"I mean, it's not that I necessarily wouldn't draw a cartoon like Henry or Snuffy Smith or Blondie, it's that I can't. If I drew Blondie, for example, it would still come out looking like The Far Side; Daisy would get rabies and bite Dagwood, who'd go insane and have Mr. Dithers stuffed — whatever that means."
— Gary Larson, The PreHistory of The Far Side
Authors have styles. It's common and acceptable that, when people write often, they start to develop a distinct way of writing, or an arbitrary favouritism
for one of their characters, places, or even a specific name.
Some authors, though, have internalized a single style to such extent that it's noticeable in anything they happen to write, co-write, or in extreme cases, even inspire. There are extreme cases in which, without knowing who wrote the work you're watching/reading, you can say "Hey, it has to be <insert author name here>!", because his/her style is too distinct and famous not
Visual artists, and movie directors, have similar styles in not only their stories but the spectacle
Related to Author Appeal
, Author Catchphrase
. See also Creator Thumbprint
. Compare Hey, It's That Guy!
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Anime and Manga
- Most of Hayao Miyazaki films have at least one scene involving flying, as well as lush natural settings and environmentalist themes. His films include a boy-girl pairing, where one of the two is either magical or has some otherwise-unusual quality. Nausicaä has her position and talent with creatures, Sheeta has her heritage, Kiki's a witch, and so on. There also tends to be a weird old lady somewhere, who is usually helpful (although Spirited Away has both a good old lady and a more villainous one).
- Chiaki J. Konaka is such a fan of HP Lovecraft, he'll often place references to the Cthulhu Mythos in any series he works on. The Big O had an episode featuring a megadeuce called "Dagon," Digimon Adventure 02 had an episode based on "The Call of Cthulhu" using Dagomon instead, and Digimon Tamers had a small reference to a university often seen in Lovecraft stories. He also reuses several names (Alice, Juri, Reika) across most of his works, and he's also a fan of Reaction Shots of the GASP! and Eye Take kind (e.g. Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze and Ghost Hound).
- Also in Digimon, the Hypnos organization with their Yuggoth and Shaggai creations. Plus the very Lovecraftian variations on D-Reaper and its ADRs. Tamers was "Lovecraft For Japanese Children."
- Koichi Ohata always uses superhumans as main characters, and all his stories are Twenty Minutes into the Future and feature cyborgs of some kind. Cases in point: MD Geist, Genocyber and Bakuretsu Tenshi.
- The manga team CLAMP is known for Ho Yay, Les Yay, dramatic Cherry Blossoms, battles in Tokyo Tower, Massively Multiplayer Crossovers, and cute mascots, among others.
- They also tend to have characters with very noodly-looking bodies. It's only become more exaggerated as they've gone on.
- They also love pimped out clothing and complex geometric designs (think the clow cards).
- And Eye Scream.
- Also, massive amounts of alchohol is consumed in their mworks.
- Mohiro Kitoh will use kids for main characters. And then he will mess them up beyond compare, while making a Humans Are the Real Monsters aesop out of it.
- Gainax will have seriously insecure characters complete with quasi-philosophical monologues. And large bouncy breasts.
- Hideaki Anno, creator of NGE, has pretty clear stylistic choices in both his animated and live-action works, codified particularly after Neon Genesis Evangelionnote :
- A villain whose motivation and characterisation are not explored in detail, if at all (Gunbuster, Neon Genesis Evangelion), influenced by his favourite film Battle Of Okinawa.
- He usually collaborates with Shiro Sagisu (Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kano) or with artists who produce soundtracks with the same effect, with a lot of quiet piano music and existing Western art music for introspective dramatic scenes (Love & Pop, Shiki-Jitsu).
- He likes using a black or white screen with writing on it, representing questions characters ask or tell themselves, narration, or parts of dialogue of some characters (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kano, Love & Pop, Shiki-Jitsu).
- Frequently uses and designs Eldritch Abomination characters, both as a director and an animator (Gunbuster, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and possibly The Wind Risesnote )
- Focus on industrial city views (electric wires, grey buildings, etc.), which Anno has said he is very fond of (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kano, Love & Pop, Shiki-Jitsu).
- Focus on sci-fi technology, using Technobabble and close-up shots (The opening sequence of Madox 01, Gunbuster, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Neon Genesis Evangelion).
- Long, suspenseful scenes waiting for an enemy attack, accompanied by unnerving music, usually played on the piano (Gunbuster, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Neon Genesis Evangelion).
- Cuts between scenes that feel ‘premature’, often to industrial urban views, creating suspenseful pacing (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kano, Love & Pop, Shiki-Jitsu).
- Somewhat Mind Screwy animation to stop the viewer from focusing on external conditions and focus on a character’s (or characters’) state of mind, accompanied by unsettling music and often a spotlight turning on loudly to indicate something (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kanonote , The Wind Rises).
- A general theme of a main character in a poor emotional state going through a crisis, or a series of crises, to grow as a person (Gunbusternote , Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kare Kano, Love & Pop, Shiki-Jitsunote ).
- Generally, producing works far on the character end of the Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters.
- Go Nagai: Mechas, action and bushy sideburns. Also Gorn, Toilet Humor and Black Comedy for his non-animated works, which are a good deal darker/raunchier than his TV shows due to censors.
- Koichi Mashimo's protagonists have a distinct tendency to be strong-willed, adorable, and deadly young women with a slightly ambiguous sexual identity, a ton of handguns, and more Les Yay in-between. Also, the man just loves to use Subtext instead of spelling things out.
