Hmm. Far we have come, INTRODUCTION WEAK YOU SAY.
My jaw dropped with Star Wars Battlefront. It’s amazing. It looks bloody amazing. The sound, the setup, the Hoth. After enjoying the Beta I had seen everything I needed to see and enjoy. I didn’t need to revisit it, the only mode I may have continued to enjoy was the local co-op mode, but that was a bit of a mess, at least in the demo. My time with it was complete, balance was brought to my wallet.
I’m not sure about you lovely humans but my favourite games of the recent past haven’t looked all that realistic. Some genres really get by on their flashy looks, but I’m not sure Undertale or Papers Please would have been improved with photorealistic skeletons or accurate impoverished border guards.
I remember the first time I saw the original Far Cry with its beautiful vistas. They don’t look quite as good now. I don’t think I’ll be reinstalling it, its not like when someone mentions Deus Ex.
In a few years time, when all the big fancy games actually really do look photorealistic, then what? The gold rush is over. Even with costly and expensive surgery we cannot rely on our flashy good looks forever. Apart from Sly Stallone, of course.
The obsession with making things look photorealistic, with its outrageous costs, ensuring the creative vision must appeal to the largest demographic possible , with huge teams of people attempting to piece together that single vision. How can it not come across as a painful birth of mismatched ideas and soulless, standardised gameplay. What, you want an example? You know I was talking about Assassins Creed 3. You can think up your own AAA game and pleasingly insert it into this space here. I’m not having a go at the pursuit of making things look sexy, this is a moan about the disproportionate obsession with superficial experiences devoid of love, gameplay or soul.
Mario Kart will always look good. Shadow of the Colossus still inspires awe. Street Fighter Alpha 3 still looks great today. The art direction, not graphical fidelity, gives it power. Ori and the Blind Forest, Rocket League and Splatoon will still look great in five/ten/infinite years time… like Cannon Fodder.
By spending that precious time and money dressing up an idea, you might forget to polish the actual idea in the first place. People might scoff at minecraft, “Its just bloody blocks”, but that was some idea wasn’t it, and its iconic enough to sell in real life shops to everyone in the world ever.
Art direction dude.