When you start an Xbox One game, the first thing you see is a splash screen. Before you are prompted to “press any button to start”, an image appears to let you know that it’s loading the game you requested. The image you see is called the splash screen.
Splash Screens are an important part of modern software. Since video games are software, splash screens are an important part of video games as well. If not for them, we might have a blank screen instead, which can cause the user to think that nothing is happening. Splash screens confirm to us that the game is loading. But a good splash screen does even more, sparks emotion.
The art of the Splash Screen
A boring launch screen is forgettable. It’s lazy and serviceable, but not pleasant.
But there is an art to selecting a great splash screen. When done correctly, the loading image will get you pumped for the action about to happen. Or it will remind you of a sentimental moment and motivation behind the story. A great splash screen is more than a logo slapped on a promo image, it has depth and beauty.
Many Xbox One game developers phoned in their splash screens. They must have figured that the real value was in the in-game artwork. After all, the splash screen is only there for a few seconds and then gone. There were a few handsome images here and there, but mostly forgettable load screens.
But then something brilliant happened. Xbox One received Xbox 360 backward compatibility. Suddenly, years-old Xbox 360 games needed fresh, new splash screens as well. But where would these images come from? The original releases never had splash images.
As developers gave their approval to Microsoft to release previous generation games, someone had to select images to use for the splash screen. And then we started to see real art.
Xbox 360 splash screens, mmmmmm good
The Xbox 360 splash screens are largely logo-free. They aren’t trying to promote a new game, but rather seem to pay homage to an old one. Games like Dead Space feature a beautifully rendered image of protagonist Isaac Clarke in fully upgraded armor. Mass Effect has a killer splash screen image of Commander Shepard next to a vision of earth getting hammered by the Reaper invasion. NBA Jam has a flaming baskeball splash screen! Yeah, it’s not sophisticated, but it’s NBA Jam, not Sherlock Holmes.
I started Xbox Screens because I looked on the internet to find a splash screen from Titanfall 2 to make a point on Reddit. The screen was nowhere to be found. I took it upon myself to start grabbing splash screens from my Xbox One and Xbox 360 library of over 200 games to share this art with other fans.
I can only post splash screens from games I own or have access to. So if you don’t find PES 2017 on here, it’s either because I don’t play PES, or I haven’t gotten around to buying every single game yet. But I hope you do find the splash screens you are looking for. And maybe, this will be the push to get game developers to consider the splash screen more than just a loading image, but an inspiring piece of art, viewed for only a few seconds at a time.