Have cartoony visuals reached their threshold?

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#1 Posted by Erick_Colletti (31 posts) -

I'm completely disappointed in the Xbox One and PS4. I just don't think cartoony visuals are going to get much better. I think in another 8-10 years, the Xbox Two and PS5 will be the same deal: slightly better textures, lighting, shadowing, and the like, and I'll have the same complaint then. Don't mistake me, some of the visuals are very impressive. Only two games have ever fooled me into thinking I was watching the real thing on TV: Driver: San Francisco's cutscenes of Jericho and Gran Turismo 5's NASCARs. But, I just don't see the Artists being able to push much harder. I think the next step is virtual reality and full-motion video (a retro concept) games. Discuss.

#2 Posted by megaspiderweb09 (3686 posts) -

The funny thing is that not everyone actually wants to play video games where you controll a real human look alike. If graphics reached that level, a lot of people may have issues about violence again which may have a solid ground in that scenario. The ability to controll avatars that are exact carbon copy of humans and do all that crazy uncontrolled video game thingy with them is not exactly very.............................Id let you fill the rest.

#3 Posted by razgriz_101 (16871 posts) -

we can push further in the field of visual cgi, its just the problem is it will go into the uncanny valley territory which can be perplexing and a bit uncomfortable.

#4 Edited by Motokid6 (5417 posts) -

Games need to improve in other areas before graphics get any better. Always room for better, more immersive animation. Which imo is the they to true next gen.

#5 Posted by trollop_scat (2648 posts) -

I can't stand cartoony graphics. My breaking point came with Diablo 3 - that art style had just as much to do with the game sucking as the horrible decisions about loot and taking away skill and attribute points. Goddamn that game is trash.

I want realistic graphics with a really gritty and/or gloomy feel. Kidtendo can make all the cartoony games they want, but PC and the other two need to step it up and make games that don't make you feel like you're watching Saturday morning cartoons with the kids if they want my money...

#6 Posted by GoldenElementXL (2955 posts) -

What kind of jump were you expecting for $400 and $500 hardware?

#7 Edited by heretrix (37339 posts) -

Jeez. the new consoles haven't even been out for 6 months yet. Give em a chance. There is bound to be something that is going to surprise people.

#8 Posted by farrell2k (5853 posts) -

With the Xbox brand losing $7 billion in 11 years for Microsoft, I would not expect another Xbox.

#9 Edited by Erick_Colletti (31 posts) -

@Motokid6 said:

Games need to improve in other areas before graphics get any better. Always room for better, more immersive animation. Which imo is the they to true next gen.

Sure, we can improve animation, but higher on that list is AI. It's something no modern game gets right. No matter what game you play, something stupid and inappropriate always happens. The Xbox One and PS4 do afford Developers better AI, but it's up to the Engineers to make it happen, and they're clearly not capable of meeting the challenge.

#10 Posted by Jankarcop (9263 posts) -

Upcomming PC games look way better, gfx will always improve. Just not much on consololololololes.

#11 Edited by R3FURBISHED (10482 posts) -

Thank you for further demonstrating that System Wars needs to reinstate its minimum requirement for thread creation.

#12 Edited by Erick_Colletti (31 posts) -
@trollop_scat said:

I can't stand cartoony graphics. My breaking point came with Diablo 3 - that art style had just as much to do with the game sucking as the horrible decisions about loot and taking away skill and attribute points. Goddamn that game is trash.

I want realistic graphics with a really gritty and/or gloomy feel. Kidtendo can make all the cartoony games they want, but PC and the other two need to step it up and make games that don't make you feel like you're watching Saturday morning cartoons with the kids if they want my money...

I don't think it's quite that bad. LOL

#13 Edited by Erick_Colletti (31 posts) -

What kind of jump were you expecting for $400 and $500 hardware?

Like the one from Xbox to Xbox 360 where I can actually see a difference without pausing the game and squinting at it.

#14 Posted by lundy86_4 (43188 posts) -

It depends on the art style... The Wolf Among Us looks great.

#15 Posted by turtlethetaffer (16710 posts) -

Nope, cartoony games usually look great.

