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"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 internalize 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 their style is too distinct and famous not to recognize.

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 and Borrowing from the Sister Series.

Examples subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

  • 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. So does the Alhambra, famously.
  • H. R. Giger; 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.
  • Don Kenn; sepia-toned drawings on sticky-notes featuring children and bizarre creatures in old-fashioned-looking settings. The majority of his online art is pretty distinctive that way.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Music Videos 
  • 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 animation (usually stop-motion), 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.
  • Videos of Polish rock band Kult and some of the later ones for its leader Kazik Staszewski's solo projects feature a lot of footage from Communist era documentaries and film chronicles, intercut with scenes of the band performing.

  • 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.
    • A preference toward "adversarial" themes where the player must defeat some entity.
    • Using his own deep, booming voice for certain characters (e.g. the skull in No Fear).
  • His brother, Mark Ritchie, prefers:
    • Crisscrossing ramps (see Taxi, Fish Tales, and Diner). Multiball modes in these games often encourage the player to shoot both ramps simultaneously, and award a large bonus for doing so.
    • 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.
    • Mundane themes about everyday life, as opposed to Steve's battle or competition themes.
  • 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.
    • "Tug-of-war" style Wizard Modes, where the player must continually hit a certain area of the playfield - as much as possible, and as fast as possible.
  • 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).
  • John Trudeau:
    • Ramps that follow elaborate paths (e.g. Creature from the Black Lagoon).
    • Narrow shots from lower angles.
    • A wider-than-normal flipper gap (the "Trudeau gap"). Particularly noteworthy on Creature from the Black Lagoon and Ghost Busters.
    • In spite of the above examples, part of John Trudeau's "signature style" is deliberately trying something new and different with each game.
  • John Borg:
    • Emphasis on at least one major "bash toy" - particularly as a means of advancement towards a multiball.
    • Magnets to throw the ball off course, usually right in front of at least one of the bash toys.
    • Usually, but not always, at least one set of dual inlanes.
    • The set of 3 pop bumpers usually being near the middle, usually being fed by an orbit.
    • In recent years, lots of emphasis on rock band themes.
  • Keith Elwin:
    • At least 3 flippers.
    • Multiple skill shots.
    • A repeatable shot from an upper flipper.
    • An "achievement" system for doing well in certain modes (Tomb Treasures in Iron Maiden, Fossils in Jurassic Park, Trophies in Avengers: Infinity Quest).
    • At least one spinner, and at least one mode or rule built around the use of the spinner(s).
    • An aversion to scoops.
    • Unconventional methods of building bonus multipliers (besides rollover lanes in the pop bumper area).
  • As a company example, Spooky Pinball:
    • Pop bumpers are located at the top center. Without anything to stop the ball, the ball must fall down onto them, leading to even less bumper usage than Popadiuk's tables.
    • Low scoring.
    • Very complex rules requiring multiple steps to start things. The modes themselves also usually require many shots to clear.
    • After America's Most Haunted, they use full-color monitors but done in a dot-matrix display style.
    • A large rectangular scoop either on the far left or far right, very close to the flippers.
    • Two flippers only. An exception is if it has an upper playfield.
    • Flippers and the rubber bands surrounding them are colored to the theme.
    • Skill Shots requiring a precise plunge (or in the case of Rob Zombie, an extremely precise plunge).
    • Multiballs are downplayed, with main modes worth more points.
    • Shots are narrow and require good aim.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Professional Wrestling writer Vince Russo has cultivated a signature style characterized largely by Americentrism, misogyny, Ass Pulls, 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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 later began including same-sex options.
    • Another signature of Bioware's: A high degree of smartass, both in quantity and in quality. Spider-Man would fit right into any universe they've made.
  • Character designs by Tetsuya Nomura 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.
    • Capes.
    • Sashes.
    • 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 Final Fantasy 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/ 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 2 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 (or Moe, depending on who you ask), and plain 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 Jerkers, Bishōnen, Bishoujo, Dark And Troubled Pasts, The Power of Friendship, child abuse, and Towns with a Dark Secret.
  • Spiderweb Software has a pronounced tendency towards the Lemony Narrator, apparently coming from its chief designer, Jeff Vogel.