- Naoki Urasawa has a thing for Jigsaw Puzzle Plots pitting Action Survivor protagonists against Magnificent Bastard Big Bads, all while giving both Generic Cuteness and Contractual Immortality the finger.
- He also adores Europe and places many of his stories there.
- Pick a Rumiko Takahashi manga. Any Rumiko Takahashi manga. It'll have Only Six Faces, Loads and Loads of Characters drawn Puni Plush style, and the protagonist will be caught in at least a Love Triangle, if not the Love Dodecahedron to end all Love Dodecahedrons. Generally at least one of the prominent characters (if not several) will be an outright Jerk Ass to the rest of the cast while not really getting punished in the end, aside from a Hyperspace Mallet or Armor-Piercing Slap or two, and another prominent character will be a raging pervert. Expect 90% of her main male characters to be secretly-kind jerks, usually paired up with a tsundere (though there are variations of this, especially in her new manga, Rinne). Absolutely no of-age woman will be flat-chested, and a common running gag in her manga are misunderstandings that cause hectic situations, often involving accidental perversion and jumping to the wrong conclusions. Several non- or semi-human creatures will serve as mascots/gag characters of sorts, depending on the series.
- Masaki Tsuzuki, the main (and only) writer behind the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise, is very fond of a particular kind of Mood Dissonance: after setting up a massive tragic mood with somber opening monologues, mournful music, and pessimistic foreshadowing, he then proceeds to throw it out the window in favor of epic battles that eventually end up with (almost) no fatalities, no permanent injuries, no psychological traumas, but a ton of new friendships. He is also known for successfully alloying the masculine and the feminine in his characters, which results in a very ambiguous relationship dodecahedron between them.
- Studio Shaft (specifically its director, Akiyuki Shinbo) has a fondness for insane visuals, mixing of photographs, CGI, Unreadably Fast Text, shifting colors, various angles, and creating an overall schizophrenic feel to things.
- Keiichiro Kawaguchi has a style that focuses on a large volume of Shout Outs, turning anything into a rapid-fire Gag Series. He also has a distinctive style of eyecatches featuring the characters saying one-liners, as well as a love of fanservice of all kinds.
- Leiji Matsumoto: Trains, willowy women, and reflections on what exactly defines a "human".
- Mamoru Hosoda's films often feature a dimension consisting of a white background covered with lots of multicolored numbers, symbols, and lines.
- Adachi Mitsuru's manga normally involves sports theme, high school relationships (and rivalries), simple, comical character designs (with enormous ears), recurring pet, the uses of Subtext and blatant references from the author's other manga (going to the point of advertising any Adachi's manga on sales)
- Junji Ito will give you nightmares about the strangest of things. Spirals, fish, your own skin... Sexually promiscuous young girls are always dangerous. The tiniest evil deed will result in a hugely disproportionate karmic feedback. The more beautiful someone is(especially if female), the more Body Horror will happen to it.
- There is one particular style that is easily recognized even when it's people making fanarts of the characters, rather than the author drawing it themselves. His characters always have really pointy Anime Hair, are always drawn with a lot of angles, the main male characters always seem to have Dramatic Wind billowing about them, especially the Badass Longcoats. He also loves to use the Good Eyes, Evil Eyes idea to differentiate characters, and two aspects of the same character. This man is Kazuki Takahashi.
- Ken Akamatsu loves his female moe characters, often possessed of and wielding enormous power. They'll almost always orbit around a central male hero. Cosplay, cultural references, computers, magic and/or Magitek will slip in there somewhere too.
- Hitoshi Ashinano: dreamlike, unrealistically tranquil settings; flying, dreams of flying; mono no aware; no magic but no proper physics and biology laws either; simple faces and complex backgrounds.
- Daisuke Igarashi: sketch-like but very detailed drawing style, heavy use of hatching instead of toning (even on eye irises), focus on nature, shamanism sensu lato, nature vs. technology.
- Amano Kozue: Cats. And water. And nearly all-female casts, all in ankle-length dresses which still emphasize their butts. (see Author Appeal)
- Suu Minazuki (Heaven's Lost Property, Gou-dere Bishoujo Nagihara Sora, Watashi No Messiah Sama) tends to use Mood Whiplashes. Often. It's not unusual for him to juxtapose Funny Moments with an Awful Truth, Moment Of Awesome, or Heartwarming Moments. He also tends to use Art Shift frequently and the Magical Girlfriend Archetype.
- Tanaka Yutaka loves Mood Whiplash, too. Minimalism, Scenery Porn, Earn Your Happy Ending, Genre-Busting, and Porn with Plot. See Ai-Ren and Itoshi No Kana for details.
- Nobuyuki Fukumoto (Kaiji, Akagi, Gambling Emperor Legend Zero): inventive and lethally dangerous gambling, psychological observations, blocky people with big noses that resemble no other manga ever, and lots of ZAWA.
- Yuu Watase manga will almost always feature:
- A young spirited Ordinary High-School Student as her main character. A girl.
- A handsome young man with an unusual background as her love interest.
- A lovable band of True Companions.
- A Face-Heel Turn by a family member or best friend of the protagonist.
- Goofy humor.
- Some sort of supernatural element appearing in a world where the supernatural isn't commonplace.
- Ryu Fujisaki loves his sci-fi and will work in futuristic designs in any manga he draws. This includes Hoshin Engi, which was a fantasy story in ancient China. Oddly, this actually worked in favor of the manga.
