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Every week, the Virtual Photography Archive Hour invites you to revisit your virtual photography archives as a great way to reach new audiences, rediscover past inspirations and even learn from mistakes. Featured below are a selection of the entries shared over the past month.


Title: Forza Horizon 4 | Theme: TERRAIN

Developer: Playground Games | Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Initial Release: 2nd October 2018

Shots from racing games can all too easily end up being quite similar to each other, but not this one. The snowy conditions and the angle of composition create a feeling of upward struggle as the rock-crawling 4x4 conquers the terrain with lights blazing. It looks less like a game and more like something that might be used to advertise the capabilities of the vehicle, or even those knobbly tyres.


Title: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End | Theme: STRUGGLE

Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Initial Release: 10th May 2016

Candid shots of NPC's going about their business are always good to see as they give some appreciation to the effort that goes into world building in modern games. The fact that most viewers will likely take this image at face value and enjoy the helpful cooperation without considering whether or not the people are really helping or have no say in their predetermined tasks, emphasises just how immersive those worlds have really become.


Title: The Last of Us Part II | Theme: NO MERCY

Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Initial Release: 19th June 2020

This is an exceptional action shot, and one that manages to tell more of a story about what is happening than we can actually see. Laid in the grass with bow drawn and ready, it seems obvious that Ellie has just scrambled over the broken fence and that it is only a matter of time before her pursuers follow, only to be met with the sharp end of an arrow.


Title: Strange Brigade | Theme: TERRAIN

Developer: Rebellion | Publisher: Rebellion | Initial Release: 28th August 2018

When I first saw the Tweet sharing this shot, I mistakenly read the words as "Strange Bridge", although that does also seem to work. There is certainly a bridge, and the eclectic mix of colours and textures do admittedly make it look a little strange. Start to take in the details and you may even begin to wonder what the round sculptures on top of the bridge may be, or why there are several blue stones scattered around its base...


Title: Death Stranding | Theme: MEMORIES

Developer: Kojima Productions | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment, 505 Games | Initial Release: 8th November 2019

Taking advantage of Death Stranding's excellent character models, this capture ensures that Mama's eye grabs the viewers attention right away. With just enough light to reveal a slightly furrowed brow that conveys some distress, and the dirt on her skin as she peers out from her dark confines, it is hard not to wonder exactly where she is and if there is a way out.


Title: Battlefield V | Theme: STRUGGLE

Developer: DICE | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Initial Release: 20th November 2018

Capturing an M4 Sherman tank, illuminated on the battlefield by the fiery explosion of a nearby shell, this shot shows the interest that iconic machinery in an otherwise bleak setting can have. While it can never have the same power as true war correspondence, virtual images that reflect and report on the theatres of human conflict are a worthy area for the art form to explore.


Title: The Last of Us Part II | Theme: NO MERCY

Developer: Naughty Dog | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment | Initial Release: 19th June 2020

For the recent "No Mercy" Archive Hour theme, I definitely had Ellie from The Last of Us Part II in mind and it was no surprise to see a number of excellent entries featuring her, but this has to be one of the best. With a simple top-down view, a stretch of light highlights the awful fate of the victim while Ellie's apparent disregard and walking direction tells of someone who is completely unmoved as she marches mercilessly on the find another.


Title: Shadow of the Tomb Raider | Theme: STRUGGLE

Developer: Eidos-Montréal | Publisher: Square Enix | Initial Release: 14th September 2018

The lighting works wonderfully here because, while we are naturally drawn to Lara's face and her pained expression in the first instance, it is the brighter light that starts to lead the eye further down the image. Only then do we get a glimpse of a painful injury and are left to wonder how she will recover and whether she can get out of whatever dark place this is.


Title: Mad Max | Theme: TERRAIN

Developer: Avalanche Studios | Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment | Initial Release: 1st September 2015

Sometimes the awe-inspiring virtual landscapes do a lot of the work for you, and there is no doubt that this exquisitely designed rock formation and realistic cloud cover make up a large part of the interest here. However, do not underestimate the importance of the vehicle placed in the scene; its tiny relative size creates a true sense of scale, and the cloud of dust thrown up creates the story of someone heading into the unknown.


Revisit your archives and share some lost shots on Twitter every Sunday. Look out for the #VPArchiveHour theme post and simply reply with something from your existing archives for a chance to feature in next month's post.


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