Sometimes, a spark for some beautiful video game art
can come from reimagining art from the real world. Deciding on a style from an art style that exists outside of games can be just as, if not even more valid, than the art styles of other games. Of the above examples, Hades does this is a vague sense. While Supergiant’s design is unique and very much their own, the art for Hades and its design is heavily inspired by Greek art. This isn’t surprising considering the game’s subject matter.
Another game like Blasphemous uses a retro style with Christian motifs and symbols. One of the easiest ways to create something unique for your 2D design projects is to take a pre-existing art style, and apply a single change to its underlying design. Blasphemous does this phenomenally, by using Christian art for its 2D art drawing style, but simply taking out the realism focus of renaissance Christian art, and replacing it with pixelated graphics, and adding a touch of gore for style.
This is not to say the team at Blasphemous did not put in ample effort to create what they did, but rather to say that they knew exactly how to evoke their inspiration’s feeling without appearing to be the same. You too, can apply this design technique.
If your game features a backdrop in a pre-established culture or world, using that reference is a perfect start for your 2D design projects.