Tapping my foot here.


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Opinion: We Run the Risk of Visual Stagnation

So far, the most we've seen from next generation graphics is primarily from Sony's Playstation 4 reveal event. We've seen the machine supposedly running game engines that look pretty close to CGI visuals that you would sometimes see in an animated movie. Technologically speaking, it's pretty cool. It certainly has many Sony fans excited, with many wondering where that leaves the upcoming new Xbox console.

However, I feel there is a risk here with this kind of hype. What I would not like to see is what happened with this past generation when Gears of War came out. There is not THE way to make a game look great, but many different ways. Thankfully, during the same generation, Journey on the PS3 and Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii were releasrd. A downloadable indie title and a Wii game, both of which looked stunning at the time. This sort of stylization has almost universally always appealed to me far more than realistic graphics in video games ever have.

That isn't to say that I was not impressed by the Killzone or InFamous demos, mind you. Both trailers looked really impressive from a technical standpoint. But like with Gears of War, I am not interested in a multitude of copycat games to follow. Around that time, shooter games were released almost annually, with many unoriginal concepts and bland, boring visuals being brought to light. I'd prefer not to see this happen again.

Now before you start typing onto your keyboard how "wrong" I am or how I am "being bias" or this or that, just think about it for a moment. First and foremost, I'm not saying we're necessarily heading into that direction right now, but that we can head in that direction if developers start to believe that ultra realistic and violent games is all the industry wants.

Second, I'm sure the obvious implication here is that I'm worried about seeing less Nintendo games. Well, let me put that retort to rest like so; Nintendo makes Nintendo games and I don't need that from Sony or Microsoft. But Nintendo doesn't produce all of the games I like to play; Splosion Man is one of my favorite games of the past generation and Tearaway is a magnificent looking game that's only on the Playstation Vita. Portal 2 from Valve is probably one of my favorite games in the past decade. Games with stylized and fun visuals as oppose to gritty, ultra realistic ones are typically what appeal to me most and I would like it much more if the industry does not lose sight of this.

I suppose we'll see in about two or three years.

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GalacticEmpire1818d ago (Edited 1818d ago )

Good read, I agree we don't want to see stagnation of any kind unless it's a 'not broke, don't fix it' situation.

Funny you should use the Killzone: Shadowfall pic in an blog about visual stagnation when it's a widely adopted opinion that SF has taken the series in a much brighter, colourful direction. The cityscape of Vekta seems almost alive and so well lit with vivid colour unlike the browns and greys of this generation.

Judging by the various PS4 trailers, one of the biggest stand out upgrades (besides resolution) in visuals is with particle effects. The flaming embers of InFamous: Second Son, the dust and debris of KZ:SF, the fire and ice particles in the Unreal demo, all look stunning.

SilentNegotiator1818d ago

KZ:SF is definitely a terrible example. They provided really interesting contrasts in their color pallet this time around and created much more active and interesting environments.

There's no reason to worry about "visual stagnation". The indie developers will always be there to provide visually unique games and Ps4 is looking to be a major host to indie developers. It's not like you lose possibility because the bar is raised.

And the most important note is this: Developers have been unhappy with the current limitations for a long time. The last 3 years of the 7th gen, we got constant articles of heavy hitters complaining about working with said limitations.

Developers are ready to have bigger matches, less objects fading with distance (Play Skyrim on a console, then PC with the fading bars all the way up. It's the difference between being able to effectively play an archer-centric character or not), infinitely sharper textures, etc, etc, etc.

More power means more than realistic's a major game changer.

PopRocks3591818d ago

"More power means more than realistic's a major game changer."

I got that, though I don't feel the two should be mutually exclusive. I'm not trying to say better graphics and stronger hardware means bad things for hardware; my concern is for future trends in the industry.

I would like to keep seeing games like Brutal Legend, Jak and Daxter, and other games with stylized visuals as oppose to just games with ultra high detail. Though I feel publishers will opt for the opposite on the grounds that they feel that is all gamers are looking for. My opinion is that it would be nice to see a mixture of styles so as to prevent any sort of stagnation like what we saw during the previous generation.

