This is a thread for appreciating the unique art style of Japanese HD surrealism. Japanese HD surrealism is a term coined (by me) to describe art styles in Japanese-developed games on HD consoles with certain commonalities such as:
-Painstakingly crafted real-world objects/brands
-Weird boxy architecture
-Seemingly inhuman proportions/scale
-Semi open world
-Limited animations - no mo-cap, very simple cutscenes often without lip sync animations
-A strange emptiness like a bad cheap movie set
So what are some examples?
Metal Gear Solid 4
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (note the strange scale of the walls and doors)
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (surreal, wide empty streets)
Deadly Premonition Series
Deadly Premonition Series
It's important to note that not every Japanese game has this unique art style. Here are some examples of games that are close but would ultimately be excluded:
-Persona 5 - too stylized, Persona 4 might fit
-MGSV - Kojima graduated to actual realism with this title
-Any Sony first-party game - too detailed and realistic
-Resident Evil 2 - that burger looks too real compared to the horrendous food creations of the other titles
Possible precursors to this style:
While the style didn't hit its stride until the HD era there are some examples of games that most likely precipitated the trend.
Sonic Adventure - the OG
Resident Evil 4 - Later RE games achieved too much fidelity to be included
Please use this thread to share your examples and appreciation for this unique art style. If you're like me, starting a game within this category is like slipping into a warm bath. A glimpse into another reality where the goal of game design is no longer realism, but just the same crappy models and textures from 2 gens ago in HD and characters with really detailed pores.
And with that, I'll leave you with a question for discussion: Does Mario Odyssey's New Donk City fall into this category?
|# ? Aug 10, 2020 16:43|
|# ? Sep 29, 2020 01:16|
Deadly Premonition is a very strong example. The clashing of repetitive animations, often very empty locales that are still bursting with life (like the exterior of the diner versus the interior) and much higher-detail character models than the environments they are in. There is a wide gap in texture quality throughout the game and the lighting is all over the place.
Heck, Deadly Premonition even features a character in a bed with sheets, and that's something you very rarely see in video games (or 3D animation, period) due to the complexities of having characters interact with cloth without it looking terrible. It's not great and the artists hide it by not showing York directly holding anything, but still, it's cool that they tried. He's even wearing pajamas (well, to be precise, he's wearing his suit and shirt combo minus the suit), which is a step above many games where characters go to sleep fully-clothed. It's full of weird little details like that.
|# ? Aug 10, 2020 23:19|
That's a very good example right there. You touched on another point which I hadn't thought about until now but I think theatricality is one of the key elements. In that clip, York's room is laid out like a stage with various props (stacks of books treated as a single object, the phone on the desk etc.) shown less to depict a hotel room or bedroom and more to signify one.
It touches on something else I'd noticed in the Yakuza series which is how characters handing objects to one another is depicted. In the games, Kiryu moves his empty hand toward the other person and they receive an object. You are then told what this object was through text or a menu. In all likelihood it's a cost-saving measure but the effect is that the game is making no attempt to convincingly render the object itself and is fine to use some visual shorthand and rely on the player's familiarity with the menus and video games in general to glean that knowledge.
|# ? Aug 10, 2020 23:35|