Submitted by -Mezzo- 663d ago | opinion piece

If You Think Good Graphics Make Characters Worth Caring About, You’re Probably Insane

Kotaku - Last week, when the folks behind Killzone went on Jimmy Fallon's late night show to talk PS4, they said something that stuck with me.

In response to Fallon's question about what the PS4's impressive memory could do for developers, Guerilla Games boss Herman Hulst answered with a great deal of enthusiasm. He said it allows them to create big, vibrant worlds. And...

"At the same time," he said, "it gives us space to develop these characters that you truly care about." (Culture)

NewMonday  +   663d ago
then call me insane because a face with enough detail can project emotion
Good_Guy_Jamal  +   663d ago
You're insane. I cared about Limbo kid and I couldn't even see his face. I didn't give a rat's foot about Jason from Heavy Rain.
Just look at Kratos in GoW 3, detailed to the high heavens but I didn't care about him one sink?e bit. John Marsten on the other hand got me all choked up!
Cole or any of the characters from LA NOIR were all so life-like, but I didn't invest as much emotion in them as I did for the cast of Mass Effect.
I cared more about my Fable 2 dog then whether or not Ellena would succumb to her injuries at the end of Uncharted 2.
Graphics may help in conveying emotion, but immersion is key to getting me to care about a game character.
NewMonday  +   663d ago
Actually I agree with you, but the key word is "improve", ME characters were deeply written but the look and animation gave me a creepy Thunderbirds vibe.

better graphics are a tool, but they don't work alone
DoomeDx  +   663d ago
I agree about Jason. hated that kid.
But come on..How could you NOT care about Ethan Mars?

Definatly one of my favorite games of all time. Just the emotion alone grabbed me.

On topic:
Just read the article. This is a typical Kotaku article

"In response to Fallon's question about what the PS4's impressive memory could do for developers, Guerilla Games boss Herman Hulst answered with a great deal of enthusiasm. He said it allows them to create big, vibrant worlds. And...

"At the same time," he said, "it gives us space to develop these characters that you truly care about." Where do you see him mention something about Graphics kotaku? Nowhere right? Because he ISNT talking about graphics here. So you are insane. not the people who think good graphics make characters worth caring about.

I wish people would stop being so stupid, and actually know what RAM does.

People seem to think of it like its a CPU. Improving graphics, calculation speeds, shaders etc. While its not. Well, atleast not as much as people think.

With 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, I actually expect them to add more gameplay in the game. Which is even better then graphics. I remember some games where developers were limited with gameplay due to the RAM. Weapon Attachments in Killzone werent possible because of that. Also adding more guns in the game wouldnt work because the RAM would be overloaded. So saying that RAM increases graphics is just stupid. Its mainly Gameplay. and thats the most important thing about a game to be. Herman even said that "You can climb now. Which wasnt possible in Killzone 3."

About the characters ''coming to life'', Maybe Herman Hulst meant something like ''Hey with the new ram, we can do so much stuff at once! Meaning that characters will come more to life! So you care more about them.''

See? That has NOTHING to do with graphics kotaku!

I hate kotaku more and more.
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HarryMasonHerpderp  +   663d ago

I like how you compared multipats to PS3 exclusives for you're examples.
nice stealth trolling.
Anyway everyone knows graphics aren't everything and I'm not sure who said otherwise? As for Killzone I think we need some likable heroes this time because the ISA are douche bags lol
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Baka-akaB  +   663d ago
Except none of the characters you didnt care about had a particular flaw when it came to conveying emotions and feeling ... you just didnt care about them .

And one case of limbo wont make every likewise designed game any good at such task either .

There is no denying that graphics are a potent tool to visual display raw emotions , even less so by just dropping the name of a few exceptions . The rest is up to artistic vision
ChronoJoe  +   663d ago
I think it's a different type of story telling when you're projecting your own emotions for the scenario onto the character, because you cannot see their face.

Similarly link in legend of Zelda doesn't really give much indication of any emotion yet you feel it throughout the Zelda games. Even in the top down ones.

However this is a different kind of emotion, it's because you're the character you don't need to see their face. It is however difficult to express emotion from a secondary perspective (sideline character) without compelling facial feature.

With that said you can do absolutely anything with narrative anyway. Books can express as much emotion as any movie because they force you to imagine what the characters would be going through, in response you form your subjective interpretation of the characters facial features.

Video games can of course do this too, however better graphics remove the necessity of user imagination, and give the films creator more creative control of what they want the user to experience / see / feel from their game.

With that said, it's up to interpretation whether that is good or bad, and it still remains the developers choice as to whether they want to go into extra detail on attributes like facial animation, or leave that up to the players imagination.

