Gamers have long been fascinated with the prospect of truly believable games. Developers and publishers have pitched “realistic” graphics for decades, and open-world gameplay, which is at least superficially an emulation of life in the real world, has ensured that “hardcore” gamers’ collective desire for realism has reached a fever pitch. Since the sixth generation, console gamers have seen their industry push past rudimentary, limited-polygon 3D character models and prerendered backdrops in favor of new levels of detail. The current generation, which will soon be coming to a close, has offered us more detailed textures, smoother animations, and larger worlds than would have been possible on older hardware. The gap between PC and console hardware seems to have narrowed as developers have focused resources on the successful console market. This is exactly the sort of progress we anticipated — we’re on track, and things can only get more realistic from here, hardware permitting.
Then there’s Nintendo.