- Most of Hiro Mashima's works, such as Rave Master and Fairy Tail, take place in fantasy worlds with magic, swords, and sourcery, hotblooded idiot heroes, small and adorable team pets (one of which has a recurring cameo role in another series, interacting with that show's team pet) and commonly use a Boy Meets Girl dynamic for the two main characters.
- Tadao Nagahama's Super Robot Genre series usually involved themes of rebellion and War Is Hell to a certain extent, as well as a Hot-Blooded hero and his blond-haired rival with a sense of honor. Also, they sometimes had Bittersweet Endings.
- Shirow Masamune, best known as the creator of the franchise Ghost in the Shell, loves Cyber Punk themes like the Wetware CPU, Brain–Computer Interface, and cyborg police (who pilot Mini-Mecha). He also has a love of Gun Porn, especially rare weapons.
- Miki Yoshikawa of Flunk Punk Rumble and Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is really into drawing and writing wacky school comedies with a delinquent protagonist who is smarter than he looks, plays the Straight Man, is really a big ol' softie inside, and learns to loosen up by being around at least one weird friend. She prefers Boke and Tsukkomi Routine humor with a pinch of Toilet Humor and/or perverted humor about panties and boobs. Her series are about having fun in school with your friends, and as such she doesn't like portraying adults or situations which are entirely non-school-related. Oh, and prepare to see a lot of people wearing glasses. And at least some romance.
- M. C. Escher took a great deal of inspiration from the geometric designs in the Alhambra, a Moorish palace he saw on a trip to Spain. However, his works can readily be told apart by the one thing he found fault with in those designs — whereas they were all abstract, in accordance with Islamic prohibitions against realistic art, Escher's art always has something that's alive.
- H. R. Giger is a serious, serious, serious case of Freud Was Right; all of his artwork contains nightmarish sexual imagery depicting the merge of flesh and machinery with strong phallic and erotic overtones. You probably recognize his work from the Alien franchise. The xenomorphs? They look like giant dicks for a reason.
- Telcontar Rulz tends to put in a lot of Arc Words which are variations on 'this was no coincidence', implication of meddling by the Almighty, somewhat Catholic views of the afterlife, Wolverine being connected to Van Helsing (as in the film) and being a nephilim. Also, Big Damn Heroes and Papa Wolf / Mama Bear characters abound. And lots and lots and lots of snarking.
- Nimbus Llewelyn suffers from Complexity Addiction and has a writing style that can be summed up by the facts that he has admitted he favours writing Tony Stark, Harry Dresden and Loki Odinson and credits Jim Butcher, Joss Whedon and Terry Pratchett as his main influences. The snark and awesome is taken Up to Eleven. The end result is usually Crazy Awesome and Crazy Enough to Work, leavened with Grey and Black Morality and a hint of Cerebus Syndrome with significant degrees of Earn Your Happy Ending.
- The Total Drama fanfic writer, Gideoncrawle has a description-rich, dialogue-light style with a flavor that readers have described as “19th Century", “elegant”, “nearly poetic”, and so on. He is also inclined to explain things in detail, whether in the story or in notes, and to use "death and renewal" themes.
- Shadow Crystal Mage: He's been deified as the Overlord of ALL CRACK! He also does his best to get an insanely high trope/story ratio. Plus, he loves Crossovers.
- Writing team Aleine Skyfire and Riandra make an interesting case. Skyfire's first Sherlockian novel, Mortality grew out of her tendency to torture Sherlock Holmes and prove that he's Not So Stoic, as well as her need for Fix Fics. Riandra's first Sherlockian novel, A Study in Regret, started out as something of a fanfic of a fanfic (specifically, Mortality), and remains thematically quite similar. Darker and Edgier, Trauma Conga Line, Emotional Torque, Character Development, Action Girl, Earn Your Happy Ending... all favorites of the pair, who teamed up to write the crossover series Children of Time, which incorporates more of the same. Even better, their writing styles blend so well that readers have said that they can't tell the difference between the authors writing Dr. Watson, who is stated to pass back and forth between the two.
- The underlying Motif throughout the Sherlockian works of both is a sense of Realism with Holmes and Watson, fleshing out the characters as real people with real emotions. One result lies in the men pointing out that the characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories of Strand Magazine are just that, people whose traits have been so far exaggerated as to be all but fictional.
- Fernwithy, best known for her Harry Potter and Hunger Games fics, has a thing for proving Tolstoy wrong and having uniquely happy families in everything she writes. When she is asked to write an AU, it will be a nightmarish Dark Fic, even though the typical request is "what if X Beloved Character survived?" At some point after Deathly Hallows came out, she started featuring the recurring theme of "the revolution that didn't know when to stick a fork in it."
- Peter Chimaera became (in)famous for the intentional use of Beige Prose, Rouge Angles of Satin and Critical Research Failure. You can expect that the stories he writes have absolutely no resemblance to the works they are based on, only using some names of said works.
- Michel Gondry has a personal style. Most of his videos are weird in one or more ways. Some have trippy morphing environments and multiplying objects; others are set in a crude, theater-like scenery and feature puppets. He may also break the boundary between an in-video fiction (TV show/book/dream) and reality, or make a musicological rendition of the song. And if it's filmed with a shaky camera, it might also be one continuous shot.
- If it's a Tool video, it's going to feature some form of stop-motion animation, eerie and disturbing imagery, the characters will come straight out of the Uncanny Valley, and the band won't be in the video. The only major aversion to this is "Hush". The only other aversion is "Sober," where there are glimpses of the band members.
