Blackpowder Games' stark, black and white aesthetics of first-person colonial shooter, Betrayer, were not an artistic choice, but a gameplay-centric one, creative director Craig Hubbard told Eurogamer.
Betrayer's visuals are meant to be slightly confusing. The game's look plays off the law of closure — the brain uses negative space to fill out the image before it.
"Our brains are already wired to make sense out of incomplete visual data, so when we happened upon this, we realized that kind of what was happening was it's just a really different way of seeing an environment and seeing a game world," Hubbard said. "It adds to the tension that you don't get when the visuals are much more literal. It seemed like it was kind of intense and we were a little bit nervous about it, but we enjoyed playing it so much that we just kept coming back to it."
Blackpowder Games co-founder Larry Paolicelli added that the decision was not made as a "graphical switch," but rather was built into the game's very premise.
"You look at something differently than you would have before and that tension that it creates really, really adds to the gameplay experience, and I think that's the thing that makes it different," Paolicelli said.