  • The Yakuza series directed by Toshihiro Nagoshi (and be extension, Judgment and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise) have many elements in them that make them stand out, including:
    • Boss Subtitles that appear when a character is introduced, showing their name and occupation. In the case of yakuza members, expect to see their rank within a specific family of a clan.
    • Main stories that are gritty and dramatic, juxtaposed with side quests that are often Denser and Wackier. Yakuza 0, for instance, has a side quest revolving around someone stealing pants from bullies, or one where a kid gets his new video game stolen, only for the thief to have it stolen by someone else, and so on...
    • An emphasis on hard-hitting Finishing Moves. The Heat Moves of Yakuza are often brutal.
    • Environmental objects being used as weapons. Expect to use anything that isn't bolted to the ground as a bludgeon (and maybe even a few things that are!). Even Lost Paradise, which doesn't have a lot of weapons for Kenshiro to use, has a counter-move for mooks with flamethrowers and the ability to weaponize his enemies' death cries.
    • Beautiful women in luxurious clothing. Hostess clubs showcase this best.
    • Battle Strips before major battles, where combatants will throw off their shirts and coats in one fluid motion, revealing their tattoos underneath.
  • Rare:
    • 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. 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. It will also inevitably utterly deconstruct and critique everything about the genre and setting Avellone doesn't like, even if he created the setting. If he didn't create the setting, stand by to have the biggest pillars of your fictional world knocked down. His Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is a polarizing Deconstructor Fleet with Kreia as his Author Avatar ripping Star Wars a new one with a zeal not seen since David Brin.
  • 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 gigantic bosses which require specific and over-the-top finishing moves, lifebars that double up on themselves when they exceed the max capacity, only being able to dodge due to lack of a block command (although Ōkami and The Wonderful 101 let you block), and some kind of Astral Finale. He also really likes Space Harrier to the point that a level emulating will more than likely show up.
  • 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 of Raizing and CAVE fame 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, bombing generously to reap even more points, dying on purpose as a strategy (often to get more bombs, lower the rank, or to inflict damage), and generous amounts of point-based 1-ups to offset that last point.
  • "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) 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.
    • {Errant Signal} went a step further and suggested you can track a signature style of people connected to Looking Glass Studios and people influenced by them that can be seen across the games like System Shock and System Shock 2,Thief series, BioShock series, Deus Ex, Dishonored or Prey (2017). Their games tend to be darker story-heavy science fiction tales, happening in an idyllic, at first glance, full of secrets setting that has either been built on twisted principles or has recently been ravaged by a disaster. The story is driven by a deconstruction of an ideology taken to its extreme, or two ideologies opposite to each other with the protagonist as a balancing force in-between. They also tend to feature a twist that changes both how we think about the main villain and protagonist's actions up to this point.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto is well-known for making games that have gameplay over story as one of their priorities.note  In contrast, Miyamoto's pupils Eiji Aonuma (overseer of The Legend of Zelda) and Yoshiaki Koizumi (overseer of Super Mario Bros.) 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 gravelly-voiced 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.
  • Yoko Taro, 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 Plot Twist, 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.
      • Expect the Twins to have Blonde or White hair, and Red or White robes. One of them may die horribly, leaving the other one in mad grief. This is common enough to sometimes occur twice per game.
    • Another common quirk of his writing is that there are always more than one side in a conflict with all sides frequently having valid points as well as extensive humanization of all the characters, even the monstrous ones. Even if a character isn't sympathetic, one is often made to understand where they are coming from.
  • 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 recurring 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 absurdly high level caps and tons of content. Finally, they 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.
    • Deliberate slowdown (usually a characteristic of hardware struggling with handling large quantities of graphical assets) to assist the player in dodging these bullets.
    • Exactly 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.
    • A distaste for Smart Bomb use; firing bombs will at best have no score-based effects, and at worst introduce penalties such as ending the player's hit combo or rapidly draining their multiplier.
    • Soundtracks that are often composed by Manabu Namiki, as well as some other composers like Azusa Chiba and Yoshimi Kudo.
    • At least three buttons: A regular shot button that can be repeatedly tapped for a regular shot or held down for a "focus" shot (often a laser of some sort), a bomb button, and a "full-auto" button (which has the same effect as continuously tapping the shot button). Depending on the game, there may be a fourth button for special commands, and if there is, arcade versions will allow the player to swap this button with the bomb or the full-auto buttons.
