Box art for videogames is a tricky, terrible thing. In recent years, the use of the box itself has become a nostalgic thing thanks to digital distribution and the dumbing-down of marketing for AAA titles, as Ken Levine explained when explaining away Bioshock Infinite’s bland disaster.
As box art continues to go the way of the buffalo, picking our favorite box art of the year is becoming increasingly difficult. Nonetheless there are some special ones to share. Here’s a few of the rare titles that we thought tried for something different or just nailed their target without being boring.
1 of 15
It's an alien skull made out of human skulls. If this were a metal song, the band who wrote it would have killed and eaten each other because they produced a metal song too metal. It also fills you with the appropriate amount of dread before stepping into XCOM's world.
2 of 15
I want to frame it and hang it on my wall. Just look at that retro design. It even has the word "cyberpunk" on it as a bonus and anything with the word "cyberpunk" on it is automatically cool.
3 of 15
I have thought about this cover more than any cover this year because I cannot tell if the character is being torn apart by magic or if they are pumping a fist like the hero of an 80s movie and I love both.
4 of 15
It's cute and spooky and there are weird shapes and colors and oh wow do you want to know what's happening here. What a great fit for a great game.
5 of 15
One of the year's best mixes of theme and packaging comes from this spooky portrait. It works on a lot of different... layers. ... of fear. I took that one too far, nevermind.
6 of 15
A dude's face is exploding. This is why videogames were invented.
7 of 15
The cover is better than the game. 2016's Ghostbusters game tie-in would've won this award, except all the Ghostbusters are looking at an empty alleyway for some reason?
8 of 15
One of the few AAA games this year to not feature a dude with a gigantic gun against a dystopian backdrop has a fire-wielding bro and his animal friend going up against a pre-historic beast.
9 of 15
Guys, check out all this art here. Capital-a Art. AARRRRRRRTTTTTTTTT.
10 of 15
Cool color scheme and weapons slicing some monster dude in twain? Sold.