Video game developers have always had it pretty rough. A lot of hours, constant time crunches, and burning out their own creativity. It's not easy to survive in the video game market, and sometimes creators have to listen to the big boss man and edit their unique designs. Or, sometimes the idea's just aren't there. Maybe a character was created but was handled by someone else who couldn't quite match up.
In any case, there are a lot of examples where supporter's of a series or franchise do the legwork and end up perfecting the designs.
Now, I had to get a bit creative with my picks in this article, unless you wanted 10 Overwatch, 10 Fortnite, and 10 League of Legends entries that is. And while I could gush about all three of those titles until I'm out of energy, that doesn't make for a diverse written piece. So these picks are for fan's who really did the utmost to improve specific costumes, base designs, and alternate concepts. These are the ideal devotee's, people who actively try to improve international franchises. These people don't want to just eat their cake, they want to eat the cake, then learn how to bake it better! I scoured the deepest, darkest, scariest parts of the web to find texture mods, 3D renders, illustrations, and full on paintings of the best fan designs and I'm glad I did. Now I hope you enjoy the picks and see why exactly I chose these 30 Fan Designed Video Game Costumes Better Than What We Got!
28 Street Fighter Franchise - Blanka - Give Me The Electric Ape-Man
Street Fighter is without a doubt the most well-known fighting game. Having been around since 1987 it shaped the landscape of the genre. Blanka is an example of the games exaggerated style, being a green-tinted man who can conjure electricity. Blanka was raised in the jungle and is basically Tarzan.
But this CG depiction by Abraão Segundo is a much better representation of a jungle beast than the in-game model/sprites.
With a much more primal expression and gigantic, ape-like arms this fan design is more true to Blanka's background.
27 God Of War Franchise - Kratos - God Of Anime
God of War is an immensely popular franchise. The man, the myth, the legend, Kratos himself is a pop culture icon whose design is known the world over. But what he's missing, is a bit of anime flair.
This fan-made design by E-Mann would have been a perfect way to pump up sales numbers in Asia in particular.
Japan, in particular, does actually like the franchise but their standard character designs tend to be more slender and elegant. So maybe we need to lose some gains and grab some hair gel.
26 Final Fantasy VII - Barett - Now THAT'S A Minigun Arm
Final Fantasy 7, while being a revolutionary game for its time, doesn't hold up graphically. The game was one of the first to make the full transition to 3D models and you can tell. One of the main characters of the cast was Barret, essentially a revolutionary with a minigun for an arm.
But what always bothered me was how stumpy his minigun was. But in this fan depiction that's definitely not the case.
This amazing depiction is a much more realistic depiction of the character. Well, as realistic as one could get replacing one's limb with a high-speed weapon.
25 Metroid Franchise - Fusion Suit Samus - Bio Themed Fusion Suit
Just like the Dead Space entry, this fan design for Metroid's Samus Aran is sorely needed.
Samus already has a world-renowned design, the base suit alone is textbook grade A+ character design.
But during the opening events of the handheld Metroid Fusion title, Samus is forced out of her power suit and is merged with her fusion suit thanks to a deadly alien virus. This fan design takes the fusion to heart and really plays with the bio components of the design. It's a bit more grotesque, but way more on point for the game then the actual design used.
24 Donkey Kong Franchise - Donkey Kong - Business Kasual Kong
Donkey Kong, the pinnacle primate has always worn his namesake red tie no matter what. But I subscribe to the Donald Duck conundrum where, as soon as bipedal animal puts on one article of clothing, the fact that they're ONLY wearing that one article, becomes pretty upsetting.
Donkey Kong needs clothes, and what better costume to wear than some business casual attire?
I mean just look at him, banana brand low top's, an earth tone pair of jeans, and a classy watch so he can tell when it's time to eat bananas! By the by...it's always time to eat bananas.
23 Fortnite - Costume Design - Twitch Streamer Ninja With A Pickaxe
Fortnite at this point is buried in cosmetics. But one thing they seem to be sorely lacking, is more eastern themed designs. The only ones I've ever seen are the Wukong, and maybe the Raven skins. And while Wukong is a great design, to me it's saturated colors and flair make it more of a comedic skin that an aesthetically cool one.