- Russell Mulcahy's videos were all filmed in a highly cinematic style back when nearly all music videos were still being shot in video and almost always were filmed on location in some beautiful and/or majestic setting. He also liked utilizing split screens and widescreen footage, and was doing slightly surreal music videos back when a lot of videos were simply performance videos with a little added footage thrown in.
- Ok Go have a tendency towards visually impressive and surprisingly cheaply made videos, using a lot of primary colours or other effects that stand out, and often consisting of a single shot.
- Roman White, who directs mainly for Country Music artists, loved to use loads of effects, computer graphics, green-screen, and Undercrank. He also had a tendency to make videos that have little or nothing to do with the song's narrative, such as the video for Carrie Underwood's "So Small". Later videos find him taking a much more straightforward approach.
- Steve Ritchie:
- An emphasis on combos and non-stop flowing shots (Black Knight, Terminator 2: Judgment Day).
- A Combo shot: outer left loop shot to the upper right flipper, for a shot to an upper loop or side ramp.
- A wide left outlane, with a kickback to shoot the ball back into play.
- Two sets of three targets, just above the triangle bumpers.
- His brother, Mark Ritchie, prefers:
- Crisscrossing ramps (see Taxi, Fish Tales, and Diner).
- Long shots from the lower flippers to the top of the playfield.
- Gradually escalating rules.
- Timed modes and jackpot shots, where the player has to light a target and then shoot it in a few seconds to collect.
- Multiple ways to win a game, and the lack of a Wizard Mode.
- Pat Lawlor's tables have:
- The "Bumper Shot", requiring the player to shoot a ball between a set of pop bumpers to hit a crucial target.
- There are at least three flippers on a table, with flippers high on the board positioned to hit high-scoring shots.
- "Soft plunge" Skill Shots.
- Dual inlanes on either side of the playfield.
- Spinning discs or magnets beneath the board that throw off the ball's trajectory.
- Thematically-related gimmicks, such as the shaker motor in Earthshaker! that made the entire cabinet shake during the game.
- A general aversion to any sort of Video Mode.
- John Popadiuk is fond of:
- A theme based on magic or mysticism (Theatre of Magic, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Magic Girl).
- A unique or original playfield toy.
- A reduced emphasis on pop bumpers.
- At least one captive ball target, positioned asymmetrically on the field.
- Magnets to catch the ball, send it in unexpected directions, or both.
- George Gomez:
- Only two flippers.
- Long shots from the flippers up the board to a variety of ramps.
- A saucer on the middle-left side of the playfield.
- Very precise shots.
- A design focusing on straight lines and rails.
- Dennis Nordman games tend to have:
- Wiggling, swirling, and/or rollercoaster-style ramps (the helicopter in Special Force, the "Monster Slide" in Elvira and the Party Monsters, "Insanity Falls" in White Water).
- At least one vertical up-kicker.
- A spinning disc, either to bounce the pinball around a chamber or as part of a playfield toy.
- Games from Jon Norris tend to include:
- Choices between two awards (dowplayed in Tee'd Off, played up in Street Fighter II and played straight in High Roller Casino)
- Gambling motifs.
- Multiple wizard modes, usually with at least one that can only be played once per game.
- Strongly emphasized center shots (the cue ball in Cue Ball Wizard, the gopher hole in Tee'd Off, Ra's Pyramid in Stargate, and the ramp in High Roller Casino).
- Professional Wrestling writer Vince Russo has cultivated a signature style characterized largely by Americentrism, misogyny, Shocking Swerves, and the attention span of a gnat. Fans often refer to storylines and gimmicks that show Russo's fingerprints as "Russo-riffic"; this is not a compliment.
- Also, pole matches. Insane objects on top of poles at every corner of the ring. Expect any sort of tangible object at the center of a dispute to be put on a pole. And if there is no object in dispute, he'll put a weapon of some sort on a pole. Just because.
- Tim Rice likes his idioms. Also never has more than two female protagonists. His lyrics also have a remarkable ability to sound like normal conversations that just coincidentally happen to fit a certain rhythm and rhyme scheme.
- If you're watching a play with a vast number of literary references and Genius Bonuses, if the dialogue is peppered with puns and if the play looks like a simple love story but turns into a debate on the nature of art or reality, then it's by Tom Stoppard.
- Many companies include at least one Shout-Out in every game. Blizzard threw a couple into Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, spiced a few dozen into Warcraft II, and now they just go crazy with it.
- It seems customary for most BioWare games to have a heroic sociopath on the protagonist's team. Teenage girls who have a tendency to be thieves/technical experts. (Imoen, Mission, Tali, Wild Flower, Sigrun, etc). These apply even when Bioware adapt other franchises, as is the case with Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Heroic sociopath? Shadow, for starters, and also two other playable characters, Eggman, who is at points mandatory, and secret character Omega. Thieving, technical expert teenager? Rouge the Bat. These characters are like this in Sega's offerings, too, but that their roles are either unusually flattering (Shadow, Eggman), or unusually prominent (Rouge, Omega) in Chronicles.
- Bioware also has a habit to write "general" epic save the world plots with the protagonist being the "chosen one". In contrast, games written by Chris Avellone tend to focus more on given protagonist's own story/person/coming of (heroic) age and philosophy.
- Traditionally, every game must begin with a routine mission (usually the tutorial level, but in Dragon Age II it was the entire first chapter) that goes horribly wrong and leaves the protagonist as the only person left to carry the torch.
- They usually include romance options, and are now adding same-sex options.
- Really, it can all be summed up in this chart◊ and this article.
- Character designs by Tetsuya Nomura's character designs tend to overlap both in personality types and clothing style. Expect lots of...
