 🙂 so pretty.) Now, I “guess” I understand you don’t want your games looking like a “cartoon” or whatever (which I think is stupid) but you can still have a stylized game and keep it more gritty and serious. Stylized does NOT equal cartoony. In WildStar’s case, yea, it’s a bit cartoony, but Disney is King for me and anything with the 12 Principles of Animation, an art style and generous use of color is an instant win for me. If you don’t like art, well, sucks to be you.