In this day and age when gaming companies can now have all the tools and people to produce a 3D game, many still come up with those that use 2D animation. It won’t be surprising if you’re one of those who end up asking why.
The benefits are plenty, but before you deep dive into it, you better know the differences between 2D and 3D animation.
What Are 2D and 3D Animation?
First, let’s talk about 3D animation. If you’ve played a 3D game, then you know that everything is just a bit more dynamic. It’s not just the characters and background but also how they work to create a realistic experience. This is because of how 3D gaming works. Every move has depth, making it more natural than 2D games.
3D gaming also has the benefit of allowing more designs into the story. For example, the developers won’t have to worry about how the character will look wearing a hat since they can automatically modify it. Of course, this isn’t without its share of problems that only experience devs can handle.
On the other hand, 2D animation is an art that focuses on creating the illusion of depth through movement. You might be familiar with this if you’ve watched classic Disney movies. There’s a certain level of charm that comes with well-done 2D animation that you can’t find in 3D games, even if they’re using the latest technology.
Why Game Developers Stick to 2D Animation
To be fair, 2D animation comes with a lot of limitations. For example, there can never be a scene where all characters have different poses. For 2D animators, their work will have to be on a more static angle.
But developers still make them for the following reasons:
1. It Takes a Lot Faster to Make 2D Animation
This is the biggest reason why 2D games are still being made today. Just compare how long it takes animators to create a character or environment in 3D compared to the former.
If you have enough time, people, and equipment, then there’s nothing stopping you from creating high-quality 3D animations, but that isn’t the case for many small companies, which are usually indies or startups.
Based on experts’ experiences, it takes about three to five years to make a 3D game, while making a 2D requires nearly half of that time. It explains why gaming companies often launch different projects simultaneously.
The speed at which to build a 2D game is advantageous for the industry since:
2. They Can Make It for a Lot Cheaper
The speed alone already guarantees gaming companies that they can save a good chunk with their projects. However, at its core, 2D games are way cheaper to make.
One, 2D is simpler. You don’t need those complex 3D models and animations to make an enjoyable game.
Two, you can reuse 2D assets easily. Since there’s already a library of 2D assets readily available, you won’t have to spend time and resources creating something from scratch.
Three, startups with a barebones crew can quickly ramp up their team with 2D video game art outsourcing. These contractors can work seasonally, temporarily, or project-based. They also invest in tools, skills, and training, sparing gaming companies the pain of spending money for the same resources.
3. 2D Games Create Nostalgia
Talk about old-school anime and childhood memories, and you can’t go wrong with the classic Ghibli movies. Sure, they may have evolved through time, but not without keeping that nostalgic feeling.
Games are no different, and many people love reliving their childhood through well-made 2D games. They have a certain charm that 3D games can never achieve no matter how hard they try.
4. 2D Games Seem to Be Easier to Play Than 3D Ones
Perhaps it’s the simplistic designs, but people tend to find 2D games easier to play. They’re not as confusing and overwhelming as 3D games can be, which is why they are perfect for a casual gaming audience.
Nostalgia is also a potential reason. The methods of playing them hardly changed over the years.
5. Art Style Is Sometimes More Important Than Graphics
Don’t get us wrong. Graphics matter in video games, but it’s not always the defining factor. Many people would rather have an art style that they can appreciate even if the game itself isn’t that good.
Just look at how popular 2D anime are, especially when they’re not as polished compared to their 3D counterparts. Take “Akiba’s Trip,” for example. The visuals, in the beginning, were mediocre. But it still managed to attract many fans because it’s one of the few games that captured the essence of Akihabara, Tokyo’s anime and gaming district.
The 2D gaming industry is still alive for a good reason. The simplest explanation would be the cost and speed it takes to make, but many people see more than that in 2D video games.
They are classic. They are nostalgic. And most of all, they’re easy on the eyes compared to 3D animation.