Videogames is a medium that combines various forms of art in one cohesive experience with the goal of having the player immersed in the stories they try to tell. And to a large degree what sells that immersion is the visuals on screen.
Videogame graphics have been a topic of discussion ever since the NES days, and with every new iteration of consoles and every new generation of GPUs, we have gotten one step closer to the dream of achieving photo realistic visuals in videogames. And with the next generation of consoles that dream may well become a reality.
With new consoles from Sony and Microsoft and new series of GPUs from Nvidia on the horizon, there has been a ton of games being showcased. While some are more impressive than the others for various technical reasons, there have certainly been some standouts.
Before we get to them, we should also mention big companies like Unreal and Unity showcasing what their updated engines are capable of doing with the upcoming hardware.
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The leap from one generation to another is usually a strange affair as games showcased in the early days of a new console are hardly representative of the full capabilities of the console.
For example, Infamous Second Son was graphically impressive on the PS4, but it did not blow me away as I had come fresh off of The Last of Us on the PS3. But fast forward a few years and just the subtlety in graphical details in The Last of Us Part 2 is mind blowing.
When we put that in perspective it is almost baffling to see what the games on the new consoles are already looking like. If these in-game visuals look so good now, what is the tail end of the console cycle going to look like?
Case in point is Project Athia from Sony’s PS5 reveal event and Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga from Microsoft. Both showcasing in game visuals, with Project Athia showing what looked like straight up gameplay.
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Then we have the tech demo for Unreal Engine 5. One of the most impressive tech demos for raw graphics in recent times. The demo is narrated throughout explaining the features of Unreal Engine 5 and its impressive new systems said to be running on a PlayStation 5.
And if history is any indication, the graphics that can be churned out of the engine usually surpasses that of the demo shown as the years go by. Look at the Unreal engine 3 demo today and a look at Batman: Arkham Knight on the PS4 for example. Or for a more recent example, the demo of Unreal Engine 4 and the recent gameplay footage of Black Myth: Wukong.
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With the new consoles yet to release we are already off to a great start. This year’s Call Of Duty: Cold war is said to run at 4k 120 FPS on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. And this does not come at the cost of visual fidelity.
If the gameplay trailer is anything to go by, the game is quite the looker. And it is important that we need to take into account that these visuals have been achieved after the developers have most likely made some compromises so the game runs on older hardware too.
The future of gaming looks more exciting than ever. The industry has been moving at a breakneck pace in terms of technology and innovation, much faster than any other medium of art. And all of this will certainly lead to games that innovate further and look stellar while doing so. And we don’t have to wait for long to have our jaws dropped all over again.
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