    • 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.
  • Pixel artist Paul Robertson is very fond of kittens, puppies, curvy and bouncy girls, Gorn, pop culture references, elaborate looping animations and psychedelic effects. All of the above can be found in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game and Mercenary Kings, in various quantities.
  • Range Murata is the character designer for Power Instinct series since the first game and the responsible of giving the distintive look that makes this game series a Cult Classic status.
  • Hidetaka "Swery" Sushiro of Access Games tends to create games that heavily favor Shout Outs and familiar ideas, involve the color red in an evil capacity, characters from a previous separate game reused in a different capacity, and a number of cast members that could be generously described as "weird".
  • A Doujin Soft developer known as Fox Eye has a huge fascination with putting girls through Under the Sea fantasies to the point of Author Appeal, as every game made by them takes place in a partial or completely submerged setting. However, from there, the developer's most prominent factor is putting their heroines in dangerous underwater situations where they're constantly at risk of drowning, and there is a lot of unnervingly-realistic detail put into how drowning is portrayed in these games, such as animating the girls struggling when they start drowning, and sometimes hiring voice actresses to vocalize the characters' distress for oxygen. Also, while Fox Eye has gone through several different Video Game Genres, all of them utilize an Oxygen Meter of some sort, with some games letting you use items to keep it from going empty or having powerups to raise its maximum length.
  • Sucker Punch's two major franchises, Sly Cooper and inFAMOUS are both heavily inspired by comic books. Platforming is also a recurring element throughout all their games, even going back as far as Rocket: Robot on Wheels, generally being used for scaling buildings and traversing open worlds with elements of Le Parkour.
  • Masahiro Sakurai's games all tend to feature a large grid of achievements where you can only see the requirements for achievements adjacent to ones you've already unlocked. As such, there are always a few Effortless Achievements to get you started. You also get several single-use items which will open an achievement for you, but can't be used on certain particularly difficult ones. They also feature a huge amount of collectibles such as trophies that give a short description of the subject and menus feature large, colourful buttons instead of boring lists. Starting with Kid Icarus: Uprising, a unique difficulty selection system seems to have been added to this where one bets the ingame currency to raise (or lower) the difficulty all the way from 0.1 (effortless) to 9.0 (nothing harder). The higher the difficulty, the better rewards you get but if you lose, you lose part of the bet you made and the difficulty is lowered by 0.5. In addition, if Sakurai is behind a game for a franchise he's worked on before, expect the soundtrack to be made mostly out of remixes.
  • Atlus is practically obsessed with in-game characters and summonable beings based on, or references to, real-world mythology and/or folklore of every country and culture imaginable, even more so than Kinoko Nasu himself. They almost always feature teen-to-young adult protagonists possessing the power to determine the fate of the universe and humanity, or at least the opportunity to come into that possession. Following on, their games also often allow the player to make their own decisions about how to resolve the (often incredibly cosmic) plot, usually with a choice between joining the forces of Good, the forces of Evil, or Neither.
  • Sega's arcade Rhythm Games (particularly Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade, maimai, CHUNITHM, and Ongeki; basically, any game that is the focus of the @performai official Twitter account and then some) all have a number of trademark elements:
    • Scoring that is based strictly on accuracy, with combos effectively only serving to show how many notes since the player's last major mistake.
    • Scores that appear to go to 100%, but can actually go slightly higher. Starting with CHUNITHM in particular: a better-than-perfect judgement that is worth 1% more than a "perfect" rank, with the maximum score being some form of 101%.
    • The use of infrared touch panels or touchscreens; DIVA Arcade and Ongeki only use it for one type of note, but the other two games make heavy use of touch sensors.
    • A strong use of licenses for casual appeal; DIVA Arcade's title says it all, maimai shows the respective videos for Touhou Project, VOCALOID, anime, and other-game songs, and CHUNITHM allows the player to unlock licensed characters (such as Reimu Hakurei, Yukiko Amagi, and Tedeza Rize, heck even a Toyota Prius) as partners.
    • At least four note types: maimai DX has Tap, Hold, Slide, Touch, and Break notes; CHUNITHM has Tap, Hold, Slide, and Flick notes; Ongeki has Tap, Hold, Flick, Bell, and Side notes.
