Video game box art has come a long way. Every year we get some spectacular designs that transcend typical “guy with gun in your face” and portray something more. I’ve hand-picked the box art of a few upcoming games that I think is nicely done, and why.
That’s some pretty sweet box art above. The forthcoming New Super Luigi U‘s box art is composed well and shows us what the game is all about: 4-player platforming mayhem with Luigi as the hero in his own Mushroom Kingdom based adventure. The composition is nicely done, with the arch of heroes from a standing baby Yoshi to a jumping Luigi to a flying Toad providing a frame to the game’s title. The green X over “BROS” is also a nice touch, signifying that Luigi is busting away from Mario as best he can. I like the green box as well, and how it matches the rest of the design, much better than the typical Wii U cyan/blue. I wouldn’t mind having this as a poster.
Preorder New Super Luigi U here: Amazon
The Last of Us comes out next month, and it’s one of the games we’ve been most excited about all year. The story of survival in a world recovering from a grand tragedy piques our interest, and the box art design most certainly conveys that. Featuring two desperate characters trudging through a city swamp on their way towards hope (presented in the bright sun ahead of them), they’ve stopped, for just one second, to turn and look at the camera. To look at us. They have their weapons drawn, and are ready to use them. We’re just tagging along, perhaps even slowing them down on their journey. It’s a great shot, using a tilted, narrow perspective to say “there’s only one path, and it ain’t pretty.” The title block to the left is simplified to again point to the notion that there’s no extra fluff in this world. Our goals are simple, and that’s to survive.
Preorder it here: Amazon
The Batman Arkham Origins box art is simple in nature, but deep in meaning. The game focuses on Batman’s first year on the job as a hero. Featuring just the bust of Batman in a snowy, barren background, the art depicts many of the villains he will come across drape in darkness and making up part of his silhouette. These encounters are what make Batman who he is. The chiaroscuro effect plays up that thematic contrast.
Preorder Batman Arkham Origins here: Amazon
I chose the Forza 5 box art not just because it’s a great shot of what makes the Forza games so good — the interaction between the cars and the road, signified by the doggy-eye view of the McLaren P1 in the image — but also because it gives us our first glimpse of Xbox One disc box design. It’s green, like the current Xbox 360, but very plain when compared to its predecessor. Gone are the colorful, energetic waves at the top, replaced by a simple green band with the Xbox logo emblazoned on it in the middle. This opens up more space for artwork, like the sweet Forza image, but it feels a bit dry. But DAMN that McLaren is hot!
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist has gone through a few box art revisions, but this latest is the one that finally “nails it” when it comes to the mood and theme of the game. It’s very stark: very muted colors mixed with white and gray, with only splashes of the techno green. It’s so muted that its contrast is striking. Lead character Sam Fisher is angled from bottom right to upper left, with a very determined look on his face. He’s a bit hunched over, sneaking up on an enemy (we think). It works together well, and we’re left wondering who he’s about to strike down.
Preorder here: Amazon
Rayman Legends was once planned to be a Wii U exclusive, but now it’s coming to all three current generation consoles. That hasn’t changed the quirky fun of the game, though, and has even given the designers more time to add in new features. Throughout the entire time the box art has remained largely unchained: a hand-painted scene of Rayman pulling on the tongue of an enemy. Featuring plenty of color and light, the two main colors in the image (red and green) are complimentary to each other, which gives the most contrast possible. It’s playful and fun, and describes the game without saying any words at all.
Another Wii U box, this one for Pikmin 3. The entire design is based on the idea that we’re peaking into the world of the Pikmin, which we see here by peaking through the foliage to see them. Using a mix of real-world objects and CGI, Nintendo’s artists have created a little diorama of the strange creatures in their backyard forest habitat. It’s a charming piece, accentuated further by the Wii U blue box matching the blue Pikmin in the scene.
“What’s a Call of Duty box doing up there?!” Well, because it’s *really* well done, that’s why! The soldier in the image on the cover of the Call of Duty: Ghosts box is pulling down his mask, ready to “get the job done”. That’s only part of the picture, though. The amount of detail visible on the skin, on the mask, on the gloves… all of this is much more personal than Call of Duty has ever done. This game is smaller scale from a character standpoint, but grander on the detail. It’s the debut of a new-ish gamee ngine, too, and so Infinity Ward wants to showcase the real, gritty part than the engine affords.
Preorder from here: Amazon
The mountain is a finger. That, and the expertly arranged rays of light emanating from the booger-picker help create a heroic pose for the hero made of paper. The blue sky broken by the stripes of waves is a nice touch, too.
We always give points for pocket squares. The “Saints Row Purple” has become a series meme, so including it as the basis for the suit color is a great callback. The presidential pin at the top is a nice details, but really: it’s all about the sunglasses. The contrasting color (orange & purple are complimentary, art buffs) lets us focus on the mayhem in the scenes. Aliens and giants. Cannot wait!
Preorder SR4 here: Amazon
That’s just a small amount of the great box art coming this year. Have you come across any that pique your interest?
Note: There are affiliate links used in this article.