Epic: Graphics indistinguishable from reality in 10 years

Founder Tim Sweeney says games will reach photorealism in next decade, though doing so will create new challenges, he argues.

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Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney believes game graphics will be indistinguishable from reality in the next decade. Based on the current rate of progress, Sweeney claimed today at Develop, as reported by Games Industry International, that games will be "absolutely photorealistic within the next 10 years."

"An indistinguishable-from-reality level of graphics," he added.

Along with this visual advancement, Sweeney cautioned, will come new challenges and difficulties that will require a great investment in research before full virtual reality is accomplished.

"That just moves the challenge of graphics to the problems we don't know how to solve. Like simulating human intelligence, animation, speech, lip-syncing," Sweeney said. "There are still a lot areas that will require ongoing research for probably the rest of our lives before we come close to approaching reality."

Sweeney's comments echo those of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) visual effects supervisor Kim Libreri, who said in August last year that game graphics will be "indistinguishable from reality" over the course of the next decade. Libreri worked on Star Wars 1313, as well as Super 8 and The Matrix.

Epic Games is the creator of the Unreal Engine as well as the Gears of War franchise. The company's most recently released title was March's Gears of War: Judgment. The studio is presently working on Fortnite, an Unreal Engine 4-powered PC game due out this year.

Discussion

507 comments
abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

Yeah then we will get nothing but clone games every 10 years because it takes so long and is so expensive to make a game no one wants to take any risks.

ernelson1976
ernelson1976

Photorealism is overrated. The real issue is AI and animation. Both are getting better, but aren't great. I'd much rather see those CPU cycles going toward making game AI smarter rather than just looking good. Everyone promised the end of clipping at the beginning of this gen, and it's still an issue. There are lots of significant problems left in graphical fidelity that have proven much more difficult than anyone imagined. Graphics will continue to get better, but there are other things I think are more important.

sieg6529
sieg6529

I'll admit I'm a graphics queen, but I don't think we'll be there in 10 years without a breakthrough in GPU technology.  

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

Quite frankly, I don't want photorealism. I'm far more drawn to worlds/settings/characters that are far removed from reality. The fantastical characters of Skylanders, the hand-drawn beauty of Dragon's Crown...these are the worlds I like to get lost in.

With photorealism, you run the risk of the uncanny valley, especially with regard to things that don't exist in reality. You get to the point where you're looking at something that is supposed to be human, but your brain is telling you that something is wrong.

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

And games will be indistinguishable from movies...right.

YesSheWill
YesSheWill

Such a graphical achievement will require much in the animation department, especially physics.  I'm the type of gamer that does not mind a game looking like a game, so I hope game developers do not make this their main focal point for the future.

Barrakas21
Barrakas21

where do i heard that already??10 years ago

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

If they catch on to current movie CGI level, maybe but it'll take longer with consoles and everything being first for consoles, then PC's.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

I have heard this before and really is it something we want for all games ?  No.  Seriously there is a place for cartoon like graphics and other forms of art in games.  Hopefully companies making games remember this.

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

We're living in interesting times... there's a whole lot more coming in the near future that we haven't been expecting. The internet is still fairly new and the companies are still unsure about how to intelligently make use of it. It would be great to have true photorealistic graphics in games, it would up the immersion to a whole new level. But it also bring it's own set of issues, and I'm not talking about the controversial things like gore and sexual content. No, I mean things that are more like what they mention in the article. 

There's only so much you can achieve with high quality graphics. You gotta remember some of the things that tie into graphics very closely. For example lip-sync, currently it's pretty rare for a game to be lip-synced well enough to actually seem realistic. Then there's animations, you can have the clearest most beautiful graphics ever, but if your faeries are shambling about like zombies the graphics won't help much. One of the questions I'm asking myself is 'Do we really want games to look real?' This is a big question IMO, there's a pretty thin line between acceptable and morbid. With today's graphics games can have all the gore they feel is necessary, but when it actually looks life-like wouldn't that limit the devs in some ways?