    • An adjustable scroll speed that is not influenced by track BPM.
    • An odd mix of cutesy characters coupled with a dark and "cool"-looking game interface design.
  • As discussed by Jimquisition video, Ubisoft developed a style that is affecting such franchises as Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Watch_Dogs or The Crew and might be affecting Beyond Good & Evil 2. Ubisoft games tend to have vast, open-worlds with slowly unfolding map and clear, distinct regions, multiple hidden collectibles, few types of side-missions recycled across the map, blend of stealth and shooting that is open for both playstyles, crafting, straigthforward skill threes and missions involving moving targets that have to be either hijacked or destroyed.
  • If a game soundtrack is composed by Yousuke Yasui (Eschatos and Under Defeat HD, for example), expect it to use synthesizers that would not sound out of place in a sprite-based console. Even when he uses more "modern" instrumention, the feel of an early- or mid-90's soundtrack is still distinctly there.
  • If you're playing a video game, and the soundtrack is full of energetic, cheerful battle themes between 150 to 170 beats per minute with loud timpani sounds in each on-beat, odds are you're hearing music composed by Yoko Shimomura. Listen to "Monstrous Monstro" from Kingdom Hearts, "They're Pretty Tough, Should We Be Careful?" from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, and "Target Smash!!" from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and you'll recognize the similarities immediately despite them otherwise feeling very different from each other.
  • Splatoon has in-universe examples for each of the companies that create weapons:
    • Splat creates colorful weapons that appear to be made out of plastic, giving them a similar look to toy weapons, such as Nerf. They tend to be the Jack of All Stats of their weapon classes, and as a result, almost always have the lowest unlock requirements and serve to introduce players to those weapon classes. This company never puts its brand on its weapons, with endorsements by the in-universe clothing companies taking the place of where the logo should be.
    • Deco prefers a black-and-gray color scheme with accents identifying the weapons, and it makes weapons out of what appear to be carbon fiber. Their weapons resemble either automobile parts, such as exhaust pipes, or objects found in offices, such as water coolers. Deco's more advanced weapons have decorations in the form of either a set of yellow bracket shapes or rhinestones, usually on the weapon's handles. All of Deco's weapons have either a low fire rate or require the user to charge the weapon before it can attack.
    • "D" creates weapons themed on appliances that shoot or dispense water. They all have a fairly elongated shape and, for various reasons, are all nontraditional examples of their weapon classes. All of D's weapons have a medium-long range and make extensive use of the color blue.
    • Neo makes weapons that tend to be on the short-range side but are compensated with having very high fire rates for their weapon classes. Neo prefers to theme weapons based on commonly encountered machines, such as washing machines and pencil sharpeners. Despite their short range, all of Neo's weapons have a high capacity for combat as they're effective at ambushing and flanking.
    • Nouveau makes weapons that resemble an artist's tools and are the only known manufacturers of Inkbrushes. Like with Neo, Nouveau's weapons are all low-range but with a high fire rate, but unlike Neo, Nouveau's weapons are more adept at seizing and defending territory due to their high inking and high speed but low damage, and players who prefer to take on support roles tend to adopt Nouveau's weapons. That being said, it is pretty common to see Nouveau weapon users take the Fragile Speedster role and fight on the front lines too.
    • Custom weapons have a heavy, industrial look to them, making use of a lot more metal than its competitors. Fitting the heavy style, not only do many of them have fiery decals and heavy use of red, they are also high-damage and long range but will readily deplete your ink (ammo) if you don't refill often. Custom is the opposite of the unnamed company for this reason as Custom's weapons demand excellent aim and calmness under pressure to do well, and for that reason, Custom's weapons tend to have the highest unlock requirements for weapons of their classes.
    • Foil specializes in multitaskers. They have multiple forms that the user can switch between at will without any change to its appearance, and thus they allow the user to confuse and surprise opponents. The downside is that each form is significantly weaker than other weapons in its class, requiring the user to make up for that in Confusion Fu. The multiple-forms aspect is present in Foil's logo too, which consists of a pair of arrows pointing in opposite directions, representing these weapons' ability to perform opposite roles. Foil seems to like to theme main weapons on high society, such as fountain pens and champagne bottles.
