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Detroit: Become Human’s cover art is uncomfortably bad

It’s ... not great

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Detroit: Become Human - close-up of Markus’ face, as seen on box art Quantic Dream/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Detroit: Become Human, the next game from David Cage and Quantic Dream, will launch May 25. That’s nice to hear for fans, but what’s got them and everyone else riled up is the PlayStation 4 game’s cover art, which Sony showed off today alongside the release date announcement.

It’s not great. In fact, by many fans’ estimations, it’s one of the worst pieces of box art for a major game in recent memory.

I’m no art critic, but that sounds like hyperbole to me. Regardless, it seems like the issues with the cover boil down to two main complaints. The first: the picture’s framing. We’ve got an intense close-up on the face of Markus, the android rebellion leader played by Jesse Williams. I’m a fan of staring at Jesse Williams’ face, but the crop makes him almost unrecognizable — and worse, his face obscures what’s already a bizarrely blurry image of the Detroit skyline. It’s a generic pose, and it’s one we’ve seen time and time again; there’s even a long archive of cover art like this, where just half of a character’s face is shown.

detroit: become human box art
Don’t stand so close to me, Markus.
Quantic Dream/Sony Interactive Entertainment

A more common concern is that the focus on Markus downplays the rest of Detroit: Become Human’s main characters, particularly the android Kara. The game began in 2012 as a PlayStation 3 tech demo, which Quantic Dream named after the character. While she’s expected to play as much of a role in the story as Markus and the third lead, an android cop named Connor, fans want her represented in the game’s packaging somehow — if not by herself, then alongside the rest of the crew. It’s only fair, they argue, considering how integral she’s been to Detroit’s development and promotion.

In this age of digital storefronts and preloaded games, perhaps we shouldn’t be so bothered by box art. But we’re also in the age of volatility, so of course we’re bothered by box art. At least the internet’s providing us with some good goofs on it:

The next level of puzzles.

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