#16 Posted by uninspiredcup (8257 posts) -

Still nowhere near pixar level.

#17 Posted by Dreams-Visions (26569 posts) -

Nope, cartoony games usually look great.

this.

Borderlands 2 looks great. Street Fighter looks great. Maaaaaaaahvel looks great. Sprite-based games like BlazBlue and King of Fighters look great. Hand-drawn games like Skullgirls looks great.

TC, I'd recommend you re-visit the scope of games you're playing today and figure out why you think more life-like graphics = a better game in your head. Video games are in part an art medium where all kinds of visual approaches will be seen and executed. Everything from The Last of Us to Spelunky to Skullgirls to Team Fortress to Battlefield to Starbound should look -- and most importantly play -- well and be appreciated for the art direction and style implemented. There is no "better" or "worse" art style; it's simply a matter of what works best for a given game and budget. Some of the best games I've played this generation are straight up out of the 8-bit/16-bit world. If you can't fathom it, it's because you've missed out on some game experiences. Fix that and report back later. Don't make the mistake of limiting your gaming experience to Gears, CoD, Madden and Tomb Raider. It's easy to do because those games have the largest marketing budget (mostly because the investment in making them is so great they NEED to market it hard to generate sales) but in doing so you miss out.

#18 Edited by Erick_Colletti (31 posts) -

With the Xbox brand losing $7 billion in 11 years for Microsoft, I would not expect another Xbox.

That's because they haven't had any leadership since Bill Gates left in mid-2006. It's only going to get worse, OS or console, for Microsoft.

#19 Posted by Erick_Colletti (31 posts) -

Just to be clear, this is about games that go for hyper realism, not cute charming cartoony art styles like Mario. Mario is a timeless classic that will always have a place in gaming.

#20 Posted by madsnakehhh (14261 posts) -

Your loss i guess.

#21 Posted by PsychoLemons (2070 posts) -

I can't stand cartoony graphics. My breaking point came with Diablo 3 - that art style had just as much to do with the game sucking as the horrible decisions about loot and taking away skill and attribute points. Goddamn that game is trash.

I want realistic graphics with a really gritty and/or gloomy feel. Kidtendo can make all the cartoony games they want, but PC and the other two need to step it up and make games that don't make you feel like you're watching Saturday morning cartoons with the kids if they want my money...

You got issues.

#22 Posted by Audacitron (915 posts) -

I'm completely disappointed in the Xbox One and PS4. I just don't think cartoony visuals are going to get much better. I think in another 8-10 years, the Xbox Two and PS5 will be the same deal: slightly better textures, lighting, shadowing, and the like, and I'll have the same complaint then. Don't mistake me, some of the visuals are very impressive. Only two games have ever fooled me into thinking I was watching the real thing on TV: Driver: San Francisco's cutscenes of Jericho and Gran Turismo 5's NASCARs. But, I just don't see the Artists being able to push much harder. I think the next step is virtual reality and full-motion video (a retro concept) games. Discuss.

If cartoony visuals have reached the limit, if the graphics aren't going to get any better, then where are all the Pixar-quality games?

Seriously, because I could go for some of that.

#23 Edited by LegatoSkyheart (25137 posts) -

I personally think Graphics in general have hit the limit or at least the edge, Any further and we hit that Uncanny Valley and further than that we're not playing Video Games anymore, and perhaps we have already hit and passed the Uncanny Valley so now we're just messing around with Physics and such.

However we've hit a generation where we could have near photo realism in our games or just have an 8-bit style game and both can be incredibly good. I think we're now in a generation where Graphics shouldn't matter because Games can now be whatever they can be. We don't have nearly as many restrictions we've had about 20 or 30 years ago.

Only things we're being held back by right now is probably memory space and time and that's growing by the day.

@Audacitron - Knack is very Pixar and Square gets a lot of crap, but Final Fantasy XIII has some fantastic Visuals that look like they were made by Dreamworks or Disney.

#24 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38216 posts) -

Whenever I read stuff like this I think back to a time when I thought the visuals in Final Fantasy IX were the best we were ever going to see

#25 Posted by bulby_g (1090 posts) -

No they haven't. 3D games have a long way to go before they look as good as some of the best animated films and TV out there. Even 2D games like Rayman can get better with new effects and even more detail although it does look superb already.