SilentNegotiator1818d ago

"I would like to keep seeing games like Brutal Legend, Jak and Daxter, and other games with stylized visuals as oppose to just games with ultra high detail"

Nothing about more power means that they can't do that too.

Look at Knack. That's a very stylized game AND it's highly detailed.

majiebeast1818d ago

Did you just call Infamous realistic im just asking? Cause Infamous 1,2 are pretty far from realistic and have their own unique artstyle. Is Infamous 2 a very good looking game "yes" but realistic graphics "no". So i doubt you wil see Call of Infamous:second son and just expect they will continue the old artstyle from the 2 former games.

The reason last gen was like it was, is because of the Unreal 3 engine everybody used it and made everything look the same except for a few titles like Bioshock,Batman franchise and Borderlands and their are probably a bit more but alot of games looked a like.

Godmars2901818d ago (Edited 1818d ago )

Have to disagree. It not that something like Infamous looks "realistic" its that it falls within the real of realism as say a COD, Gears, Batman and even Bioshock.

We need multiple examples of gameplay and graphics diversity, not just a specific style on one console. Because we're already at a point of stagnation.

PopRocks3591818d ago


I think you may have missed my point. This was primarily about graphics, not thematic material. InFamous' latest games' visuals look great, but they fall in line with the ultra realistic/detailed look I was talking about. Don't get me wrong, I think they look great. I just don't want the PS4's entire library to look that way.

GalacticEmpire1818d ago (Edited 1818d ago )

Wait what? You're afraid games on PS4 will all shoot for gritty realism?

Guess you missed Knack, which is surprising because I personally thought it looked like something Nintendo might have dreamed up.

Also The Witness.

Also whatever Media Molecule has cooking is not likely to be realistic and gritty :P

majiebeast1818d ago (Edited 1818d ago )

Its a bit funny though you picked Sony for this rather then Nintendo when they have Bayonetta 2 and ZombiiU.

But you are probably not pushing some sort of Sony hate parade we know you would never do that... How is that in any way realistic. You dont see me saying Metroid Prime is realistic or Twillight princess just because they look good.

PopRocks3591818d ago (Edited 1818d ago )


Bayonetta 2 and ZombiU... how the hell would these games even remotely alter the types of games that the Wii U would receive? How would they possibly affect the way Zelda and Mario would look? Also, "Sony hate parade"? Wow, what are you, three? I should have figured you would be bitter after I pointed out you were a troll.

Killzone and InFamous are the only games of these newer consoles to have game footage on the internet for public viewing. But yeah, let's completely ignore how I SPECIFICALLY stated that I think they look great and I just don't want the games to all look ultra realistic or detailed (considering that games of that stale could get stale) and how I also want to see games with stylized and cartoony art styles as well.

But hey, it wouldn't be the first time some moron twisted my words.

EDIT: You know, I love how you will turn my arguments into bias despite the fact that if you, you know, read the blog, I stated that the reason I feel concerned about that is because of how shooters became very abundant and started adopting similar art styles to the likes of Gears of War and similar franchises and even listed games with similar looks that are not even on Nintendo consoles.

Finally, go watch the InFamous trailer again. It may not be all that realistic but it was extremely detailed. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING FOR THE MILLIONTH TIM AND I'M NOT SAYING IT IS BAD.

My point is I would love for games to push this new technological bar with other art styles, not just by emulating the same gritty, detail that these trailers had.

MidnytRain1818d ago

I don't think there's anything to worry about. Games don't have to be realistic and overly detailed or gloomy to look great. Who's going to argue with more real-time lighting/reflections and anti-aliasing? Or anisotropic filtering? They do nothing but make the game look better. It's up to the developers whether they decide to use the extra power to produce super detailed textures. And I don't think they will.

TopDudeMan1816d ago

Realistic graphics are how they show off a system's power. That is obviously the most intensive graphical style. Other art styles don't really do that so much, so it's why indie developers often end up going for a particular art style because games with realistic graphics tend to be much more expensive to make.

Arty games won't die out, but the realistic games will probably get more realistic as time goes on.

GodsPerfectK7ng1816d ago

Games will be realistic and life like and there still will be 2d scrollers and games like journey being made for the next gen gaming bro because sony and Microsoft have the technology!!TYJG