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Best Art Direction of 2020

Best Art Direction of 2020 - Article

by Taneli Palola , posted on 14 January 2021 / 2,505 Views

Combining art and design to evoke a desired cultural or emotional reaction - that's the basic definition of art direction. It's more than just putting a host of beautiful imagery into your product and expecting people to love it. It's about how, where, when, and why you use these assets; how can you use a specific piece of art to elicit the effect you want from the people who see, hear, or otherwise experience what you've created? With that in mind, here are the games showcasing some of the Best Art Direction of 2020.


The Shortlist:


Cyberpunk 2077


Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps


Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons


Ghost of Tsushima


The Last of Us Part II





The Winner:

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Runner-up: Ghost of Tsushima

To call Ori and the Will of the Wisps gorgeous would be a massive understatement. Moon Studios had already done an amazing job with the art direction in Ori and the Blind Forest back in 2015, but with this sequel it somehow managed to completely outdo its earlier work. Practically every moment, every scene, every small detail works together to create something truly special; an audiovisual masterpiece on a level rarely seen or heard regardless of the medium.

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Cerebralbore101 (on 14 January 2021)

Ori and GoT are both beautiful games.

  • +7
curl-6 (on 14 January 2021)

Well deserved, Will of the Wisps is one of the most gorgeous games I have ever laid eyes on

  • +6
Chazore (on 14 January 2021)

I'm surprised 2077 didn't get a win, because it's art dept was one of the best looking aspects of the game, RT and all.

  • +5
Machina (on 14 January 2021)

I think this should have gone to Cyberpunk personally. The one thing they definitely nailed was the art style and atmosphere. But the backlash against the bugs and against CD Projekt Red for some of its shitty decisions pretty much killed its chances of winning anything unfortunately.

  • +5
Chazore Machina (on 14 January 2021)

I can see why it's outright lost any sort of voting on this site. Even if it gets fixed, it's still going to be hated.

  • 0
KratosLives Machina (on 15 January 2021)

All style, no substance

  • -2
shikamaru317 (on 14 January 2021)

This one was a tough one for me to vote on, Ori, Tsushima, and Cyberpunk all had fantastic art design, but I voted for Ori and I'm glad it won. I probably would have given Cyberpunk 2nd place though with Tsushima at 3rd.

  • +3
LivncA_Dis3 (on 16 January 2021)

Ghost is way more impressive to be honest and tlou2 was a close second!

  • +2
Qwark (on 17 January 2021)

I would have prefered to see ghost of tsushima winning this one, but at least its not Animal Crossing. Cyberpunk and TLOU p2 are graphically more impressive, but are not really artistic since they aim for photorealism. Although if that's the aim TLOU can't even hope to compete with Demon Souls.

Ghost of tsushima isn't graphically as impressive as TLOU p2 or Cyberpunk. But the art actually serves as a guiding purpose in the game. Whether its folliwing songbirds, the wind or smoke cloud, they all guide to new activities. This level of interactivity outside of missions is somewhat rare and makes it more special to me than the other games. But hey Ori looks really beautiful.

  • +1
Ka-pi96 (on 16 January 2021)

Don't agree with this one. Ori looks terrible to me. Better than Animal Crossing winning I guess, since that looks terrible too. But IMO the award should have went to Cyberpunk, Tsushima or The Last of Us.

  • +1
siebensus4 (on 15 January 2021)

Well deserved.

  • 0
KratosLives (on 15 January 2021)

Tlou2, easily

  • -1
Hynad (on 14 January 2021)

The absence of FFVII Remake in this category is strange at best.

  • -2
Hynad Hynad (on 15 January 2021)

Lol. Typical VGC culture.

  • +1
UnderwaterFunktown Hynad (on 15 January 2021)

It got my vote.

  • 0
Zkuq Hynad (on 15 January 2021)

It's a nice-looking game but its art direction is not that special.

  • +4
shikamaru317 Hynad (on 16 January 2021)

I definitely think it should have Animal Crossing's place in the top 5, Animal Crossing artstyle doesn't do anything for me at all.

  • 0
nex (on 15 January 2021)

...but but but... VGChartz said Ghost of Tsushima is a 5/10

  • -7