    • Sorella is the exclusive manufacturer of the Brella weapon class, and it makes nothing else. As a result, Sorella has the most easily-noticeable traits, namely weapons themed on umbrellas and parasols whose canopies double as shields from enemy fire.
    • Though a clothing brand in the first game, Tentatek joined the sport weapons industry in Splatoon 2. As Tentatek normally makes athletic-looking clothing, it naturally follows that Tentatek's weapons resemble athletic clothes as well, such as basketball shoes. Tentatek's weapons also contain a lot of rubber.
    • Auto does not normally make weapons, but, like Tentatek, it also joined the industry in Splatoon 2. Both within and outside of Ink Wars, Auto specializes in technology designed to navigate terrain or locate things, and this is reflected in its Autobomb, a small walking explosive drone that can seek out opponents even when they're concealed.
    • Grizzco does not mass-produce weapons, but it does have illegally modified weapons that are all Purposely Overpowered. These cannot be used in head-to-head battling, but only in the cooperative Salmon Run mode. Grizzco's weapons are all based on an existing weapon with every non-metallic part removed and replaced with canisters housing glowing yellow fluid inside.
    • Sheldon, the character who sells weapons to the player characters makes weapons of his own too, and he likes making them out of metal. Unlike Custom, these have a luxurious appearance rather than industrial, and fittingly, the more advanced variants are also often coated in gold. Sheldon has a Minmaxer's Delight style, with each of them very good at one particular task but at the cost of a multitude of weaknesses in anything not related to that task.
  • Nintendo SPD1 staff and alumni typically hide Creative Closing Credits as a minigame marked by a picture of two aliens.
  • Takashi Masada is well known for his extremely liberal use of extensive prose and for creating charismatic and lovable characters that are all over the moral spectrum. The main plots tend to be fairly standard, but the scale and grandeur of everything else in his writing tend to be a big appeal of his style. Another common quirk of his style tend to be for the characters to engage in various philosophical musings as well as off-kilter metaphors. And ham. Lots and lots of ham.
  • If you're playing a Driving Game by Sega's AM2 division, chances are it will have the following:
  • Most of the Shoot 'Em Up games developed by Takumi feature hugely inflated points values, scoring systems centered around collecting items dropped from destroyed enemies in order to increase a points multiplier, some sort of shield that regenerates with time (usally with Attack Reflector properties) and boss battles that have an on-screen timer.
  • If Daniel Mullins (Pony Island, The Hex, and Inscryption) has developed a game, expect it to be a meta-narrative, in which the game you're initially presented with must be manipulated from the "outside" via an Unexpected Gameplay Change (and sometimes all the way From Beyond the Fourth Wall) in order to progress. As the true story reveals itself, the experience ultimately becomes a Gameplay Roulette as the player tries to conquer The Most Dangerous Video Game. There's also notable trends for a False Friend, Satan's direct involvement, and an antagonistic presence that's not as great at making games as they think they are.
  • FromSoftware has many signature elements of their works. Their games utilize a relatively slow combat system that encourages learning attack tells, dodging accordingly, and finding vulnerable moments between those dodges. Combat is limited by stamina that drains with every action, so increasing it is a priority. Enemies hit hard, even the weaker enemies late in the game, and so the games push the player towards dodging rather than tanking hits. Money and experience are one unit. Their storytelling relies on background text rather than dialogue and cutscenes, and this text utilizes deliberate ambiguities and contradictions so that it's up to player interpretation. Notably, FromSoftware's style has proven influential enough that full or partial copycats have grown into a genre in their own right.
  • Shoot 'Em Up games by Terarin are known for several distinct elements:

    Web Animation 
  • The Brothers Chaps tend to use gags that involve words, wording, and grammar. For example, they have characters who have unusual greetings, like "Haldo", "Weclome", or even "Halosche". They also use some words in odd contexts like "twice", "all the time" when "always" would be more appropriate, and "why come" in place of "how come" or "why".
  • Kurzgesagt has an easily recognizable style,
"Take the youtube channel Kurzgesagt, which uses similar [minimalism's] flatness, but is so carefully animated and packed with detail, it's effectively separated itself from this category [this genre of art]."

  • 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.
  • 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 Jerkass 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.
  • 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.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation