Cool concept art vs. crushing reality

The vision

A desperate, last-ditch battle as the besieged human forces make one last stand against the fury of an unstoppable foe. Helm's Deep with giant, flame-handed tusk trolls.

The reality

The old RTS problem rears its grim-featured visage once again. Detailed, dramatic artwork becomes pointless when reduced to the scale of an ant colony attacking a half-eaten sandwich.

The vision

The clean, bright, clinical ambience of 2001 cleverly marred by the broken-down reality of Star Wars.

The reality

Genero sci-fi corridors, circa 1996.

Cover art that over-sold the experience
The box looked awesome, didn't it? Oh dear...

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  • TrollMan - February 18, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    i argee with all expect motorstorm pacific rift there's some texture pop ins and blurry textures every now and there but it looks great
  • CoD_22 - February 10, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    in defense of motorstorm, it is usually a lot better than that and i am consistently blown away by how great it looks. no excuses though, that is shocking. and btw, killzone does look great and also plays really well. and knifing them is so much fun :)
  • Fish - February 6, 2009 11:22 p.m.

    Maybe it's my inner old-timer showing through, but I always looked at concept art as "if the game was real, this is what it'd look like". Kinda like the boxart for NES games. Concept art should be viewed as it is: something to convey the "feel" of the game the developers are going for, not representative of what the game will look like. This isn't to be confused with "target renders" like the Killzone 2 trailer and those Red Steel images above.
  • AnonymouZ - February 6, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    well, think of it like RPGs. Concept art is not what you're actually going to see, it's what inspires you to "feel like" that ogre is actually 6ft5 and is attacking a frail human. Even if you are watching it from 3 miles away. hahah other than. me likey.
  • Necron - February 6, 2009 9:28 p.m.

    You see, this is the main problem with all video games. They all lack ambiance, immursion and the same art style used in the concept art. The only game that has pulled this off the best so far is Killzone 2 and maybe a couple other games like the Silent Hill series. This is what developers should be shooting for, not lifeless battlefields and environments.
  • Red - February 6, 2009 8:10 p.m.

    The comparisons to me were a bit of a shock at first. Then I started thinking, I'm so accustomed to games NEVER looking as good as the concept art that I don't even pay attention to the pictures when I'm flipping through magazines. How sad is that?
  • Jason.Darksavior - February 6, 2009 4:39 a.m.

    This article is so true. There are so many cool concept arts which hardly look like the real production. However, many games do live up the hype of their concept art, like Bioshock.
  • key0blade - February 5, 2009 11:22 p.m.

    Redsteel had me all hyped up for a shitty game, in which everything looked and played like SHIT
  • ELpork - February 5, 2009 4:56 p.m.

    The red steel comparison hurt on the deep down inside.
  • stuzimuzipuzi - March 1, 2009 9:58 p.m.

    moon lol,im happy that im a kid now then earlier on cause the games suck
  • killemall - February 27, 2009 7:20 p.m.

    I love the iron man/gundam on a string comments hilarity at its best.
  • Kruiser - February 9, 2009 2 a.m.

    @ EAZYSTRIDA69 : Dude, I read and reread your comment to try and find what you meant by biustnes?? Is this some sort of sick game of Mad Gab, please help?
  • TreyTable - February 9, 2009 1:20 a.m.

    Great read, although it seems to be a bit of a disservice when comparing the art of a PSP or DS game to concept art since we all know what those systems are really capable of doing. Oh, and is there anything on the reverse spectrum, where the in-game graphics blow the doors off the concept art?
  • EAZYSTRIDA69 - February 8, 2009 1:40 a.m.

    The motorstorm concept art looks great but you'v picked a really bad section of the track to show! The rest of the tracks are alot like the concept art!!!! Other than motorsorm biustnes (however you spell it) Good article
  • Jim2y - February 8, 2009 12:55 a.m.

    The unfortunate thing is sometimes the tech of the era can't handle the dreams of the artists, other times money is an issue (especially if the companies put out games every year *coughEAcough*. Just sayin'
  • xFnKxTaLeNtx - February 6, 2009 8:02 p.m.

    Loved the article! Thought that the moon one that was a little unfair but otherwise the perfect mix of funny and intuitive. A second version would be appreciated.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - February 6, 2009 4:43 p.m.

    Yeah Eric, I was blown away by that Iron Man concept painting when I found it. So epically apocalyptic. It's now one of my favourite pieces of game art, despite its origin.
  • Romination - February 6, 2009 5:55 a.m.

    Ooooh... so is THAT where For Answer came from?! I get it now... I agree with jason...a followup showing what IS make of good on promises?
  • msg - February 6, 2009 4:13 a.m.

    Nice article. I like the selection of comparison pictures. Ah, the smell of wasted potential.
  • RedBandit - February 6, 2009 3:37 a.m.

    You guys are right on with this. I have always thought this stuff. Concept art=OMG GREAT GAME

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