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Art Evolution / PBG Hardcore

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The series has gone through a lot of little changes over the years, gradually improving the production values.

  • The very first season of the show, Minecraft #1, has a few quirks that set it apart from other seasons. Also counts as Early Installment Weirdness.
    • The POV camera stayed solely on PBG for the first several episodes. McJones was later added to the mix, but the camera stuck predominately to just the two of them (with Jon only recording after PBG and McJones both died). Subsequent seasons of Hardcore have been more dynamic with the camera, generally featuring at least three to four major POVs, and alternating between them more often.
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    • It was the only season to introduce non-YouTubers to the show. While it did star JonTron and The Completionist, alongside PBG himself, it also featured Dean, McJones, Soah, and Barry, none of whom were well-known and had few to no videos on YouTubenote . Even Soah's appearance by itself is an oddity, as where Dean, McJones, and Barry went on to become regulars for the show, Soah hasn't been seen since. Every new person introduced in the seasons afterward has been a prominent Internet personality in their own right. Kyrak Jellyman, appearing in Minecraft #2, is the only other relatively obscure person to feature in the show, but even there, he had an active let's play channel at the time and was a frequent collaborator in PBG's early videos.
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    • It was also the only season to have its own highlight reel uploaded on PBGGameplay. Austin discusses the idea again in the DayZ Train Wreck Blooper, but it never came to pass (although moments from later HC seasons have been featured in the general PBGGameplay highlight reels, and other channels have done their own unofficial highlight reels for the other seasons). Similarly, DayZ is the only season to have a blooper reel.
    • Minecraft #1 and DayZ were the only seasons to have two POVs on screen at once, generally of PBG and McJones, though this was used incredibly sparingly.
  • Minecraft #1 and DayZ had no voice clips in the intros, which were introduced with Terraria #1. Taken a step further in Diablo II, which introduced an additional random phrase spoken over the "You're dead for good" text.
  • The previews at the end of the episode started off pretty basic, simply featuring clips from the next episode and nothing else. Part 4 of Minecraft #2 introduced an overlay around the borders of the video with "Prev/Last" and "Next" buttons that link to the other episodes, as well as a "Subscribe" button and "Like" reminder. Towards the end of Minecraft #3, and in the seasons afterward, the next episode preview also featured a reprise of the Hardcore theme.
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  • The full version of the intro, beginning with "This is not your typical [X] adventure...", has not been used much since the early seasons, after which it was usually shortened to start with the main title card. Minecraft #1 and DayZ use the full intro for every episode. Terraria #1 started off with the full version, but switched to the shorter version towards the end of the season. Minecraft #2 used the full version only for the first episode, while Diablo II and the seasons afterward begin with the short version straight away. The full version was brought back for the dubstep intro in Terraria #2, and was used one more time in the very first episode of Minecraft #5, before being retired altogether.
  • The two Mount & Blade episodes have their own exclusive intro and theme song.
  • Originally, the episodes were edited by PBG. Beginning with Minecraft #3 and the second episode of Mount & Blade, Jeff was hired on as the show's editor. Minecraft #3 also introduced little animations and sound effects for the intro title cards.
  • Kevin MacLeod's "Truth of the Legend" was used as the original theme song for the series. Terraria #2 brought in a unique dubstep cover of "Truth of the Legend", as well as a brief snippet of an Eye of Cthulhu boss fight remix, for the episode's intros, although they were only used for that season. The following season, Minecraft #4, used the original version one more time, before the theme was updated again for Minecraft #5.
  • The most dramatic update came with Minecraft #5:
    • Jeff stepped down as editor and was replaced by Todd from Rated S Games.
    • A brand new theme song was introduced, becoming the new default theme. Unlike previous Hardcore themes, this one is an original arrangement composed specifically for the show, although it is based loosely on "Truth of the Legend".
    • The previous seasons all used real-life photos for the players' portraits. Whenever someone died, the face would darken slightly and a big red 'X' would appear over it. Here, every player now has vibrant hand-drawn caricature portraits, with custom, greyish death designs.
    • The title card logo animation and overlay graphics were also updated and made more elaborate, with a smooth brick pattern and animated torches to go along with the player heads.
    • The video descriptions became more detailed, with longer credits and an overview of each player's personality.
    • The next episode preview overlay has been redesigned. Instead of "Last", "Next", and "Subscribe" buttons along the bottom, it's been changed to a brick-pattern overlay similar to the one used during the episodes, with a link to the next episode in a thumbnail on the right, and a guest feature below it with links to the other players' YouTube accounts.
    • The last several episodes of Minecraft #5 have additional overhead and wide-shot POVs from Todd in spectator mode, allowing for extended scenery shots and more action to be seen during combat scenes. This practice was continued for Minecraft #6 and Minecraft #7.
  • Terraria #3 is the first season to have a "Post-Show Podcast" released after the end of the main season. While there was no podcast for the following season, MineZ #2, it was brought back for the season after, Minecraft #6.
  • The theme song was updated again starting with Minecraft #6. Titled "Hardcore Theme 2.0", it's the same composition as the first version, except with added electric guitar, percussion, and synth sounds.
  • In general, the amount and variety of music in the series has increased a lot, making some of the earlier episodes seem quiet in comparison.

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