Meanwhile, fan design Arashi by u/Aculeus is the personified definition of slick.
This design has edge, elegance, and flair and is utilizing design ideologies the current item shop seems to need more of. Plus the idea that the skin's aura get's more pronounced over time is very interesting.
22 The Legend Of Zelda Franchise - Calamity Ganon - A Human Shaped Calamity
I'm just gonna get right to it. Calamity Ganon might be the coolest title for Legend of Zelda's Ganondorf, but it's by far one of his weakest designs. The entire design really feels like a mish-mosh of different parts. It's a big blobby mess and I wished we could have had a design more true to other Ganondorf's
Thanks to Marcos Lopez, I don't have to imagine a human calamity anymore.
This render is absolutely stunning and 100% feels like it was pulled straight from BOTW. A+ grade all around, this is a design that captures the aesthetic of the game, without overcomplicating anything.
21 Telltale Walking Dead Franchise - Clementine - Clementine's All Grown Up
Telltales Walking Dead franchise did the impossible. They made a child character that was likable rather than annoying.
Clementine is the best child character in any game, at least as far as I can think.
She's adorable, make's the tough choices, and is always pragmatic. So when the second season of the Walking Dead games came out most players were excited to see how both time and the events of the first season changed her. Unfortunately, we got basically the same old Clem, with a couple inches of height. But thanks to maaarudesign's concept we actually get the grimdark realist Clementine!
20 Dark Souls Franchise - Armor Design Tribute - More Fuzzy Collars
I'm weak when it comes to fuzzy collars. Give a character a jacket with a fuzzy collar in any media, be it games, animation, or film and I'm sold. There's just something about having fur/fuzz around the upper shoulder that exudes charm. And Gilles Ketting completely agrees as we seen in his tribute to the Dark Souls series.
Dark Souls could always use more armor designs, between three games they started to recycle a good amount.
But these designs both seem fresh and unique enough to give Dark Souls a bit more...well soul.
19 Destiny Franchise - Class Designs - Classes With Actual Creativity
I'll be honest, I dropped off Destiny 2, HARD. After finishing the Leviathan Raid and ruining a few friendships in the process I realized how milktoast the games were.
There were only 3 classes in Destiny with two different variations per class. And design wise what we got was pretty streamlined so they could pull in the biggest audience.
But with Francesco LOBO's designs, we finally get some character. These three concepts for the Destiny classes all have a base historic inspiration and really feel unique and creative. If only that unique-ness could spread to the actual game, maybe I'd go back.
18 Diable Franchise - Diablo - From Devil To Angel
Diablo 3 might be one of the games I pumped the most hours into in the shortest span of time. I marathoned that game for two weeks straight and let me tell you, completely worth it.
Diablo is a franchise that's named after its main antagonist...Diablo.
And while the current design is intense and bloodcurdling, this design is more uncomfortably angelic. The artist here went for more of a fallen angel route for Diablo and I think it's honestly just as strong and or stronger than the actual design.
17 Sonic The Hedgehog Franchise - Dr. Robotnik - In His Best Mechanical Shape
This is such a cool idea! Nerfuffle has created a series of Sonic the Hedgehog cast redesigns but Dr. Robotnik takes the cake by a long shot.
The prodigal inventor has finally transcended humanity and turned into one of his own machines.
Now his wacky proportions actually have some in-universe backing to them. Now that I've seen this fan design, I'll never be able to appreciate the actual character again. Because every time I see both sides of that trademark broom end mustache, I'll be thinking how much better it'd be if only he was a tin man.
16 Legend Of Zelda Franchise - Link Concept Design - Time For An Animated Movie
There are so many Link and Zelda designs. It's a franchise built to be expanded upon, but it's own company and fans alike.
But one thing I've never seen, is an artist who does a better job nailing the Link design than Nintendo does, until now.
This 3D render of Link from the original Legend of Zelda is striking. This representation is what I always imagined when playing games like Link's Awakening or Zelda 2. Frankly, I wish this design was the one they used for Link Between Worlds!
