Famed games developer Warren Spector (Deus Ex), has warned the video game industry to tread very carefully, lest it end up as niche and marginalised as he thinks comic books are.
"If we don't break out of big buff guys with swords and guys in tights and space marines in armour, we're going to get marginalised in the way comics have been in the United States" he told attendees during his keynote address at GDC Europe. "I hope we can break free of the content of comic books."
That's...well, it's a little unfair on comic books, particularly given the success something like Scott Pilgrim is enjoying right now, but when you consider comics aren't exactly an everyday purchase for everyday people, he's got a point. It's a little unfair of video games, though, when you consider the runaway hit of 2010 has been a sprawling spaghetti western.
The rest of his talk dealt less with generalisations and more with common sense, Spector issuing a public - and long-overdue - decree that developers focus more on iconic imagery than a futile attempt at photo-realistic graphics. "Our graphics have gotten a lot better over the years, but we still fall far far short of what people expect from a movie. In some respects we're still making cartoons."
As games like Wind Waker and Team Fortress 2 - two of the most visually iconic titles of the past decade - show, maybe trying to make a game look like a cartoon is the best way to go!