Best Art Direction

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EditBest of 2017 Nominees

EditBest Art Direction

Be sure to check back on December 20 to see IGN's Best Video Game Art Direction of 2017 winner. And of course our opinion isn't the only one that matters — cast your vote in the poll at the bottom of the page to help decide the IGN People's Choice selection!


From IGN's Cuphead Review: Cuphead looks astonishing. Its 1930s animation style – all watercolour backgrounds and surreal, juddering, hand-drawn characters – pay peerless homage to Max Fleischer and his ilk, and are perfectly implemented. Somehow it manages to balance dozens of moving elements and a slight rear-projection blur without ever feeling unreadable in even the most frantic moments. Every scene is a masterwork – it’s a near-unbelievable achievement for an art style.


From IGN's Awesome Games Roundup: GNOG might be one of the coolest looking puzzle games in a while. Its series of hyper-colorful monster-headed physics toys are a joy to look at and interact with, not to mention the whimsical sounds and reactive music that accompany it. Its vivid scenes come alive in new ways with the help of PlayStation VR.

EditHorizon Zero Dawn

From IGN's Horizon Zero Dawn Review: Horizon's ‘post-post apocalyptic’ landscape itself is beautiful and terrifying, so journeying through it in search of things to do between main quests is usually a reward of its own. Snowy vistas, autumnal forests, and vast deserts are stunningly realised. Frozen mountain peaks or the calcified remains of a skyscraper make for eerie, quiet jaunts, made more unnerving by the Lost World-esque horror that sits in Horizon's underbelly.

EditThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

From IGN's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review: In the foreground, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s anime-inspired art style is colorful, remarkably lively, and beautifully animated. The untamed, post-apocalyptic, techno-fantasy land of Hyrule is vast, beautiful, and filled with a diverse set of locations from grassy fields to craggy alpine mountains.

EditLittle Nightmares

The unwanted flicker of a lighter flame. A camera that never looks quite where you want it to, hiding its scares at the edges of the screen. Mundane household items made strange, stretched and oversized. Little Nightmares takes every opportunity to speak the visual language of horror, in the process making its setting, The Maw one of 2017's most distinctive locations. Its world feels like a haunted doll's house, tilt shift camera effects only adding to how small and out-of-place you feel within it - oddly, for a horror game, that makes you want to see every part of it. At least until one of its gorgeously creepy bosses scrape into view, and all you want to do is run.

EditMonument Valley 2

Especially considering the game is actually centered around perspectives and art design, it’s impressive that Monument Valley 2’s art style is so consistently surprising. The minimalistic shapes, soft palettes and smart use of highlights and shadows feed into a puzzle language that’s easy to grasp, but also full of curious optical illusions. Each ‘world’ and step of the story is tonally consistent in colour, and levels have carefully been designed to make you feel something. A dark, winding stairway downward feels like a descent into loneliness, and a puzzle on the top of a bright yellow tree makes you feel like you’re rising to meet the sun.

EditNight in the Woods

Night in the Woods manages to tell a bittersweet and startlingly relatable tale not in spite of its cute, cartoonish art style, but because of it. It bursts with a sly, light-hearted charm that stands in sharp and stylish contrast with its more somber themes, bringing a loving amount of humanity to its cast of cartoon animals. Everything from its color palette (a cool mix of warm fall colors and dazzlingly sharp neons) to its attention to environmental detail breathes life into Mae's adventures through young adulthood.

EditPersona 5

From IGN's Persona 5 Review: The very act of exploring Persona 5’s Tokyo is a delight. From city lights at night to crowded subways during your school commute, every part of this world is bursting with vibrant color, and every detail feels meticulously thought out and eerily accurate to real-world Tokyo. The anime-like art style is complemented by full animated cutscenes that are absolutely gorgeous and help to punctuate major story events.


From IGN's Pyre Review: The art in Pyre never ceases to impress. The character designs are imaginative and expressive, from the hulking, curly horned demons to the quirky, goblin shopkeeper who sells trinkets to boost your team’s performance in The Trials. The variety of surreal, dreamlike landscapes you’ll travel through in the Downside look like they were pulled from a children’s book and then tweaked to be just a bit darker, just a bit weirder, to the point of coming across almost foreboding.

EditRain World

From IGN's Rain World Review: Rain World's backdrop of a world ruined by ecological catastrophe wrestles for your attention. Flooded subterranean chambers shimmer with reflected ripples, overgrown architecture is dappled with shifting shadows of clouds and enemies hovering out of sight. Each single-screen area looks meticulously crafted, dotted with almost unnecessary levels of detail to make them feel not just like video game levels, but a truly abandoned place.

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EditVOTE NOW: 2017 People's Choice

EditBest Art Direction

Voting closes on December 19, so cast your vote for Best Art Direction now!

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