The Unfinished Swan, Giant Sparrow's upcoming PS3 debut, falls very much into the latter camp, its pared-back use of colour creating a striking look. But while the game's visual's are certainly worth celebrating, creative director Ian Dallas admits that there are other benefits to such a sparse design.
“I think there are a number of factors there," he told us at Gamescom earlier today, "One of the things that’s really nice with a minimalist palette is that it makes the game design a lot more straightforward.
"So in our game when we wanted players to look for something, you just had to give it a colour. In the city area we just showed, these paddles the players interact with are red. And they immediately stick out because the rest of the world is fairly subdued."
Dallas goes on to highlight the time savings from having less programming and texture work to complete, and stresses that making it as easy as possible is paramount when you have a small number of people working on the game.
"Part of it certainly is just a functional requirement that it’s easier to work with [The Unfinished Swan's minimalist palette]. Also, as an independent developer you have a lot of people doing more than one job.
"The designer will also be the creative director and the level designer. Because you have fewer people on the team, the game ends up looking even more minimal as a result."
But that doesn't make it a weakness, necessarily: "It also helps to differentiate the game from triple-A titles, which are obviously going to go in a very different direction.”