Chibi style is basically characters made smaller and with bigger heads. This makes the characters look cuter. It can be used alongside certain other art styles as well. Often there are anime merchandise featuring a cute chibi version of the characters. Sometimes just artwork but you also can get cute chibi anime figures. When it comes to video games chibi style is something that is becoming a common occurrence. In particular the 3DS is getting a number of games with that style. I’m going to know describe the right and wrong of chibi style in video games.
One of the reasons chibi style is used is due to console limitations. Smaller screens can be a hindrance to more properly proportioned characters. The size of them it can be hard to see the finer details. Facial expressions can be lost in the distance. Chibii style is better suited for such situations. The larger heads enable a more expressive and possibly more creative array of emotions. Which can be more diverse. Due to the size of them it’s easier to see those expressions. Even when fully zoomed out their bigger heads are still viewable. This also extends to general exploring type gameplay. The chibi style characters are much easier to follow. They often pop out from the background. Which can be a huge benefit when dealing with large number of on-screen characters. And yes chibi style can be easier on the hardware as well. Not requiring to look realistic or be as detailed makes it easier for the game to work smoothly. Of course you can still have finely detailed chibi style if you wanted to. You can couple this with certain other art styles to create a more unique look.
Chibi isn’t just referring to the style of the characters. This is where the problem comes in. While a variety of games use the chibi style not many use it throughout the game. This is when you get weird and sometimes jarring visual experience. Last thing you want in a game is to break the gamers immersion. You want to draw them in and keep them playing. Plenty of more recent and upcoming examples that do this. With cute chibi style in-game characters but still have a normally proportioned characters for cut scenes and face portraits as well. Which can put off some gamers from even buying said game. This also fails to fully utilise strong points of the chibi style. Those adorable and fun facial expressions.
There is a strong misconception with the chibi style. That it’s a kiddy style. That the game using that style is made to appeal to a younger audience. Most almost and teenagers themselves tend to stay away from chibi and similar styles due to that association. It can also make the game feel cheaply made as well.This gives a strong wrong impression to the gaming community as a whole. Part of it is due to the misuse of the chibi style. Depending on who the game is being aimed at the chibi style could work against or for it. The style appeals more to a female audience. Not to say all females will love it or that all males will hate it.
The chibi style has it’s benefits. When done right in the right kind of game the chibi style is amazing. The best example of this is the upcoming Project Mirai DX for the 3DS. The style is done throughout the game. Characters are chibi throughout. The stages they dance and sing on all fit the size and style of the chibis. Everything is done for the chibi characters. The characters themselves vocaloids also have chibi style figures. In fact partly this game was created to advertise the nendo figure line. The game benefits form the chibi style. It comes down to doing what’s right for the game and doing it properly.