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Illustrated Indies

We've seen a handful of mainstream games (Prince of Persia, Okami) explore new art directions, but I feel that the best work, the most risky and experimental art styles, will be found within the independent games of the next few years.
Independent games are usually associated with "experimental" mechanics and retro art style. In the past couple of years we've seen traditional pixel art be refined to a point where artists are now able to emulate the indie designer's experimental mechanics of the game with their own new and interesting takes on visual language. But this is a visual language distinctly born out of video games. What excites me is the time, now fast approaching, when collaborations with professional artists or illustrators will become commonplace.

We've seen a handful of mainstream games (Prince of Persia, Okami) explore new art directions, but I feel that the best work, the most risky and experimental art styles, will be found within the independent games of the next few years. We can already see this beginning to happen with games such as Crayon PhysicsMachinarium, and Booty Juggler. It's an extremely exciting time to be an artist in the games industry or studying to enter it. Demand for talented people with unique styles is going to explode in the next decade. I think the golden age of indie games will be brought about by this convergence of professional artist and experienced indie designer.

I want to see Kevin Dart collaborate with a game studio to create an action-adventure Yuki 7. I want a Sci-Fi 4X strategy game inspired by the works of John Berkey. I want to introduce Interactive Fiction writer Emily Short to Sebastian Langeand see what they come up with. I want Daniel Benmergui to put aside pixels and collaborate with Stella Im Hultberg. I'm confident this will happen, that these kinds of games will be made -- though maybe not with these exact artists. As I patiently wait for this day I'll keep scanning the web, becoming inspired by art wherever I find it. When I eventually enter the industry as a game designer I can promise you I definitely won't be dreaming of photorealism and HR Giger.

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