#26 Edited by bezza2011 (2408 posts) -

Well the people who are thinking this are young kids who can't remember before ps3 or people so naive.

ps4 and xbox one are showing great visuals over the ps3, not a massive difference but a difference,

now take the ps3 launch games and then look at games last year and the year before, they are so much more advance you would think the launch games were ps2 games.

the graphics are going to get better they always do. plus consoles are cheap your not going to get graphics like a high end $1500 gaming pc for the money if you want top graphics you have to pay for it.

#27 Posted by Heil68 (43921 posts) -

I like to have and play different art style games. It would get boring playing the same type over and over, Games like Dragons Crown and The Puppeteer and refreshing and very eye appealing, while not being realistic.

#28 Posted by I-AM-N00B (410 posts) -

I'm not sure cartonony visuals have reached their limit, but I dont think they can be massively improved as opposed to what we see now. Cartoony games do age better than most other games though I must say.

#29 Edited by R4gn4r0k (16427 posts) -

Whenever I read stuff like this I think back to a time when I thought the visuals in Final Fantasy IX were the best we were ever going to see

Yup, there are many people that said or thought: "graphics can't get better than this" and they always improved and still improve.

#30 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (25137 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k said:

@seanmcloughlin said:

Whenever I read stuff like this I think back to a time when I thought the visuals in Final Fantasy IX were the best we were ever going to see

Yup, there are many people that said or thought: "graphics can't get better than this" and they always improved and still improve.

There will be a point where they stop.

#31 Posted by SEANMCAD (5464 posts) -

The funny thing is that not everyone actually wants to play video games where you controll a real human look alike. If graphics reached that level, a lot of people may have issues about violence again which may have a solid ground in that scenario. The ability to controll avatars that are exact carbon copy of humans and do all that crazy uncontrolled video game thingy with them is not exactly very.............................Id let you fill the rest.

It is true many people dont want realistic graphics and WoW is clear evidence of that.

I however can not for the life of me wrap my head around why....

#32 Posted by Joedgabe (5111 posts) -

Who cares ? people wanted an improvement and they got it. you want something better? look out the window.

#33 Posted by FoxbatAlpha (6678 posts) -

Check out Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.

Prepare to have your mind blown at the cartoony visuals.

#34 Posted by glez13 (8759 posts) -

Whenever I read stuff like this I think back to a time when I thought the visuals in Final Fantasy IX were the best we were ever going to see

Sadly it's all relative. Because I also think back to a time when I thought the visuals(and probably the game as whole) in IX were a step back from VIII.

#35 Posted by quatoe (5671 posts) -

@SEANMCAD said:

@megaspiderweb09 said:

The funny thing is that not everyone actually wants to play video games where you controll a real human look alike. If graphics reached that level, a lot of people may have issues about violence again which may have a solid ground in that scenario. The ability to controll avatars that are exact carbon copy of humans and do all that crazy uncontrolled video game thingy with them is not exactly very.............................Id let you fill the rest.

It is true many people dont want realistic graphics and WoW is clear evidence of that.

I however can not for the life of me wrap my head around why....

I myself do not want video games to be photo realistic, I use video games as an escape from real life so having photo realistic graphics will kill it for me. Why would I want the games to be exactly what I am trying to escape from? Plus, "cartoony" visuals look amazing imo. Games like Windwaker and The Walking Dead are beautiful showcases to what "cartoony" graphics can do.

#36 Posted by ActicEdge (24463 posts) -

Cartoon style graphics haven't peaked yet. There is still tons of stuff that can be done with texturing, lighting and modeling and in cartoon styled games, clean image quality is very important. The is still a long way to go.

#37 Posted by R4gn4r0k (16427 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k said:

@seanmcloughlin said:

Whenever I read stuff like this I think back to a time when I thought the visuals in Final Fantasy IX were the best we were ever going to see

Yup, there are many people that said or thought: "graphics can't get better than this" and they always improved and still improve.

