You know, when a good game comes out, we tend to appreciate it for several factors ranging from graphics, gameplay to music… However, there seems to be one aspect most overlook, and that is the costume design in games. Granted, that some games don’t have anything unique to offer in terms of costume design, but some are tremendously outstanding. Below is a personal list of my favourite costume design in videogames this gen. In no particular order of course.
For a game with such an amazing and balanced visual aesthetic, it is hard for one to start with complimenting just one factor. However, one element that really stood out to me was the game’s costume design. You would see people wearing fashionable and stylistic clothes that are a mix of styles from different decades. They fit in so well with the game, that never once do you have to point out, “Hey, that looks stupid!” They are designed just so well.
Look at the above costume of Eliza Cassan. First of all, the colour template is visually appealing. A hint of purple mixed with gothic black. Furthermore, you can see amazing levels of detail into resembling the stitching and texture work, making it look realistically beautiful. It also has somewhat of an antiquity to it that compliments not only one, but several generations.
Another good example of the antiquity mixture is above. As you can see, the padded and detailed texture fits really well to the overall setting of the game and you’ve got high neck designs that really call back to a much more luxurious and pampered era.
In most games, the outfit design of a military group is really generic, something simply based on real world design. They don’t leave much room for innovation. However, Deus Ex has some really cool and innovative designs for the tactical costumes worn by the para-military groups. They not only look cool, but actually look functional, like something that real mercenaries might wear. The belltower spec ops costume, that is shown above is my personal favourite. It follows the games polygonal design template, and has many functional features like buckles and pockets that are well mixed with basic armour design.
Assassin’s Creed is perhaps one of this gens most researched and worked on games. It features an art style and story unlike any other that spans over many decades. Also, each game has a huge, living and breathing world filled with rich culture. So it is only fair that the clothes be done right. Each game has the civilians wearing different kind of clothes. The first has them wearing loose fitting clothes, the second trilogy has them wearing lush, renaissance themed clothes while the third has tunic, colonial and royal dressing.
However, the best costumes, without a doubt, belong to the Assassin’s. Each game takes on a different scenario, and thus the design input is different. Altair’s assassin costume, as seen above, is simplistic with the stitch work complimenting the middle-eastern work, yet the red part, minimal but strong, gives it identity and distinction. Ezio’s costume, is much more rich in color, and features embroidery. It perfectly showcases the renaissance style, and sophistication. Also serving as a sign of Ezio’s wealthy heritage. The revelations costume, takes a much more natural turn with its leather and fur work that is reflective of a cold setting. It’s subtle embroidery and loose design once again matches the Arabic setting. Lastly, Connor’s outfit is very colonial with native American features and has a visually appealing and balanced template. It matches with both the industrial and natural setting.
Lastly, Desmond himself sports some stylish clothes. Especially his trademark hoodie that he is seen wearing in all the games. In fact, it got so popular that two stylized and fashionable jackets based on him were released for sale in real life. The one in the middle above, is black and simple but definitely stylish. It has a French vibe to it in my opinion and is subtle, while the one on the right is more roguish and outstanding in terms of design.
Bioshock is perhaps a classic of this generation. It has three amazing games, with the first two taking place in the underwater city of rapture and the third on the city of skies, Columbia. Bioshock, in my opinion, shows that no matter where we find utopia, or make promises of it… human nature always stands in the way. Now, the games have some of the best art in gaming history that are incorporated into huge cultures. However, one of the things that stands out in this series is the costume design.
The costumes in the first two games are probably inspired by the 1920’s era, even though Rapture was built probably, post 30’s. The era of 20’s was mostly formal with men wearing suits and the women, either suits or one-piece long dresses. This influence can be seen on the splicers and civilian costumes throughout the game. They are, both luxurious and beautiful looking.
The clothing in Bioshock Infinite was more reflective of the Victorian era with lush and formal looking costumes. Booker and Elizabeth both sport some fantastic pieces of clothing. I especially like Bookers costume. He wears a somewhat two piece that includes A formal pant-shirt combo with a cleanly stitched waist coat, and for the extra measure, a scarf around his neck… classy. Classy, can also be used to define the costumes for Elizabeth. They are very reminiscent of the Victorian era, especially the one on the far right above. Both the texture and colours stand out. I especially like the band around neck and the outgrown sleeves, they give the costume a beautifully majestic outlook.
Dishonored… One of the best games I have ever played. It was really interesting and unique with gameplay features that cater to many players. You could either play it silently, or go all out and finish it brutally. It gave you that much of a freedom, and unlike most other “multiple play-style” games, did it really well. The game is set in Dunwall, a ruthless place set in the Victorian era during the great black plague.
The civilian clothing is inspired by the Victorian setting with the rich citizens wearing majestic costumes and the unfortunate ones wearing ragged clothing. It was the time when what you wear was extremely important in creating your image. I particularly like the designs of the military clothes, as pictured above. They are very sharp looking with simplistic colour selection. Lord Regent, in keeping with the Victorian designs, has a high neck collar, it really mixes well with his fiendish features and calm personality. It gives him an outlook of class. Somewhat same goes for the Empress, tall collar of an untucked shirt under her buttoned half-sleeve jacket really pays homage to not only the setting, but also her majestic and noble personality.
My favourite costume in this game, without a doubt belongs to Korvo. I like how the waist-belt holds his button-less overcoat and how the unusually stitched hood matches with his trademark mask. this gives him a very mysterious and deadly outlook. The tall boots as well, are very fitting. Daud’s costume is much more simple then Korvo’s but like him, he has a waist-belt holding his stylish overcoat in place, and he wears some amazing looking, tall combat gloves.
One part of the game worth mentioning is the ball. That section had some really outlandish and grotesque costume designs. Amusingly, I believe the designers must have gone wild at that stage. I am still trying to wonder what that babyface costume is suppose to show… is it that someone has thrown baby parts in her head? Or, are there babies trapped inside? Maybe an upside down baby, And what about that moth costume? Well, these are better left to speculation. Still though, these were pretty outstanding and well worth a mention.
Dead Space, is one of the most grotesque and unsettling franchise of this gen. It has an amazing ambiance and art design in all its games. I especially like this series due to the fact that it has been heavily inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing, which is in my opinion, one of the prime staples of the horror genre.
There isn’t much to talk about when it comes to civilian clothing, as most of them are either dead or missing. However what is really outstanding is, Isaac’s original costumes in each game. They are cool and realistic looking. The first game introduced us to how suits could be better utilized in a sci-fi game by giving Isaac dynamic suit functions, such as the stasis and health bar. There are no huds in this series, but instead the equipment itself gives you your current reading. The costume in the first game was armoured, probably to prevent Isaac from industrial accidents. It had a really cool vent like design on its mask, with light piercing through the gaps. I think the vent like design was made so that it could insulate heat and cold better for the engineers. The riot security costume from the second game is much more sleek looking and is made for better movement and agility. It doesn’t feature heavy vent designs like the basic costumes.
The third game takes place in some really harsh environments, so to better protect Isaac, the designers made realistic suits for him. The snow suit is heavy with fur work, to help Isaac with the cold climates, while the archaeologist suit is made not only for cold, but burning temperatures as well. Still, as you can see above, they all look really cool and have become a trademark for the Dead Space genre.
So that was it for my list of favourites. Are there games which have outstanding costume designs in your opinion? Something that you would love to get your hands on if real? Well, give me a shout out in the comments below!
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