Insomniac’s Resistance series tells the story of a world under siege during WWII by an alien race called the Chimera. The first two games centered around American soldier Nathan Hale, who ended up being infected by the Chimera Virus, a biological agent used to change humans into their greatest foe. He held out longer than others due to an inhibitor that kept the virus from fully infecting him until the very end of Resistance 2, where his teammate Joseph Capelli shot him in the head. Resistance 3 picks up years after Hale’s death, with Capelli now a husband and father who finds himself traveling to New York to put an end to the Chimera once and for all.
The cover art for Resistance 3 was made by British artist Olly Moss, who worked closely with Insomniac to design the logo as well. The box art gets across the idea of the Chimera having the US within their grasp by using the imagery of a Chimera skull and the silhouette of New York’s skyline. Even more appropriate is the alternate art, which does away with text and logos, showing Capelli making his way to New York alone with nothing but the gun in his hand. The design heightens the feeling of loneliness in a broken world, completely by oneself and taking matters into your own hands for a brighter future.
Red Faction Guerrilla
Red Faction Guerrilla is a bit of a soft reboot for the series. The EDF has made a name for itself on Earth. Problem is, they run things like a police state with curfews, frequent raids, and just generally oppressing the people of Mars. Alec Mason arrives on Mars at the worst time possible, just moments before his brother Dan is killed by the EDF right in front of him. With a desire for revenge and a sledgehammer in his hand, Mason joins the Red Faction to bring true freedom to the people of Mars.
The cover reflects two facets of the game. First is the destruction you’ll be causing on the Red Planet. With robots, vehicles, explosives, or a sledgehammer, you’re going to be breaking a lot of stuff owned by the EDF before the credits roll. Everything you do diminishes the hold the EDF has over each sector of Mars, and clearing them all out will make the planet yours again.
Second is Mason himself standing alone in the center, the symbol of the Red Faction emblazoned in the red dust above him. The symbol itself is actually reworking of the classic symbol of socialism, a movement that embraced the idea of sharing power via social ownership – something the people of Mars would much prefer to the EDF’s tyranny. Mason is the new symbol of the Red Faction, and his actions will inspire the people of Mars to take a stand alongside him. His actions will get Mars the freedom it’s needed for years.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Covers for superhero books are usually something foreboding or action-oriented. You know what you’re getting into, more often that not. When making something licensed for these stories, like a video game or film, this rule generally follows through. Just look at the posters for each Marvel movie, once you’re done sifting through all of the dodgy Photoshop, of course.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes’ cover is similar to the posters for the films: a lot of characters, action poses all around from everyone, and showing off what they do best. Cap charges, Hulk prepares for a punch, Wolverine looks feral, Black Widow has her guns, and so forth. The cover does a good job of showing off the multitude of heroes that show up for this adventure, while also hinting at the scope of things to come with the appearance of Thor and Silver Surfer.
Hideki Kamiya’s Bayonetta series is all about style, freedom of movement, and sheer joy. Whether the titular hero is with her friends, alone, or killing demons and angels, everything she does has a certain amount of style to it. It’s like she walks up into a club like “What up, I got guns on my hands and feet and I’m ready to wreck some shit” with a huge grin on her face.
This is what the cover for Bayonetta 2 perfectly illustrates. With arms spread out, each hand armed with a gun and her hair spread out like wings to make her look angelic, Bayonetta’s ready for a fun night out. Fighting demons and angels and rescuing her friend Jeanne take priority, yes. But that doesn’t mean she can’t have a little fun along the way. Like the other famous hero Kamiya has created, Bayonetta approaches the enemies she faces with a cocky grin. Nothing can get in the way of her having the time of her life, so both she and the player are in for one wild ride.
The world of the Helghast in the Killzone series isn’t a happy one. They’ve inhabited an environment so harsh that the people themselves have morphed into a stronger, faster, resilient, and severe population.