- A: perky young boys/men with spiky hair.
- B: Silver or blue haired men with ANGST!
- C: Chipper and generally positive female archetypes.
- Lots of belts and zippers too!
- Other main Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano has plenty of signature elements too.
- Blond women. He really likes blond women.
- Tall, long-haired, slender and willowy, bejeweled and tastefully made-up, fine-featured and alabaster-skinned... men.
- Relatedly, the man is so fond of white- or silver-haired bishonen that he may well be one of the Trope Codifiers for use of this trope in the modern era.
- Leotards on female characters.
- Lots of beads.
- Other other major Final Fantasy character designer, Akihiko Yoshida, has a couple elements of his own:
- Fond of thigh-high leather boots on characters male and female, young and old alike.
- Possibly ties into a fondness for bondage-themed clothing designs in general.
- Allergic to noses.
- Other other other major Final Fantasy character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, appears to be a breast and leg man. Unique leggings or tight bodysuits are common. Check out the character designs for Garnet or most of the female characters in the Crystal Chronicles series (especially Chime and Belle) for examples of this.
- Final Fantasy's graphics rendering of characters in general has a very distinctive style, which makes it obvious when another game is copying it with a cheap rearangement of character X's body, character Y's heir, and character Z's outfit.
- Hideo Kojima would like to remove that ugly Fourth Wall or at least paint it a more interesting color.
- Games that Tim Schafer's been at tend to transpose a standard premise onto a non-standard setting (Grim Fandango is a film noir/romance...in the South American mythological afterlife, Psychonauts is about a runaway kid attending a summer camp...for psychics, Brütal Legend has an ordinary man thrown into a fantasy world...which happens to have a landscape resembling every Heavy Metal album cover ever produced). They're also full of foreshadowing, almost excessive amounts of throwaway detail and characterization, and...weird. A lot of weird. No, more weird than that.
- ZUN seems to have a penchant for Little Miss Badass characters who wear really frilly dresses (though in later works, the outfits aren't as frilly). Oh, and lots and lots of Nice Hats. His music is also very distinctive, and it's easy to tell when he's been called on to compose for a game outside the main series.
- Valve loves post-apocalyptic settings, especially cities, and abandoned installations.
- What they seem to love equally is the general aesthetic of decaying industrial architecture, as further showcased in projects like Team Fortress Two and the original Half-Life, particularly in the flavours mossy concrete, rusty steel, cavernous wood and chipped brick.
- Suda51 makes, for the most part, strongly character-driven games with intricate stories, about which he often doesn't bother to explain everything of. He likes to incorporate real life events into his stories, but almost always has an element of Body Snatching to them. He will always have at least one character that has blocked out a traumatic memory from his past, and an important point of character development is the character acknowledging and overcoming this event, which Suda refers to as "killing the past". His games will also have a post-modern feel to the interface, and will always show close-ups of characters, either when they're introduced, or whenever they're speaking. His games will invariably feature tons of shout-outs to movies, and include Professional Wrestling moves in at least one character's arsenal. Luchadores, too. He's also big into raining blood, revolvers, and toilets (especially related to defecation).
- Kinoko Nasu has a natural gift for writing believable characters whom you either want to hug or Love to Hate. The former especially concerns his female characters, each of whom is a one-of-a-kind mixture of genuine personality, Fetish Fuel (or Moe Moe, depending on who you ask), and plain good Badass. Thematically, his plots often revolve humans' relationship with Mother Earth and feature Bittersweet Endings (at best). And he has an Eye Fetish.
- One thing that is present in all of his work is super-powered female leads. The main heroine is either the most powerful being in the series or one of the most powerful. However, she is often in circumstances where she can't use her full power so that others can at least fight with her on equal grounds.
- Also, alter-egos of some sort, be it Split Personality, or a Future Badass.
- People Can Fly, the developers of Painkiller, have a knack for games with massive numbers of enemies on-screen at once, fun, catharthic gunplay in unsettling, creepy environments, and huge, epic fights against massive boss monsters. Even after the company was absorbed by Epic Games, many players felt that the extra content the team cooked up for the PC version of Gears of War was the single best part of the entire game.
- Ryukishi07, creator of the When They Cry franchise and Ookami Kakushi: Murder, Nightmare Fuel, Tear Jerker's, Bishōnen, Bishoujo, Dark and Troubled Past's, The Power of Friendship, child abuse, and Town with a Dark Secret's.
- Spiderweb Software has a pronounced tendency towards the Lemony Narrator, apparently coming from its chief designer, Jeff Vogel.
- It's pretty easy to pick out Grant Kirkhope's work on soundtracks for Rare, particularly Donkey Kong 64 and the Banjo Kazooie franchise. The vast majority of his compositions all share a similar song structure (it's virtually guaranteed that at some point the melody and harmony will be flipped to have the main theme played in the basss clef), and can mostly be written in the key of C. This is by no means a bad thing though, as almost all his work also counts as Crowning Music of Awesome.
- One other quirk is that the boss battle music will be a more dramatic rendition of the music heard in the rest of the level.
- Rareware also has a very distinct art style, especially noticeable in the N64 era. Many of their games feature cartoon animals such as Banjo, Donkey Kong and Conker, as well as sentient inanimate objects such as a talking toilet in Banjo Tooie, the pinatas in Viva Piñata, and least we forget The Great Mighty Poo of Conker's Bad Fur Day fame. Also expect most of the characters to have giant Sphere Eyes. Another trait of Rareware's games is that they're generally quite comedic, so the colorful cartoony style suits their games well.