And of course on top of that is the loudest question, and likely the one we will see/hear most of in the coming years. And that is parental controls and adult content. The closer we get to making games lifelike the more acute this issue will become. There are multiple groups out there already protesting violent and sexual and otherwise adult topics in the game industry. Everyone understands that these topics are here to stay, they're not going anywhere, but how they're ultimately restricted is a very big question, and one that the gaming companies need to start working on yesterday. If they wait until the tech is here to decide this we're going to see problems. (Which we will likely see in any scenario.)

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

Eh I prefer snes games like dragon quest or chrono trigger over all the state of the art graphics because its always the gameplay that matters in the end not how many cut scenes or real life humans it has.

Necronomnicon
Necronomnicon

hmm... this will honestly be the first time I have ever considered gore up for debate as far as video games go, I LOVE my gore, and horror & slasher/thriller films are some of my favorites including classic & contemporary zombie/zombie-like movies. video games you're immersed in the virtual world, interacting with it, & there is a phenomenon in the brain that begins to assimilate what you do on a very frequent, regular basis as part of your general ruleset or foundation of thinking. for example, I played goldeneye 64 until my eyes bleed, single & split-screen deathmatch. i noticed myself once or twice imagining people with the trademark goldeneye 64 red bullseye around them when I was looking at them one day & I thought to myself, "okay, too much goldeneye". since I had played the pslit-screen often, I was used to seeing & thinking of people with that bullseye around them, even though obviously NOT of popping them it was just a game for fun times. so imagine the angry kid that plays way too much photorealistic gta & feels that junior high or highschool will never end... & he's desensitized to the photorealistic gore. games that have a certain degree of it, ought to be adults only, regardless of the country. machines by then on the other hand, could have a parental control setting that may actually WORK,   that could allow gameplay to be experienced while filtering out some of the photorealistic gore while allowing the parents to switch it on/off at will untilt heir tech-savy kid figures out how to hack his xbox 2 & unlock the parental control. if he could do that, i figure he'd be mature enough to handle all the photorealistic gore lol. 


TL:DR consoles will need parental control, that works & isn't a hassle, & some games mainly that don't take advantage of that will need to be 18+ or at least 17+ like an R-Rated movie. I love gore, but there needs to be some sense involved. 

LilithN
LilithN

"I don't mind clipping through walls though, I do that after a few drinks too." ROFL!!!

strife14467
strife14467

The funniest thing about this is that some people will still complain about the graphics. For me it doesn't matter how good or how bad the graphics are, but these companies really need to focus on how games actually play and not how they look. The graphics aren't what needs to get better, it's the gameplay that needs to get better. How about some new gameplay concepts instead of the same stuff over and over.

Also if I wanted realism I would look away from my TV and actually see reality, games shouldn't be about realism they should be an escape from it.

GweLov
GweLov

Aesthetics over Fidelity any day.

rann89
rann89

I'm fine with the way graphics are right now. Use the extra power to put more things in the game instead. GTA V is the only game I really see taking advantage of the extra power. Every other game seems to just focus on looking nice.

edit: maybe Watchdogs, depending on how interactive the environment really is.

JMcN76
JMcN76

Didn't they claim this already 10 years ago...?

swyg
swyg

I'm excited; not for the graphics to be photorealistic, but once graphics reach a peak that can't be surpassed, developers won't be able to rely on showcasing graphics to promote their games anymore. :P

MrOrbitz
MrOrbitz

I got three words for you, Tim.. 

Bull-fucking-shit.

jhonel83
jhonel83

Maybe they evolve too fast. My last PC couldn't handle the graphics requirements for the games I was playing. Frustrated, I bought and new one, with monster specs. 3 years later, it can't handle today's specs for gaming... again... That partially explains why I prefere gameplay and story over graphics and will always join the troll party that claims shiny looks don't  make the game :)

gamer85
gamer85

I think good graphics is great...but I dont want To much realism either..I still want a game characters to feel human but not too real... I would want realism more with physics,motion,nature,fluids etc..

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

I remeber them saying that 10 years ago too. Not gona happen any time soon even the HIGH BUDGET Movies that use CGI still havent mastered it and and they have farms of PC to do it too

ColdstoneX3
ColdstoneX3

didnt they say that like 10 years ago or something? i remember hearing that statement before

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

Am I the only one that also loves the look of games like Dragon Quest, or Torchlight?

Photorealism is fine for some games, but not for every game.