Killzone 2 takes place entirely on the world of Helghan. The ISA takes the fight to the Helghast, and it won’t be so easy. Many a comparison has been made to World War II here, and it’s easy to see why. There’s constant propaganda demonizing the ISA, and Helghan voices ominously emanate through their signature helmets. And then there’s the eyes. The oppressive, orange eyes, combined with the tilting of the helmets on the cover all drive one message home: You are not welcome here, and you will die.
The cover art for a Halo game always shows off its Spartan (or in the case of ODST, its titular Shock Trooper). This is meant to give the player a sense of bravado, a sense that they’ll be accomplishing great feats and be the big, armored hero who saves the day from those evil aliens.
Not so with Reach. Dark, somber colors aren’t new for a Halo cover – see 2 and 3, for instance – but here, there’s nothing to assure you that you’re gonna end up triumphing. Most evident of all is the lack of you as the player character, Noble Six. Bungie stated that this was intentional and to keep players from not being able to “see” their Six. In a way, it’s like saying that you, and your efforts to save the planet, don’t matter in the least.
Sunset Overdrive is a game that aims to differentiate itself from other games on the market, starting the minute you pop in the disc. Where other games are light on laughs or humor, Overdrive aims to make you laugh every moment it can and not take itself seriously. This is a world where you can die and literally crawl out of the ground, or jump between orange portals just a few seconds later before bouncing on a car and grinding around the city. Realism was thrown out of the window a long time ago, the onus instead being placed on drawing anyone’s eye in every way possible.
The cover captures the game’s anarchic, punk, almost slapdash style perfectly. It’s like it wants to appeal to the inner rocker and 10 year old in all of us – bunch of swirls and loops, guns, stylized graphics from a comic book, a gun that shoots explosive teddy bears, and so on. Like the protagonist says in the trailer, “it’s a fucking video game.” So why not embrace the silly that comes with being one?
Halo 5: Guardians
The marketing for Halo 5 has been focusing on the two perspectives of its playable characters. On one hand, we’ve got newcomer Spartan Locke. His reasons for hunting down the Master Chief are shady, no one can argue that. He calls Chief the “conquering hero,” as though he once had respect for the man, but it’s also clear that the Chief did something horrid enough to warrant a Spartan tracking him down.
On the other hand, Chief is the hero we’ve come to think of as the ultimate badass for the past decade and a half. It can’t just be as simple as “the Chief did a bad thing,” even when one takes into account losing Cortana.
We won’t know what ultimately puts these two men against each other, but the cover does tell us that they won’t be alone. Chief’s side will have the remaining members of the old Spartan II Blue Team – his friends Fred, Kelly, and Linda – while Locke will be accompanied by Spartan IVs, presumably the ones seen in the prologue and epilogue cutscenes for the Master Chief Collection.
This cover also reminds us that while Chief v. Locke is the central focus of the game, there’s still the threat of that Promethean machine looming in the background. It’s popped up a few times in trailers and marketing, and that very little has been mentioned about it or the Prometheans so far may be an intentional mystery.
There’s something striking about a masked psychopath putting his fingers to his head to symbolize guns. The first Borderlands had a similar color behind a red background, while drawing attention to a bunch of bandits riding their cars in the open desert of Pandora.
The cover for Borderlands 2, meanwhile, shows off our core Vault Hunters standing off against our villain, Handsome Jack. It helps sets the game’s story up as a classic case of hero vs. villain, and the bright yellow background establishes that you’ll be going to brighter, varied environments besides the desert. What it also establishes is that yes, you will be shooting bandits in the face, in more artistically violent ways!
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The two more recent Deus Ex titles, Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, have a distinct look in their sci-fi covers that separates them from others in the genre. Whereas most sci-fi titles go for the fantastical route with space travel and wormholes, Deus Ex opts for a more grounded approach.Revolution and Divided are very much hard-boiled detective drama in a sci-fi setting, not unlike Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs novels.
Everything in this universe is sleek, clean, and more importantly, black. Human Revolution’s cover went for shards of a glass, reflecting Adam’s body and the different pieces of the conspiracy.
Think of any other games with cover art that represent their games to a tee? Drop us a line in the comments below.