15 Assassin's Creed Franchise - War Concept - Any Excuse To Wear A Jacket
Ubisoft really hit the jackpot when the first Assassin's Creed game took off in 2007. The games featuring these stylish anti-heros have released almost yearly and have explored a multitude of different locations and cultures.
Assassin's Creed 3 is one of the most forgettable in the franchise, both in its setting and characters. What we needed was a slightly less posh West, and that's what we get in the Fan Made design. I've never seen an Assassin costume that actually looks like it could blend in with a crowd, until now.
14 Legend Of Zelda Franchise - Fan Game & Character Concept - Breath Of The...Clockwork?
I'm not 100% sure if this qualifies. But any fan of the Zelda franchise that's on social media has probably seen this concept. It was a fan made game concept where the setting would be primarily steampunk-esque or clockwork based.
This game would feature a leading role for Zelda and a support role for an esteemed Link prince.
While this is a unique concept, a lot of the design implements and robotic enemies are similar to Breath of the Wild. And I wish for the life of me we could finally get a Zelda that actually looked like she could handle herself in close combat.
13 Megaman X Franchise - Zero - Just A Real Classy Redesign
This is by far the most subtle re-design on the list, but that's also why it's probably the most successful.
This re-design of the Megaman character Zero really just improves the design aesthetically.
Zero is the colder, edgier contrast to Megaman's rounder naivete. And now, thanks to Anthony Amorose, it shows in his design as well. This design really just takes any rounded elements from the original, and makes them more square-like. It's not to most ambitious redesign, but because of that it's for sure an improvement on the original.
12 Mortal Kombat Franchise - Mileena - Finally Getting Some Class
Finally, Mileena realized she can wear more elegant accessories. You know, like her father’s skull hat. Pure elegance. In any case, Mileena is the "daughter" of Outworld ruler Shao Kahn from the Mortal Kombat franchise. She's part Tarkatan as one could see by her gigantic mouth.
Mileena in all her iterations has always been a bit crude.
And while this design does also have a similar lack of clothing, it has taken great strides towards making Mileena more individual. As it is currently, her only individual feature is her fangs, but with this design, she could finally stand out on her own.
11 Bayonetta Franchise - Bayonetta - The Devil May Cry Over This Rocking Costume
Platinum Games are the kings of the Character Action genre. Character Action games are titles like Devil May Cry which focus on sick combos, flashy fights, and insanely tight control of your character. Bayonetta is their other flagship title about a witch who fights with her hair.
Bayonetta's base design oozes class and elegance, but we never got a more down to earth, mellow outfit for her.
This outfit designed by Robert Sammelin is the perfect mix of DMC edge and Bayonetta class that lets us see another side to an already amazing character.
10 Dead Space Franchise - Isaac Clarke - Down And Dirty With The Bio-Suit
Isaac Clarke has seen some real messed up stuff. The guy spends three entire games fighting his way through all kinds of mutated creatures the likes of which don't get much more grotesque.
Clarke's engineer suit is probably one of the tightest designs I can think of for a futuristic setting.
And we got to see more of these suit designs in Dead Space 2 with all the unlockable costumes. But what we never got what a real down and dirty suit, one that merges the aesthetic of all the Necromorphs we've been fighting up until this point. Not until now.
9 Overwatch - Reaper - Lucio's Second And Best Amphibious Skin
Overwatch's Halloween event is where most of the best skins come out. As someone who's favorite holiday is Halloween, I eagerly await this opportunity to deck my favorite heroes in some amazing skins. There have been some real winners like cthulhu Zenyatta and Vampire Reaper.
But this fan-made skin by Antodemico is probably the best Halloween skin so far.
It really escalates the idea of a "Legendary Skin" by building upon every single aspect of Lucio as a character. From his trademark beat blasting weapon, to his wall riding skates, the Support class DJ has now become fully amphibious.
8 Bloodborne Franchise - Concepts - Crow Shoulder And Green Werewolf
Bloodborne is From Software's most creative game in years. Don't get me wrong I've dumped a good portion of my life into all of the Dark Souls games. But Bloodborne is one of the most unique games I can think of, with an atmosphere that can't be matched.
And these fan pieces if implemented into the game, would have really cleaned up the few complaints I had.
