Fan Art versus Official Art

A lot of official game art comes through our inboxes every day. Produced by game developers and distributed by their public relations teams to the media, eye-catching official game art is the stuff that magazine covers are made of and are often posted on sites like this. They help build hype for highly anticipated titles that are in the early stages of development before the dissection of screenshots and additional details in previews that inevitably follow a game’s announcement begin rolling in. Because so much is riding on the public’s initial reaction to them, this sort of official art tends to look great.
But more often than not, it’s fan art that we like best. There’s something about excellent fan-made tributes that satisfies in ways that officially sanctioned game art can’t – and no, we’re not talking about hentai doujinshi. We’re talking about the best of the best, the high quality stuff we’ve collected here today.

Of course, not all fan art is impressive. In fact, a lot of it is downright awful. The internet is full of misshapen Marios holding hands with grotesque Peaches. But to say that all fan art is made by amateurs is full of all kinds of wrong. In fact, much of the best fan art is done by professionals whose love for gaming shines through in their independent projects.

Title: Megaman for SoaringKitty
Artist: Sailor_InuyashaMon

Above: Sailor_InuyashaMon made a valiant attempt at recreating Mega Man. But this isn’t the kind of fan art that we’re talking about

Above: Still, it’s not like this official box art was much better

Title: Conquering your Demons
Artist: Ben Mauro

Great fan art doesn’t just attract the attention of fellow fans. Sometimes, they’re so professional that they catch the eyes of pros in the industry. Case in point: Ben Mauro, a student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Long before BioShock 2 was officially announced, Mauro posted images from a student project that quickly made their rounds through the gaming blogosphere. His unofficial images for a proposed sequel to BioShock looked so good, that some confused it for genuine concept art. 2K Games, the creators of BioShock, even got in touch with Mauro to express how much they liked his work and to thank him. You can visit Mauro’s blog to see more of his BioShock 2 images and keep up on his latest work.

Above: Mauro’s unofficial concept art for BioShock 2 got the attention of 2K Games

Above: Official concept art for Rapture’s lobby from the original BioShock looks great, but is severely lacking in the “Giant Mecha-whale” department

Gordon Freeman is to PC gamers as Mario is to Nintendo fans. But as much as we love Valve’s official art of the Half-Life series’ protagonist, it’s Anry Nemo’s portrayal of the stoic scientist we like best.

Title: Gordon Freeman
Artist: Anry Nemo

Above: You don’t want to mess with Anry Nemo’s version of Gordon Freeman. He’s got a crowbar and isn’t afraid to use it for the good of science

Above: In this official image, Gordon seems to be more about brooding than bashing things to a bloody pulp


  • g4m3rk1dd - April 12, 2011 3:05 a.m.

    i would pay to actually play a Dead Fantasy game...they mash everything and everyone else up so why not DoA and FF?
  • iamcare - November 29, 2010 7:37 p.m.

    My god, somebody get that monty Oum guy involved in final fanstasy, He might be able to teach them something about how to do fighting mechanisms
  • Jadernader - July 31, 2010 1:49 a.m.

    holy crap i always thought that the Gordan Freedman fan art was official.... well i learned something today
  • ghostpicnic - June 27, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    I don't like fan's version of Faith because it does look like a 12 year old with a boob job... One of the key points for that is she looks like she has an overbite with no chin, and it gives a chipmunk look on her teeth. I can see a 12 year old with such a look because their heads haven't grown out yet... This look seems to be popular in Japan cuz I've seen obvious eye-candy women actresses who tended to lack a chin with an overbite. In one women's magazine, there was an obtuse shaped head of a woman with nearly no indication of a jaw nor a chin displayed, who was obviously considered a pretty model. No offense to anyone, but that chinless overbite look just reminds me of an inbred hick... As for the person who finds it an offense to not prefer the round faced women... isn't it the other way around--being mistaken for being younger is a compliment? Plus, enlarged breasts seem more maternal when put into athletic situations... cumbersome to movement.
  • Metroidhunter32 - June 15, 2010 4:15 p.m.