- If the RPG is well-written, epic, funny, poignant, and terrifically overambitious; if it's less about Saving the World and more about your character's personal journey; if it has no happy love stories but instead ones that are unrequited or horribly tragic; if it takes some staple RPG cliché and does really really nasty things with it; if you're betrayed by the last character you'd expect to betray you; if everybody has an agenda that may or may not coincide with yours; and if you find the most spectacular battles are fought not with swords or guns but words - lots and lots and lots of words - it's a fair bet that game involved Chris Avellone. He also has a philosophy degree that he tends to show off, particularly in Planescape: Torment.
- Many games by where Edmund Mcmillen is involved in, feature weird anatomy and life cycle-related themes, including unborn creatures.
- Hideki Kamiya likes designing his characters on basic concepts that usually come down "What would be awesome?" Dante was Coolness, Viewtiful Joe was Style, Bayonetta was Beauty and Ammy from Okami was because he thought making the main character a wolf would be neat. Also, expect his main characters to dash around like kids with a sugar addiction and have over the top attacks. Also expect battles to be viewed primarily from an isometric angle (With full 3D environments), gigantic bosses which require specific and over-the-top finishing moves, lifebars that double up on themselves when they exceed the max capacity, and only being able to dodge due to lack of a block command (although Ōkami and The Wonderful 101 let you block).
- id Software has a thing for first-person shooter games that start out with dreams of being something else.note Expect a typical Hyperspace Arsenal with at least one reference to the original BFG, and a choice of shotguns where the double-barreled one has a horribly unrealistic range compared to the other shotgun.
- Shoot-em-ups by Shinobu Yagawa are infamous for various game mechanics, such as rank, collecting items without dropping any for increasing point bonuses, collecting bomb bits rather than whole bomb items, and bombing generously to reap even more points.
- "There is always a lighthouse, there's always a man, there's always a city." Ken Levine games in a nutshell. He is also fond of the Genre Deconstruction of gameplay (Mission Control in System Shock 2 and ''BioShock 1) and political (utopianism, specifically objectivism and American exceptionalism) systems. The narrative is usually set up around a naive Player Character who is dropped in the middle of a Punk Punk setting during or after a cataclysmic event or conflict. The hybridization of FPS and RPG elements is also critical, as is the use of secondary powers such as Plasmids and Vigors.
- Shigeru Miyamoto is well-known for making games that have gameplay over story as one of their priorities. In contrast, Miyamoto's pupils Eiji Aonuma and Yoshiaki Koizumi have preferred to insert complex and thoughtful stories within the games. Most of the resulting games offer a middle aspect between the two opposite visions, which itself has become a joint signature style (though in some cases Miyamoto does manage to upend the table for a more gameplay centric game).
- Back in the 80's, Sierra had a stable of writers who were all fond of writing Guide Dang It, Nintendo Hard, Unwinnable by Design adventure games. Each writer, though, handled it differently. Roberta Williams went Lighter and Softer, rewarding lateral thinking, Solve the Soup Cans, and the odd Moon Logic Puzzle. Her games rewarded players who thought their way out and took a non-violent approach if possible. Al Lowe was responsible for Leisure Suit Larry and Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, loading his games with risque humor, pop-culture references, and a little Comedic Sociopathy.
- Meanwhile, the "Two Guys from Andromeda," Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy, made The Many Deaths of You integral to gameplay, rewarding players with novel death scenes and descriptions while playing Space Quest.
- Starbreeze Studios, the studio behind games like The Chronicles of Riddick, Escape from Butcher Bay, Assault on Dark Athena and The Darkness, are known for the following: Strong storytelling and atmosphere, stylish visuals, extreme amounts of violence and Gorn (that range from the amusing to the disturbing), a gravely voiced protagonist and the casting of Dwight Schultz as the Big Bad. When the team that made up the studio left to start MachineGames in 2009, the former members took the usual tropes they used before and applied them to their first project, Wolfenstein: The New Order.
- Taro Yoko, the director responsible for the general tone and characterization of NieR and the Drakengard series, has a pretty noticeable directorial style. His casts are always comprised of Dysfunction Junction, and tend to have pretty bizarre quirks. He has also established himself as a Trolling Creator and seems to have a thing for Playing The Player, particularly when it comes to the endings of his games. Drakengard in particular is infamous for its joke ending, which earned Yoko so much ire he had to "hide out in a bunker" until the backlash died down. If you want a secondary source of entertainment in his games, tick a box every time one of these elements makes an appearance: identical twins (or just straight up Opposite Sex Clones), siblings with troubled relationships, magical flowers, beautiful women with grotesque secrets (who may be vicious and brutal warriors or monsters or both), character duality, robots, incest, cannibalism, and children suffering hideously.
- The tables created by Zen Studios for Zen Pinball tend to have many things in common: Three or more flippers, modes that do not stack (on most tables, if not in a normal state, anything not related to an objective at hand is worth minimal points and does not qualify towards anything), Timed Missions, very strong emphasis on ramps (Iron Man has 4), a playfield longer and wider than a normal machine, at least one multiball mode required to reach a Wizard Mode, multi-stage wizard modes, narrow shots, multi-level playfields, generous and easy-to-obtain ball savers, a kickback on both outlanes, and Skill Shots requiring soft plunges.
- If you play a game by Treasure it's either going to be really weird, really hard, or both at once. Their games thrive on strange Japanese humor, intense and over-the-top action, spectacular boss fights and brutally difficult arcade-style gameplay. Their games also often have a colorful and exaggerated anime art-style.
