JOPLIN, Mo. – There’s a lot to love about Skyrim, the latest part in the “Elder Scrolls” video game series. According to my stats, I’ve logged about 60 hours working my Nord warrior to stage 26. Still, something has been irritating at me. Something bothered me during each phase of the game as well the regular graphic lulls. I play it on PS3, and that version has its split of flaws that PC and Xbox players don’t knowledge.
But the real issue that bugged me was indescribable and hard to classify, until it finally smacked me across the face last week with its ascenders, boring curves and lack of serifs. The font “Skyrim” is challenged with Future Condensed. It’s in the title screen, menu screen, exposed areas, subtitles, chat menus, map, item list, spells list, EVERYWHERE.
When I took over as editor of a weekly sister newspaper, one of my missions was to wash out the paper of all its Future use. The redesign won first-place awards for news intend from the Missouri Press Association. Chances are you’re memorable with Future, even if you don’t know its name. It’s used in about every Volkswagen ad in print or on TV. The opening title of “Lost” marked the font. You can still see it in The Joplin Globe – it’s the main font we use for centerpieces.
While I don’t like the real font, the usage is really pretty good. All the game’s menus and submenus are intelligible and obvious. The spread-out, all-caps titles that flash when a new area is exposed or expedition has begun or ended read sharp. I’m not discussion about logos, but the in-game, on-screen fonts used when legibility is more imperative than logos or branding:
- Infamous marked one of my favorites, Franklin Gothic. Infamous 2 switched to DIN Condensed, an unbelievable sans that is used a lot in Europe.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum featured a typewriter-like Rockwell for effects to read. That organized in Arkham City to Helvetica.
- Helvetica is as well used for Little Big Planet and Little Big Planet 2.
- The Unexplored series makes good use of Albertus. The excitement to use the overused Papyrus was probably present during the game’s design.
- Both of the Bioshock games use Avant Garde, a wonderful choice for the game’s Roaring Twenties feel.
- The Orange Box, which includes Half-Life 2 games and Portal, uses Trebuchet MS, which was initially intended as a screen font.
- Portal 2 used Universe, a creation from Adrian Frutiger, one of my favorite designers.
- The Ratchet and Clank Future games use Eurostile for a nice, advanced effect.
Back in the video-game peak of the ‘80s, there were only one or two fonts and all in capital letters. As graphic capabilities improved, game programmers designed new fonts.
But now that TVs are HD and game consoles are high-powered, fonts get a new possibility to shine. The right collection of a font can enhance a game’s style and mood, in much the same mode that a font becomes a newspaper’s voice.