I think the gaming industry made a fatal mistake 20 years ago when they transitioned from 2D pixels to 3D polygons. It’s not the transition itself that’s the problem, but the way it was implemented.
When game designers started to work with pixels, they treated the medium as an artistic canvas. They used its opportunities and designed around its limitations to create the best characters with what they had. And they created iconic designs thanks to it.
When it came time to design characters using polygons in 3D, it seems the lessons of designing with pixels weren’t taken in. Because instead of designing with and around the canvas of polygons to create characters that looked good in the new medium, they immediately tried to create realistic 3D designs and it looked awful.
Ever since with increasing technology they tried to make 3D designs look more and more human-like, so each successive generation of graphics makes the previous one look dull in comparison.
All the while 2D games from 30+ years ago still look just as good today.