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Redesigned Box Art Images Approach Games Differently

| 7 Oct 2014 19:15

A group of artists at Better Box Art reimagined the covers for video games if box art was done without marketing in mind.

Better Box Art believes video game box art should be as creative as games. The group, made up of entrepreneurs and artists across the U.S., hopes to distribute a series of 10 alternate cover images for popular video games with the help of Kickstarter backers.

Peter Lapp, founder and director of operations of Better Box Art, got the idea for varied cover art after looking at the cover art for books, which sometimes show no characters on the cover. Lapp believes video game box art focuses more on marketing than the games themselves. The following covers exude a feeling or atmosphere over a single character.

Lapp explained that having a character as the focus of cover art can be excellent when used effectively, but he told The Escapist that often publishers do so with the intent of marketing. "All too often, the main question being asked when a publisher designs a character-centric cover is, 'How recognizable is this character and how many units will the sell?'" Lapp said. "As much as I love Far Cry 3, its cover is perhaps the best example of this in action. Ubisoft clearly realized that they had struck gold with Vaas at that year's E3 press conference."

Lapp went on to say that even though Vaas was only a small part of Far Cry 3 among several other ideas in the game, Ubisoft decided Vaas was the best selling point.

"If the way that the character is portrayed on the cover gives us better knowledge of who they are in relation to the media we're about to consume or it gives us greater insight into the themes, ideas, or tone that the piece of media has to offer, than a character-centric cover can be wonderful," he said. "If it's done purely for marketing reasons, it's rarely very good."

Far Cry 4 also features a character as the focus of the box art. Antagonist Pagan Min sits on a desecrated statue with his hand on top of the head of another man, weapons on either side of them. When Ubisoft revealed the box art without context, some found the art offensive. Better Box Art's version of a Far Cry 4 cover shows no characters; instead it illustrates a mountainous landscape, focusing on nature.

Lapp does not know whether the artist commissioned for Better Box Art's Far Cry 4 image, Tyler Holman, had that controversy in mind when creating his image. "When we contacted Holman, he immediately began discussing concepts for Far Cry and kept reiterating that he wanted to make the environment the focus of his art," Lapp said. "It's clear to me that the primary motivation for his decisions was that he wanted to create a design based on the elements of Far Cry which genuinely inspired him."

Better Box Art's kickstarter campaign ends October 24. All 10 designs are available as cover art for game boxes, and 11"x17" posters. The Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto V, and Watch_Dogs designs are also available as mouse pads. Those interested in the Kickstarter also have the option of commissioning Better Box Art to design alternate cover art for a game of their choice.

Source: Better Box Art Kickstarter

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