Personally some of my best story-orintated experiences were from games like Golden sun, it might have a relatively two dimensional world, full of seemingly two dimensional personalities, but you fill in the gaps with your imagination to craft a much deeper, and richer experience than is directly presented to you.
XxDarkGamerxX  +   663d ago
Kudos to doomed for clearing that up
Good_Guy_Jamal  +   663d ago
@HarryMason: A. LA NOIRE is not exclusive to PS3 and B. You should take it as a compliment that I mentioned alot of PS3 games in an article about great graphics. Why's everyone so defensive over playstation? Dear goodness I've owned all 3 main consoles and I couldn't give a hoot about them.
theBAWSE  +   662d ago
I'm surprised more people are not voting kotaku down they still have 3 stars
Captain Tuttle  +   662d ago
Great post. I can especially relate to my Fable 2 dog, was just thinking about that the other day.
SAE  +   662d ago
I'm completely the other way around . I only agree with you on limbo..

Emotion moment isn't just about graphics but graphics shows it better. It's like reading about someone getting torture. But when you see it your self you will have a different feelings because you are looking at it and experiencing it. Same about this subject. It's hard to believe you did't care about the characters you mentioned. But let's stick with the taste matter.
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Emzx99  +   662d ago
Sad part is that you only got disagrees due to you mentioning PS3 exclusives in a less the favorable way. He didn't say those games were bad people, take your butt hurt elsewhere. He's entirely right, immersion is the key. Yes graphics help, a lot. But if all you got is so slapped on high res sad faces, and no real development of a character it's pointless. It's a fact that Skyrim looks better than Halo 3, but Halo 3 portrayed emotion a lot more, especially toward the end, and you can't even see John's face. A lot of things factor into character depth, but graphics is dead last. If you need graphics to get your point across, A. your story sucks, B. your gameplay sucks, C. your setting sucks, and D. characterization sucks. I still remember tears coming to my eyes when Damos died in Jak 3. Crysis 3 is probably one of the best looking games out now, and it's story, characterization, and setting, were garbage. Graphics mean nothing, they should improve over time, they should never be a focus, and when they are the game tends to blow. Graphics need every other aspect I mentioned, otherwise they're useless.
knowyourstuff  +   662d ago
No one is saying that graphics alone are what make people care about a character. Can people stop being idiots, taking things completely out of context, changing someone's words and attacking an argument that was never even made?

Obviously it takes storytelling to create emotional investments with characters, however with the more powerful hardware, that is what Hulst was referring to as the tool that allowed the team to better develop the characters in the story - that being, develop them physically, creating more emotion in character's faces, sometimes facial expressions tell more than words. Actors and directors understand this better than anyone, it's why you'll never see a faceless movie character as the main character.
Kran  +   662d ago
Master Chief had no face. Lot of emotion there... :l
Insomnia_84  +   662d ago
Only two games have made me care DEEPLY about characters and those are Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X.
palaeomerus  +   662d ago
Here is how much graphical power you need to convey emotion...

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Bumpmapping  +   663d ago
This site is still around?
Simon_Brezhnev  +   663d ago
If it was HHG it would had been banned. LOL
younglj01  +   663d ago
Wow can't believe HHG got banned he was the first site too mention Kratos in some-type of fighting game(MK9), most of his guesses came true this-gen...
Reverent  +   662d ago
People, PLEASE downvote the hell out of Kotaku. That site is literally one of the most useless, redundant things to "grace" the internet.
Baka-akaB  +   663d ago
The puzzling (well not really , as the system and its results are conveniently hidden by N4G) part is how the site never loses a star despite being downvoted so often at every turn . While it's very unlikely its supporters even usually bother + voting it
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Simon_Brezhnev  +   662d ago
I know right i always downvote that troll site.
Reverent  +   662d ago
Same here, and I know plenty of other users who do so also. I'm starting to think that there is some sort of... conspiracy... <_<
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ThatXboxGuy  +   661d ago
No surprise there.Idiots do tend to believe in conspiracy theories.
Gimmemorebubblez  +   663d ago
Like a rash on the industries backside, Kraptaku has flared up again.
InTheZoneAC  +   663d ago
without looking at the picture, I thought this article was going to mention crysis....
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Ares84HU  +   663d ago
+ WTF, No
bobtheimpaler  +   663d ago
Here we go again. Kotaku making mountains out of ant hills.
Ares84HU  +   663d ago
Just vote the site down so maybe one day we don't have to see their biased hatred anymore on n4g. They hate playstation with a passion! Watch them sing a different tune as soon as the new xbox will be shown with great garphics. Than they will be saying "gamez iz all about grafixerzzzz".
bobtheimpaler  +   663d ago
I already did. It's just insane, how they pick some small comment taken out of context over a week ago...over a week ago!

They're digging really bloody hard to find something and turn it into a negative, no matter how freaking small.
harrisk954  +   663d ago
Oh, Kotaku is at it once again...