Namely that the werewolves in the game were much too simplistic, and also that the game needed one or two more standout costumes to differentiate between all the other trench coat variations.
7 Injustice Franchise - Blue Beetle - When's Beetle's Grimdark Movie DC?
Blue Beetle is my absolute favorite DC hero. He’s usually a cocky, sarcastic teenager who's given more power than he knows what to do with. Think Green Lantern, but with training wheels. And thankfully, Injustice 2 learned its lesson and chose much more creative characters for the sequel.
Now Blue Beetles got his big shot in the video game market and well...his design could use some work.
The in-game his design is jarring and frankly odd. Now if only it could have been like this concept by Atomichawk Designs, maybe the Beetle mantle would have garnered a bit more respect.
6 Pokémon Franchise - Mega Heracross - An Actual Improvement That Doesn't BUG Me
This artist Cosmopoliturtle, has been constantly making redesigns and cleanup for Pokémon for years now! Each new design follows the Cosmo's own style and voice while still trying to expand on the ideas and concepts they felt were lacking in the original design. But Mega Heracross has to be my favorite.
The original design leaves much to be desired and is actually insulting to Heracross's base concept.
This fan design on the other hand, really seems to go on a smarter route, one similar to the Mega Swampert design, where Heracross only gets bigger and buffer, and I'm not complaining!
5 Metal Gear Solid Franchise - Old Man Snake - An Actual Old Man
Metal Gear Solid 4 is a masterpiece of its time. As a huge fan of the franchise myself, I can safely safe Old Snake looks hilarious.
It once again stars Solid Snake, but due to his being a clone, he's aged rapidly towards getting the Early Bird special.
In the original game, Snakes design was less grizzled and more like they dyed his hair grey and gave him the fakest mustache they could. This fan design is much more believable as a senior version of the worlds best agent. And while not as comical or recognizable, is a much braver attempt to change the base Solid Snake design.
4 Super Smash Brothers Franchise - Project M - Lore Inspired Costumes Are Top Tier
Super Smash Brothers is a franchise built upon the back of all of Nintendo's biggest IP's. And with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coming to the Nintendo Switch in September, it's only going to get more popular.
But one thing the franchise has been sorely lacking is unique costumes for each character.
Unfortunately, they never attempt it and players have to turn to fan-made mod's like Project M. The image above are some examples of in-game models for Project M that go the extra mile, researching the best costumes for each character, and having a ton of fun along the way.
3 Overwatch - Orisa - Four Legged Hero Missing Dog Skin
As far as heroes in Overwatch go, Orisa gets some pretty good skins! Her initial release had some very solid cosmetics. Then came the Lunar New Year event, the Year of the Dog no less and Orisa was completely skipped. Let me just make something clear, Overwatch in the advertising for this event, made it expressly clear that this was the Year of the Dog.
And yet they skipped the only character (save for maybe Winston) who walks on all fours.
Thankfully, Overwatch is buried in fan skin designs, and we have Antodemico to thank again for saving the day with this incredible skin design!
2 Pokémon Franchise - Electric Panda Volpan - Best Pokémon Design In Years
Pokémon is without a doubt the one with the most fan designs. There have been entire fan games made based on the design principles of the Pokémon IP. And out of all the ones I've seen, Volpan by Silverava has to be the best.
It's a design for an electric red panda and it might just perfectly encapsulate older generational simplicity while incorporating the best of the newer gen design principles.
In simple terms, it's crazy how well designed this is! Please Nintendo, take the extra steps and throw this bad boy into the newest generation, because I need him on my team!
1 League Of Legends - Mordekaiser - This Design Is Au-Some, Cause It's Gold
Mordekaiser is League of Legends most "heavy metal" champion by far. Mordekaiser's literal title is the "Master of Metal" and his in-game skills back up that claim.
But as someone who played the character since he was first introduced, he's never been a great design.
Mordekaiser to me, is essentially a more cartoony Sauron from the Lord of the Rings franchise. But now, we have this fan design by Taylor Jansen. Now, this design does add a couple pounds onto the iron covered champ, but the entire design feels much more cohesive and developed than the one actually used in-game.