Orange and Teal Invades Halo Reach

You know the old, worn out cliche that war is dominated by browns in video games? Battles that even take place in Las Vegas are desaturated for effect, giving them an Earthy hue that may not be visually pleasing, but running amidst a war zone doesn’t look right when it’s rainbow colored either.

Halo has always been the odd one out, a world where guns shoot pink needles, environments are rich with bright greens, and the sky was a dominate blue. That all seems to be changing in the design room, as the latest map packs are turning towards Hollywood for their inspiration: orange and teal.

It’s a simple combination, two colors that are in direct contrast with each other, the same way red and blue become the opposing forces. Given Hollywood’s penchant for overusing that tired color scheme (you can read about that here and here), seeing one of gaming’s brightest, most saturated FPS’s take this route is disturbing.

Here is Anchor 9, one of the maps included in the Noble DLC:

It used to be that sides of maps were separated out by red and blue lighting, an easy way o know where you were in evenly designed maps. Not only is Anchor 9 split by this hideous new trend, objects inside of it are colored the same. Screens flicker damage reports with orange and teal, lights on server-like things blink these two hues, and any other shades trying to make their way out are overwhelmed by these color choices. It was once nice to head out into space just to look out into space to see the variety of galaxies swirling about, but since they took out the shield (another post all together), that’s not easy anymore either.

But, you say, it’s just one map, right? Well, here’s a screen from the upcoming Defiant map pack:

This problem is only getting worse. It makes games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, with its candy-coated primaries a joy to look at, and while no, that’s not the solution for every design, neither is orange and teal. This doesn’t make your game look “Hollywood.” It makes it look like a lazy easy out and soulless expression.