- Games from Nippon Ichi have a few reoccurring traits. They specialize in retro-style strategy RPGs, using 2D sprites and an isometric view. Their games are also often massively addictive time sinks, thanks to their absurdly high level caps and tons of content. Finally, they also have a distinct sense of humor that will appeal to Otaku in particular, often poking fun at tropes in video games and anime.
- Games developed by CAVE tend to have a number of common characteristics:
- Five or six stages. Late 90's CAVE games tend to favor six stages; games made since then often feature five.
- Prerendered 3D graphics, particularly in post-2000 games.
- Bullet Hell. The bullets themselves tend to be pink, blue, and/or purple in games developed from the early 2000's onwards.
- Two point-based opportunities for extra lives, as well as a hidden 1-Up item that can be uncovered under certain conditions, often on the third stage.
- Scoring systems that often involve chaining enemies and/or collecting medals for large sums of points at once.
- Soundtracks that are often composed by Manabu Namiki, as well as some other composers like Azusa Chiba and Yoshimi Kudo.
- Plots that actually have some sembalance of a theme, if you care to read them on the official websites or in the manuals. For example, the DonPachi series is a Deconstructor Fleet for the Shoot 'em Up genre and the concept of Robot Girls.
- Exceptionally hard True Final Bosses hidden behind very difficult requirements, a single-credit clear almost always being one such requirement.
- David Willis, author of the Walkyverse, has cultivated a paranoid fanbase for his works, due to his use of extremely subtle foreshadowing that might not pay off until years later. He also has a way of flip-flopping between humor (often potty humor) and serious drama. Expect references to superheroes and comic books to show up now and then.
- Visually, his art tends towards cartoony and simple, with as few lines as possible.
- Also, expect Author Tract rants of a character against an offensive caricature of a reader in response to a single post he found in an obscure section of a forum or that got sent at him on Twitter, usually extremely confusing since he rarely to never provides any kind of link to tell you what he is talking about.
- Sometimes blatantly treats rather specific disagreements he's had with other people as if they're some sort of universal experience we've all had, which, again, will probably just confuse someone that is just there to read a comic about retail employees (or whatever) that to that point has had reasonably consistent continuity and a strong fourth wall.
- Brian Clevinger of 8-Bit Theater, Atomic Robo and How I Killed Your Master tends to have overly cynical protagonists and worlds, a loving and heavy use of as many tropes as the genre allows, references to comic books and cartoons, Deadpan Snarkers out the wazoo, and jokes on the audience, usually in the form of either an Anti-Climax or horribly depressing Black Comedy.
- Phil Foglio has a distinct art style, but beyond that you'll often find Gambit Pileups, Large Hams, busty women, and Nice Hats. Lots of Nice Hats.
- Before Living With Insanity, David Herbert's webcomics tended to star Jerk Ass protagonists who were anti-social, yet surrounded by loyal friends, and were always working for the greater good. He seems to have changed his style only slightly though. Both LWI and Gemini Storm have protagonists who are borderline insane and are partnered with men who are much more competent. However, both series were created at the same time (Gemini Storm #1 taking a year to produce), so who knows what kind of stars will be featured in his next work?
- His new style seems to have a man and woman as protagonists in various relationships. Living With Insanity has David and Alice, who are roommates, Gemini Storm featuring a brother and sister, and Domain Tnemrot has a surrogate father and daughter relationship. Just Another Day has the woman as the antagonist.
- Sandra K Fuhr is known for superb character development, making good use of the World of Weirdness trope, well written gay main characters and ending her happy funny comics with a heavy dosage of Cerebus Syndrome. Her latest comic, Other People's Business, though it maintains her usual style, it is much darker from the outset, the plot having been kickstarted by one of the main characters' parents possibly being murdered. It may have been something much worse. The about page warns you two important things: 1) Not everyone is going to get a happy ending and 2) The characters are lying to you.
- Tycho of Penny Arcade tends to use lots of long, verbose words, writing for several sentences in a Purple Prose style, before suddenly dropping back down to a more normal meter for a low brow joke. The mix of modern internet slang and SAT words tends to make for a unique style.
- Andrew Hussie tends to use flowery and erudite language and mix it up with normal or even crude narration, is fond of using incredibly obscure words and punny portmanteaus when naming things like magical artifacts or game mechanics (which are usually written with capital letters), tends to create highly intricate plots with numerous protagonists and with countless Chekhovs Guns made from the most innocuous things, and his writing is very self-aware and features a lot of Lampshade Hanging and subverting the audience's expectations. He is also fond of drawing realistic caricatures of celebrities that border on the Uncanny Valley.
- Mash-ups of made of pictures from old periodicals is something found only in Wondermark.
- Ryan Armand's comics tend to feature Mood Whiplash (especially for the sake of a gag), characters who find their absurd situations normal, females who look vaguely Asian, and a very vague, yet nice-looking, setting that can move the story just as much as dialogue. Also, his art style is about fifty years out of date.
- As for Style Wager well he doesn't like using commas. No he doesn't not at all.
- Chaos Fighters and Phantalleum, both being works of Murazrai, contains odd character names that does not come from any language, bizzare weapon designs, high amount of battle scenes and lots of battle couples.
- The Twilight Chronicles and other short films from the creators (The Whore, The Magnificent Adventure) always feature actors portraying characters of the opposite gender, slutty villainous women, characters returning alive after an apparent death, and gratuitous use of the word "whore".
- Even among video review shows, which often follow similar formulae, some reviewers on That Guy with the Glasses have distinct styles. For instance:
- The Nostalgia Critic: Lots of camera-mugging, high-voiced Large Ham moments, and running gags that only appear a few times before they're retired.
