While the pixel art community is still flourishing, its use in mainstream games might be in decline. In a wonderful article by Fred Dutton, videogame pixel artists are asked to chime in about how the leaps in technology are changing videogame art.
The humble DS is arguably the final platform where the decision to visualise a game by painstakingly filling in tiles of pixels is a pragmatic, technical necessity. With the 3DS boasting a considerable leap in horsepower over its predecessor, the only reason to develop a mainstream retail release using pixel art rather than more modern graphical techniques would be an aesthetic one.
Through quotes from Adam Saltsman (creator of iOS classic Canabalt), Matt Bozon (creative director at WayForward Technologies) and Mari Shirakawa (director of the latest Kirby game), the artistic and practical considerations of pixel art are hashed over. Anthony Chan, co-founder of Toronto studio Cabybara Games probably sums up my feelings best: “It would be sad [to see it go] because pixel art is intertwined with games. It’s part of the fabric, part of its history.”