    Monty Oum=God. Other then that, the fan art Faith DID look like a 12 year old with boobs.
  • Lied - May 17, 2010 5:04 a.m.

    In the fan's version I like that she has a rounder face and bigger boobs(people do look like that. Ahem.) Her boobs are verge of ridiculous at that point since she is pretty thin, but there's no reason to give her a AA cup...she should have somewhere around a C. In the original version, I like that the eyes are not so unrealistically rounded and that her nipples aren't showing. It may be because I'm female, but I think it's disgusting to have girls' nipples sticking out like that ESPECIALLY because she has no bra on and that definitely screams boob job. There is NO possible way any woman could not wear a bra and have boobs so perky without having had a boob job. Farrer was absolutely right to say the fan edited Faith looks like she had a boob job, but to say she looks twelve years old? That's offensive to anyone who has a round face shape. They have to live with that their whole lives, having someone say (hypothetically) "Aw, are you seven?" when they're eleven, ohhoho but as soon as they get boobs at twelve, they're suddenly four years older than their actual age. And think of the girls who are flat-chested and have round faces! It must really suck for them, people would always think they're really young until they hit thirty, when everyone would start thinking they're really old. Point being, she doesn't look twelve just because her face is round. That's an asshole thing to say. In any case, I don't prefer either version because neither of them are actually realistic and true to the female body.
  • TheOGB - May 14, 2010 2:36 a.m.

    I'd just like to say that I love 12 year olds with boob jobs. But seriously, I think Faith was fine before. The anime style isn't bad at all, but it wasn't very broke and therefore didn't need much fixing. In my eyes, anyway. And besides that, the fan version looks almost too much like this girl from my high school. With a boob job.
  • enlargedhousecats - November 20, 2009 8:03 a.m.

    I seriously always thought that the gordon freeman fan art was official art until I read this article
  • UberPorpoise - July 3, 2009 7:09 p.m.

    I don't like the unofficial art of Faith more because of her glaringly obvious boob job, it is because the other one looks Asian. And if we all look deep within ourselves, we will see that none of us find Asians hot. Or do we? I might have to rethink that.
  • flare149 - July 3, 2009 12:33 a.m.

    I think the fan made Faith art seems better just because the changes to the face create a kinder look. The originals face looks kinda creepy and cotrary to the developer I would not want to approach her. The second however looks more normal and kind. In fact, I kinda thought of Lily from How I Met Your Mother when I saw it. Also...I wanna Mecha Whale : )
  • MOOSE1234 - May 23, 2009 8:58 p.m.

    duh she's not 12... lol
  • secretsearcher - May 18, 2009 8:53 p.m.

    Those Death Fantasy battles were unreal. I mean, it starts with just a two on one battle and then grows until lights are coming down from the MOON. THE MOON. Seriously, great stuff. Good work Monty Oum. Good work GR.
  • Baconator96 - May 17, 2009 9:14 a.m.

    kinda dissapointed me that the Dead Fantasy videos, and everything else ive seen from Monty Oum for that matter, include only female characters. I mean, comeon, you include kairi but no damn Cloud? what the hell?
  • Dantesan666 - May 17, 2009 7:37 a.m.

    I could totallt roll with cheif being a chick... but only if she is with Samus. Cuz think about it, cheif with the big black guy? I don't think so...
  • thochaos - May 15, 2009 7:39 a.m.

    That redone Faith looks far better. Especially the chin. ReCaptcha: Mines sadder
  • GeneralTickTock - May 14, 2009 1:10 a.m.

    The beginning of Haaloid was pretty cool, but the Samus thing seemed uneeded.
  • 360nerd - May 13, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    AHAHA love the dead marios picture, its funny because its true
  • Demonflare - May 13, 2009 10:39 p.m.

    Lil laughs for the Mario arts! Lol
  • Samael - May 13, 2009 9:56 p.m.

    I'm in the "Like Faith's fan-art face but prefer original body" camp.
  • linkganon - May 13, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    you know, the wii link on tp, released in 06 held his sword in his right hand, not his left, and on the gamecube version, he's holding his sword in his proper hand, the left so flipping link example actually doesn't work now.

Showing 1-20 of 75 comments

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