BuyaPC
BuyaPC

This is why you morons play games instead of make them, you have no vision at all if you think games look better now than they will at a true photo realistic stage.

BuyaPC
BuyaPC

so all you idiots are telling me you would rather have some game that looks like mario bros on the wii then the CGI in pacific rim or better. I think you all are confusing photorealism with boring reality. Your forgetting the amzing CGI thats done on sci fi movies these days but imagine a whole interactive world of that not just a couple shots. DUMB ASSES, no one said theres not still going to be amazing artists involved, its still going to be art and different amazing worlds, its just going to look a lot more real and less like the pixels and jaggies that make up a game today.

ddoggbritt16
ddoggbritt16

I would not like it if video games were as real looking as reality I would rather have them look like battlefield 4

blackothh
blackothh

great, awesome, bravo, horray, BUT I DONT CARE, i prefer stylized graphics.

carolino
carolino

art can be better then reality ... realistic feel to a game is only good for so many...

games are escapes...do you really want them dat real ?

darkash22
darkash22

in 10yrs i'll be 35 or probably dead lol...we need new gameplay and game styles..not just a new coat of pain on the same pieces of crap i have been playing for 15yrs!..more new IP's.

orangesonic
orangesonic

lately the only good thing Epic games has done is upgrading the Unreal Engine...

because on the gameside... just like the nowadays crytek... beautiful to the eyes, but awful to play...

Madjik2k2
Madjik2k2

"Graphics indistinguishable from reality in 10 years"

Wasn't something to this nature said 10 years ago?

EL_Bomberdor
EL_Bomberdor

Beyond 2 Souls looks pretty good on PS3 so damn sure 2 gens into the future photo realism will be achieved.

auliaackckck
auliaackckck

You know what can never solved even with fancy graphics and photorealism?


Game Objects CLIPPING with each other.

meatz666
meatz666

@ernelson1976 Very good point. For example, I love Fallout 3. The landscapes really sucks me in. But when you see NPCs moving like freaking puppets, then the immersion goes away.

But, to defend the game, the AI is pretty good, compared to other games... Well, when it's not glitching. 

BlackBolt
BlackBolt

@DeViLzzz Yeah.... no! It's cartoon graphics that deters me from playing many games.

DSCesq
DSCesq

@MrOrbitz I can narrow it down to two for you...

Keep dreaming.

rann89
rann89

@jhonel83 Three years is a pretty long time. Even for a console. That's hardly "evolving too fast". The cost of a new graphics card every three years isn't even noticeable.

marvelx3
marvelx3

@jhonel83 I built my rig 4 years ago, and i still play every new game on ultra settings. Dont buy rigs boy, build them.

V-Nine
V-Nine

@BuyaPC  I cant imagine the Mona Lisa  or Starry Night done photorealistic. Gran tourismo vs real? Understood. Street Fighter 4 minus the water color splashes? Me no purchase. Pacific rim vs Gundam? ok you win G savior sux...( Robot Jox any one?). Legend of Zelda Wind Waker Photorealistic? No way. Twilight Princess? Most likely..ect

lilmcnessy
lilmcnessy

@orangesonic I didn't really like the Gears of War series. I just found my self constantly behind cover. I don't think the unreal engine is that great either. It has a weird feeling to it. Crytek engine is quite good with graphics but their physics are shit.

jhonel83
jhonel83

@rann89, @marvelx3 ,it's not only the graphics card... Everything is outdated -my processor, ram, graphics card, even the hard disk. The motherboard and power source is pretty much capped , so I can't really upgrade any further. I resorted to overclocking but that won't last for long either 

TheEveryMan
TheEveryMan

@lilmcnessy

The concept for the 'Gears Of War' series is rather simple. Duck behind cover and empty rounds of ammunition into enemies for several acts, coupled with a thin plot. But it's entertaining, and that's what games are all about.

meatz666
meatz666

@sieg6529 @steve4123456789 Actually is pretty easy. Movie CGI is almost real. So we already have GPUs that can pre-render those images. So we just need a GPU fast enough to render them in real time. My computer can easily play a game rendering graphics better than the pre-rendered Toy Story 2, from 1999. So, we can believe in 15 years, maybe, I'll be able to render a Avatar like game in real time? I believe so.