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Submitted by gamesTM_dom 659d ago | opinion piece

Are photorealistic graphics killing creativity?

As triple-A titles accelerate towards a disturbing level of photorealism, we’ve seen a resurgence in retro-styled and cel-shaded games. Why are more and more developers so keen to move against the realistic grain? (Dev, Next-Gen, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

Taislin  +   659d ago
I don´t think striving for life like graphics diminishes creativity. I think it even forces the developers to create a unique aesthetic so that they differentiate themselves from other games. Look at Infamous, it looks preety good, but I recognise it the minute I see it, same with Destiny and the Order, or FFXV for that matter. Lifelike graphics may be applied to otherwordly situations, and might even bolster the imersion in a world that would be completely detached from ours.
#1 (Edited 659d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
thekhurg  +   659d ago
Publishers forcing developers to release sequels every year is killing creativity.
mewhy32  +   659d ago
Well I can't totally agree that sequels are killing creativity.

But on the subject of photorealistic graphics...I say that if the machine can achieve photo realistic graphics then that just gives the devs another venue to express their creativity. They don't have to make everything look 'REAL' they can still go with the fantastic if they wish or they can to with the 'REAL' look and create something that looks 'REAL' but doesn't exist yet. Taking us to places that we may never go or that don't even exist but looking like they do.
erathaol  +   659d ago
“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”

― Orson Welles
UnwanteDreamz  +   658d ago
Nice quote but do you know what it means? Artists are supposed to identify their limits then surpass them.
starchild  +   658d ago
There is plenty of creativity in the industry today. There is more diversity in the kinds of games being created than ever before.

People just like to get nostalgic and talk like old men. "yeah, I remember back when games used to be good..."

Nah, I'd take today's games over those games from the past any day.
Edsword  +   659d ago
I think the emphasis on M rated games for adults hurts creativity. I remember the days of N64 and PS1 when games like crash bandicoot and starfox came out. The whole family could enjoy them and they were downright good games. I'm not against adult oriented games, but I would like to see games that are for the whole family again.
TheVideoGamHer  +   659d ago
Even though Infamous looks great and has a somewhat realistic design, you can still tell it's a video game. It's still very stylized.
3-4-5  +   658d ago
Look back at the last 15 years in video games.

How many of those "realistic" games actually look realistic now ?



Because they lack a unique and distince Art STyle that sets them apart.

Any game trying to lok real, 3-4 years from now, won't.

Any game trying to go for a specific art style, will almost always look good years later.

Gamecube Windwake still looks amazing.

Super Mario World SNES still looks appealing all these years later. Same with a ton of GBA games.

COD ghosts will look like crap eventually, but Borderlands 2 and other "celshaded" type games will look good for years because their art style is nice to look at and it's colorful.
Patrick_pk44  +   658d ago
I miss the age of creativity. Today developers strive to make a games photorealistic, which isn't absolutely a bad idea, but it is being shoved down our throats. I myself am looking forward to Uncharted, The Order 1886, and Infamous Second Son. But remember the days of Crash Bandicoot, Rachet and Clank, and Spyro? Those were far from photorealistic and creative, AND fun. I just want a mix.
johny5  +   658d ago
There still there if you want to play them!

A matter of fact there still coming out with games for Rachet and Clank and Spyro!
ABizzel1  +   659d ago
Graphics have little effect on creativity, People do. If your game doesn't focus on improved / unique mechanics, new story ideas for the medium, etc... then that's a lack of creativity from the developer, not graphics.

The only time graphics takes away from creativity is if the hardware isn't capable of performing the task needed for a something in-game, because the graphics are taking too much processing power, which I don't think most devs. would stand for.
CrossingEden  +   659d ago
Compare stylized games like wind waker or team fortress to skyrim or Twilight princess to see whether nor not photorealism helps in the end. Wind Waker is ten years old and even the normal version looks better than plenty of games that come out today.
gamesTM_dom  +   659d ago
Completely agree with you. There's a lot to be said for keeping the idea of the 'cartoon' alive in games. Tarantino does it in cinema to great effect, too; Django isn't supposed to be realistic, it's a cartoon and therefore can get away with things 'real' or 'grounded' films can't.

Titles like Borderlands or anything by SUDA-51 do the same for games - it's all about having a variety of aesthetics to cater for every gamers tase. Or something.
BlackCarrot  +   659d ago
Even in the old days, some games attempted to look as realistic as possible while others embraced a different artwork.

Not all games strive towards photorealism, and most who seek to buck the trend tend to reap the rewards ala Minecraft and Borderlands.
Jovanian  +   659d ago
Lets worry about that when games are actually near photo realism. Very few next gen games actually look good. And if they look good, there are huge sacrifices to performance or resolution to obtain it
GribbleGrunger  +   659d ago
When I see some photo-realistic games I'll let you know.
Play2Win  +   659d ago
dat pic of Cod
Matt666  +   658d ago
Off Topic: I didn't know "dat" was a word lol
On Topic: Yes I say it does, when people make a game they should find the correct balance between graphics and gameplay
Back-to-Back  +   658d ago
"Off Topic: I didn't know "dat" was a word lol "

Do you even internet?
spartanlemur  +   659d ago
"We pray we never see a realistic reimagining of Super Meat Boy. It'd be beyond horrific"

Eonjay  +   659d ago
No. Dont blame good graphics. Blame corporate greed and the trend of turning everything into an annual franchise.
DCfan  +   659d ago
Who bought these "Annual franchise"??
Eonjay  +   659d ago
Not me. I think they are just better advertised than most games.
SnotyTheRocket  +   659d ago
Annual Franchises can be good. Look as Assassin's Creed. AC4 was freakin' great. While I wouldn't HATE for them to take a break, to change it up more, i still enjoy the games immensely.
Eonjay  +   658d ago
Not all franchises are created equally.
level 360  +   659d ago

A great way to progress further the medium of CGI.