- Atop the Fourth Wall: A much lesser use of profanity and vulgarity than other reviewers; a tendency to hold Author Filibusters on social issues being brought up in the work.
- Bad Movie Beatdown: Very highly detailed synopses of the film's entire plot line, with a heavier than usual focus on the backstory and development.
- Caddicarus: A lighthearted but upbeat delivery, games from the PS1 or later, constant Caption Humor and YouTube Poop levels of Sensory Abuse.
- Examples from YouTube Poop:
- JonTron loves smash cuts; reading or seeing a particularly odd thing in a game and offering a Large Ham reaction; and usually giving No Ending (though he has admitted he doesn't know how to end videos).
- Butch Hartman is well-known (and sometimes despised) for what some call "Butch-Hartmanism". He has a tendency to create heroes who are Book Dumb, have negligent/straight idiotic parents, have only about two politically correct best friends that are as loserly as them, simple background and character designs, a frequent bias against anybody considered rich and popular, and inevitably flanderize to a level of Comedic Sociopathy that usually grows thick enough to make everyone be flat out into Jerkasses (if the show runs for long enough, that is).
- And women who have gigantic hips. (Though the Trope Namer is actually a misnomer. It's actually Stephen Silver's art style and character designs used in these shows.)
- The success of Batman: The Animated Series was in large part due to Bruce Timm's distinctive character designs, and soon became the de facto house style for the DC Animated Universe. The style tends towards streamlined characters, straight lines, broad-shouldered males with chiseled chins, and shorter women with emphasized Hartman Hips. DCAU series that don't sport the Timm Style look tend to stand out immediately as a result.
- If there are Shakespeare references up the ass and a large number of characters, you're probably watching a Greg Weisman show.
- He also has one villain who has his hand in everything that is seemingly unrelated to said character, and who benefits from his plans regardless if they succeed or fail. You know the one.
- Seth MacFarlane's shows feature a large amount of pop culture references, the standard nuclear family, talking animals, musical numbers and Black Comedy. Aside from not being about a nuclear family his live action film debut Ted features all of these. He is also very keen on voicing multiple roles himself. Family Guy is especially known for its Cutaway Gags, so much that it has its own folder on that page.
- Genndy Tartakovsky: All of his work has super-advanced robots that will inevitably explode at some point, lots of scenes with characters acting without speaking, and many have influence from Japanese animation (especially mecha). Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Sym-Bionic Titan.
- In a CGI animated movie with Visual Effects of Awesome, Scenery Porn, male leads who are Heterosexual Life-Partners (and at least one of whom is Adorkable) who initially don't get along but learn how, Tear Jerkers aplenty, and John Ratzenberg? Congratulations, you're in a Pixar movie.
- DreamWorks Animation is known for their All Star Casts and liberal use of topical pop culture references. They have since toned these tendencies down, starting around the time of the first Kung Fu Panda film.
- Each of the Looney Tunes directors have a highly individual style that make their cartoons easily distiguishable from each other while still remaining whithin the house style.
- Chuck Jones is a master of the Aside Glance and Oh, Crap face, often shown in lingering pauses with little touches of movement (a twitch of the eye, a drooping ear) to break up the tension. His early films are more slower paced and Disneyesque than the studio's regular output, but his later films are known for their split-second timing and experimental background design. He also has a fondness for cats. (Conrad Cat, Claude Cat, Pussyfoot, etc.)
- Friz Freleng loved to include song-and-dance routines in his cartoons. He also had a tendency to have violent action occur offscreen.
- Bob Clampett is known for his fast-paced, highly exaggerated action. His characters have a rubbery feel to them, even when standing still.
- Frank Tashlin uses fast-paced montages and dramatic angles in his cartoons, foreshadowing his later career as a live-action director. He also used highly stylized character designs.
- Tex Avery introduced the basic elements of the overall Looney Tunes style - Breaking the Fourth Wall, Lampshading, outrageous sight gags, Wild Takes and fast timing - before leaving for MGM where he took them further still.
- Man of Action Studios tend to be rather lighthearted with a focus on action, usually veering toward the cool regardless of if it's possible or not, tend to use young, energetic protagonists, with the work not taking itself seriously until a dangerous, humorless villain shows up.
- Matt Groening's characters tend to have round white eyes and overbites with circular teeth, his show tend to satire politics, religion, modern society and pop culture and they often include jabs at Richard Nixon.
- John Kricfalusi tends to use fast and wild animation, exaggerated facial expressions and Wild Take, intense and exaggerated emotions, characters with crooked teeth or More Teeth than the Osmond Family, slapstick, grossout humor, and references to cartoons like Looney Tunes particualarly Bob Clampett and Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
- He also likes the Still Shot, often a closeup of something incredibly disgusting done in a completely different style (usually much more detailed, because it doesn't actually have to be animated).
- Series created by Jan van Rijsselberge tend to have the following line-up: A Cute Shotaro Boy as the central character and often the Only Sane Man, a Non-Human Sidekick who may or may not be the real hero of the show, a Bumbling Dad (or some other bumbling father figure), a best friend who is a bit of a Ditz, and a female friend who is usually a Token Minority, is much smarter than the other friend, and has a crush on the central character.
- Jon McClenahan's signatures in his animation style included arched eyebrows in a character's side profile, visible knuckles when a character clenched their fists, slight bouncing in their walk cycles or when they pointed towards the viewer, and the lower lip drooping when showing shocked or confused expressions.