2K Games boss Christoph Hartmann--who heads up development on franchises like Duke Nukem, BioShock, and Borderlands--believes photorealistic visuals are needed to help propel the industry into new genres.
Speaking to Games Industry International, Hartmann said the film industry holds an advantage over games, in that directors are more easily able to show emotions like sadness and love, while game developers struggle to portray these. Because of this, Hartmann says many developers instead focus on action and shooting before all else.
"Recreating a Mission Impossible experience in gaming is easy; recreating emotions in Brokeback Mountain is going to be tough, or at least very sensitive in this country… it will be very hard to create very deep emotions like sadness or love, things that drive the movies," he said. "Until games are photorealistic, it'll be very hard to open up to new genres. We can really only focus on action and shooter titles; those are suitable for consoles now."
Hartmann went on to explain that photorealism in games may represent an "endpoint" and that consoles capable of rendering such visuals could be the last systems ever needed.
"To dramatically change the industry to where we can insert a whole range of emotions, I feel it will only happen when we reach the point that games are photorealistic," he said. "Then we will have reached an endpoint and that might be the final console."