Concerning gamers and tribal wars, graphics is the first thing you see and comment about, so it's the easiest way to gauge the console's ability to put that into fruition without any hassles.

For sure if game developers can achieve both graphic superiority and great gaming experience it's a win win situation for them.
weirdo  +   659d ago
no. no matter how "photorealistic" games get, they will still look like games. good art style and lighting etc will always help push both creativity and design. as beautiful as retro gaming is, i'm happy that technology has provided the graphical push that real gamers love and cherish!
Parhelion69  +   659d ago
Isn't The Order 1886 delivering incredible graphics, having art direction as one of its foundations?

It is delivering a cinematic feel and strong art direction, and gets backslash by their wide 2.4:1 aspect ratio...

So their trying to put all their creative vision into the game, and it's getting all that negative press for it?

Blame it on the gamers. Not the developers.
#12 (Edited 659d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
andrewer  +   659d ago
Yes! Crysis 3 and MOH Warfighter were boring as hell, even though they were pretty
Play2Win  +   658d ago
Crysis played different since part one of the series. Some call this boring I call it great to play. Warfighter was crap.
-Gespenst-  +   659d ago
Definitely. It's not creative to just reproduce the real world constantly. There's this implicit directive in the videogame industry to thrive for realism realism realism, and there's plenty of room for it, but it's rarely as inventive and imaginative as something that isn't realistic. I think this is tied to the sheer level of technology fetishism that goes on in videogames too. Gamers want machines that render reality, and the better they can do that, the more powerful they feel for owning that machine. At the same time, it's totally a trend that corproate power has latched onto and is now driving into the ground - people probably wouldn't have cared about it as much were it not for the deceitful practices of advertising that swarm around it, and it's certainly overrated. All of it is definitely holding back the medium.
gedden7  +   659d ago
This is the problem!

To create games is a b!tch, no matter big or small. Its takes time, talent and money. When a game is being released it must be hyped. Bigger hyped games tend to make bigger sells. How most americans and media outlets hype games and hardware is buy showcasing graphics. The more realistic the better right??? Well to make the game like that or depend on tech so much (as most western devs do) they focus more on pushing tech and graphics. Rather working on/testing bugs, glitches, gameplay mechanics, game balancing, or for the point creating something new fresh. Publishers rush devs to create content to meet crazy deadlines. i e Xbox One and PS4 launch titles. Speaking of publishers, they aren't really comfortable releasing and founding new style games. They figure it to be very risky. They rather release spin offs and sequels rather than new IPs..

So graphics, hype, devs, publishers, media outlets and us are basically killing creativity.

Look at whatever Nintendo does with their hardware. Nintendo is ALWAYS giving us new ways to play with their creativity but to the gaming media, a$$hole devs and online article reading "gamers" see them and the Wii U as irrelevant... Why you say? Well this groups questions if the Wii U is even a next gen and deemed doomed.. Why because their tech isn't on par with the PS4 and Xbone. The Wii U's gamepad is super creative...
Enigma_2099  +   659d ago
No, but I DO believe they cause a sort of tunnel vision. Too much of an emphasis on it can cause people to not focus on things more important... like the actual game and the quality thereof.
Hicken  +   659d ago
Tearaway, Puppeteer, and quite a few other titles seem to be having no such problems being creative.
Knushwood Butt  +   658d ago
Yeah, but they aren't Nintendo games, so they don't count ;)
Ulf  +   659d ago
Yes, they are. The reason being that photorealism isn't just textures -- it requires good animation mocap, and somewhat believable settings. Voice acting is also usually required if the game has decided to go with realism.

The bottom line is that, not only is it limiting the imaginations of the artists, it also costs more _money_ to pay real people to do all the mocap, voice acting, and make settings that are as tremendously huge and detailed as real-life.

Money is the big limiter. So yes, like it or not, games have become limited by trying too hard to be realistic.
jhoward585  +   658d ago
Are photorealistic graphics killing creativity?

In a way yes it does. using photorealistic graphics tends to force the devs to only use things that are realistic.

Anything too unrealistic might make things look too campy.

our everyday perception and life experiences make it very difficult to accept things that doesn't line up with what we learn.
Taislin  +   658d ago
I redirect you to my post at the top of the page. Go take a look at the FFXV trailer, any of them. You will see magic levitating weapons, huge Leviathans, Iron Giants, Behemots and gravity defying main characthers and all of this in what appears to be a very lifelike aesthetic. And it looks awesome to boot.
jhoward585  +   657d ago
FFXV trailer is indeed incredible.

But I think our creativity in photorealistic graphics has gone as far it can go.
anything we do that goes beyond what have already been done before in Hollywood/Gaming would seem a bit too campy. There is a barrier. photorealistic graphics works very well when one using things from nature/life experiences/politics. Not to say that one can not add fantasy/sci fi content...but adding anything beyond that just wouldn't work.
#19.1.1 (Edited 657d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
isarai  +   658d ago
Yes and no, on one hand we're getting very close to achieving photo realism that many devs are aiming for that goal, on the other hand having so much power means every so often you get an amazingly creative game that can use that power for nothing but awesomazing visuals and creative design.

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