Jonathan Jacques-Belletete, art director on Eidos Montreal and Square Enix's Deus Ex: Human Revolution told Gamasutra
that within the games industry, there are misconceptions about what "art direction" really means.
"I think true art direction is misunderstood in our industry still," he said in a new Gamasutra feature interview. "I think we still see it as... 'Just make it look very, very shiny; shinier than the next game.'"
"But that's not art direction," he said. "Art direction has to be about meanings, it has to be about metaphors, it has to be about visually communicating stuff ... there are very few games that do that."
"We need to get our industry out of [the mentality] ... "Look how much better this metal shader is than this other game!" That's not art; that's tech. Art is a message, is a direction, is a flavor," he said.
For Deus Ex: Human Revolution
, releasing this week, Jacques-Belletete and his art team adopted a "Cyber-Renaissance" aesthetic, one inspired by everything from the Icarus myth to Blade Runner to Vermeer.
The art team injected the game with these influences throughout the game, creating an environment that tries to show a story instead of just telling it.
"I think that it's a creator's responsibility to lay it as thick as they can, to put as much things like that in their creations," said Jacques-Belletete. "I think that, if it's there, people's subconscious somehow register all of these details; even at a subconscious level, they feel the thickness of the creation."
The art director talks extensively about turning a wide array of influences into a cohesive work in today's feature, live now on Gamasutra