He was not just talking about graphics, but the whole package. The size of the worlds, the advanced AI, improved sound, the social interaction that is being implemented, and of course graphics which allows for greater emotive ability of the characters.
godofboobees  +   663d ago
Its that time of the month again. Kotaku please stop and save yourselves the embarrassment
TongkatAli  +   663d ago
Is that a Yoda Maltipoo ? XD too funny.
MariaHelFutura  +   663d ago
Knight_Crawler  +   663d ago
MariaHelFutura  +   662d ago
minimur12  +   663d ago
*SPOILER FOR FF13*It definitely helps, i remember playing final fantasy 1 for a while and got bored, but i played FF13 and nearly cried when hope nearly died.
Summons75  +   662d ago
I cheered when hope nearly died but understand what you mean. The scene just before the final cutscene was impactful seeing them all the way they were. Although playing through final fantasy 6 and watching the world end was impactful as well. Graphics don't make the game or the character, they do help but they shouldn't be the focus like people make them.
vividi  +   663d ago
I am insane, everybody are
clintagious650  +   663d ago
This is why i love about having a great storyline in games better then just a game based on online multiplayer 1st & just a add on mediocre story to go with it because i grew up playing single player games. Uncharted series was amazing me to me because not only did it have great story telling but naughty dog brought the characters and the uncharted world to life with its beauty & realistic character movements.

This is why a person who just enjoys online gaming over story telling games would never like uncharted, mgs4, heavy rain, mass effect, lost odyssey, god of war, & many other story based games i didnt mention. Their the type of gamers who would say i played those games & got bored quick, u ask why? Because they enjoy online gaming so much that they just want to jump in gun blazing, or punch & kick things that they wouldnt even pay much attention to the story.

There is nuttin wrong with enjoying online games but if thats all u play, your MISSING out on ALOT of GREAT GAMES.
ninjahunter  +   662d ago
Alyx vance , now some would say half life 2 has bad graphics by todays date, and maby their right. I mean you cant count the hairs in barneys nose or anything. But their good enough.
joeorc  +   662d ago
And He missed the point completely
It is not about just being pretty resolution's, but with High resolution's like they Have now it does provide an opportunity to provide the developer the ability to convey more character emotion on screen, and which allows the Player better insight to the character's emotional simulated state.

What Cage an Herman were talking about is being able to convey the character's Emotion across the screen by showing emotion's to the Player and within the game as you and the character go through the story, the character's emotion's come through by not just the character's mannerism's but the line's on the character's face just like in real life tell a story in of it's self something without even the character speaking. the character's showing Emotion's followed through with what action's, Or inactions you as the Player do or do not.

its about giving a Life of the character before you as the player meet's that character. It's like Taking a character like "Kara" for such the brief time you meet IT, and with a few Moment's make you as the player truely feel like Kara is no longer a IT but a Her!

the effect's of not just the Actor but the Character showing Emotion's on and through out the game

Hope to :


Make (an idea, impression, or feeling) known or understandable to someone.

that this character is more than just Pixel's on a screen there is the people who made it, and the Actor's voice and even Mannerism's behind the character, that bring the character to life!

Its about Trying to Convey to the Player that just for brief point's in time that this character is more that just a bunch of Pixel's in a game , but is More of Something the you as a Player can get invested in to see how you and the character's story play's out together.

Yes there is scripting responses to each situation, but How you Handle the situation may not be the same as other's.
talisker  +   662d ago
Story quality? WTF
Like this website? No.
InTheLab  +   662d ago
I swear that doesn't work. I think the admins on this site prevent us from blocking certain sites. It's the only explaination unless there's just as many people voting fo the site, instead of against it.
SAE  +   662d ago
It's like when people talk about gay people here it's ok but when i say i'm against it they kick me for months. I made like 20 accounts xD ..

I'm with the admins explanation ..
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lovegames718  +   662d ago
I know I'm not the only one but I love the helghast and have actually grown to be sympathetic to their situation. From the opening speech and music in kz2 I felt attached to them so GG did a good job. Yes their is more to flesh out but so far GG has done good by me.
KillrateOmega  +   662d ago
Graphics don't make everything, but they do make it better.

This applicable to all aspects of gaming. Think about it.
ape007  +   662d ago
agreed, graphics push boundaries of gameplay and immersion to another level IF THERE IS A TALENTED DEV, a bad game is bad forever
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BlmThug  +   662d ago
Kotaku is as useful to the gaming industry as Defecate is to shoes
dcbronco  +   662d ago
They is more to emotion than graphics. But even from a graphical standpoint LA Noire could give you everything you needed to show emotion. So obviously the story and situation out weight the graphics.
ame22  +   662d ago
Is it gonna take someone to practice witchcraft before Kocktaku go down.
GraveLord  +   662d ago
Good graphics help immerse you into the game and as a result makes characters appear much more human. If graphics weren't important in games, then why don't we just go back to text-based games? Yeah, that's what I thought...
uuaschbaer  +   662d ago
He's largely right. Don't go all-out on hating Kotaku you predictable idiots, use some judgement.
ISNeko  +   662d ago
Please develop characters I'll actually care about for Killzone 4. Historically, all I ever felt towards the cast was extreme hatred for Rico's dumb ass. Killzone games play great, look great, tell a very forgettable story with blah characters. And then the only characters that shine at all are the bad guys! When the main character from Killzone 1 goes out like a fucking champ I was upset, but it was nowhere near the emotion response it could have been had GG done a better job with story and character development.

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