There will be a point where they stop.

Of course, because having better graphics means increased costs of game development.

But I doubt they'll stop improving soon.

#38 Edited by Cranler (8809 posts) -

What kind of jump were you expecting for $400 and $500 hardware?

What difference does the price make? $400 worth of hardware in 2013 should absolutely demolish $400 worth of hardware from 2005.

Xbone and PS 4 are about a 5 times power jump over ps360 just like ps360 was over xbox ps2.

#39 Edited by Cranler (8809 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k said:

@LegatoSkyheart said:

@R4gn4r0k said:

@seanmcloughlin said:

Whenever I read stuff like this I think back to a time when I thought the visuals in Final Fantasy IX were the best we were ever going to see

Yup, there are many people that said or thought: "graphics can't get better than this" and they always improved and still improve.

There will be a point where they stop.

Of course, because having better graphics means increased costs of game development.

But I doubt they'll stop improving soon.

There are plenty of relatively low budget games that have great graphics by todays standards.

Engines are becoming more and more efficient and user friendly which counteracts the expected increase in development time.

#40 Posted by R4gn4r0k (16427 posts) -

@Cranler said:

@R4gn4r0k said:

@LegatoSkyheart said:

There will be a point where they stop.

Of course, because having better graphics means increased costs of game development.

But I doubt they'll stop improving soon.

There are plenty of relatively low budget games that have great graphics by todays standards.

Engines are becoming more and more efficient and user friendly which counteracts the expected increase in development time.

Yes, there are now engines with effects that can counter development time/costs needed.

But I'm talking about the fact that if you want better graphics than the best that is available today (so not a lot of low budget games offer the best) than you'll be facing some high development costs for graphics alone.

But that said, I'm amazed with what some lower budget games like Metro:Last Light or Shadow Warrior pulled off. Also, I'm pretty sure Project Cars has a lower budget than Gran Turismo 6.

#41 Edited by Audacitron (915 posts) -

@Audacitron - Knack is very Pixar and Square gets a lot of crap, but Final Fantasy XIII has some fantastic Visuals that look like they were made by Dreamworks or Disney.

Final Fantasy looks incredible, but I wouldn't exactly call it cartoony. Although it's not straight realism either.

Knack looks decent, and it's somewhat Pixar-esque, but there's still a vast gulf between it and the visuals of a Pixar/Dreamworks/Blue Sky movie. Part of it is that they can use more advanced rendering techniques in a movie, but games are also limited by their design. Of the relatively few cartoony games being made, I don't think the character designs are on the same level as those of animated features.

The main exception being the Mario games, which have great designs in a different aesthetic which they've mastered brilliantly. Although again, it goes without saying that the rendering is still far from 'Pixar quality'.

#42 Posted by sukraj (22539 posts) -

What kind of jump were you expecting for $400 and $500 hardware?

a big jump imo

#43 Posted by Boddicker (2687 posts) -

IMO they have a long way to go yet.

Cartoony = cell shaded (for most people)

It makes me wonder what a next gen Borderlands 3 will look like.

#44 Posted by Cranler (8809 posts) -

@R4gn4r0k said:

@Cranler said:

@R4gn4r0k said:

@LegatoSkyheart said:

There will be a point where they stop.

Of course, because having better graphics means increased costs of game development.

But I doubt they'll stop improving soon.

There are plenty of relatively low budget games that have great graphics by todays standards.

Engines are becoming more and more efficient and user friendly which counteracts the expected increase in development time.

Yes, there are now engines with effects that can counter development time/costs needed.

But I'm talking about the fact that if you want better graphics than the best that is available today (so not a lot of low budget games offer the best) than you'll be facing some high development costs for graphics alone.

But that said, I'm amazed with what some lower budget games like Metro:Last Light or Shadow Warrior pulled off. Also, I'm pretty sure Project Cars has a lower budget than Gran Turismo 6.

Modders are able to upgrade graphics of games by leaps and bounds in their spare time. Hiring a couple more devs to help with graphics would only increase the budget by $150-200k.

#45 Posted by Dreams-Visions (26569 posts) -

@sukraj said:

@GoldenElementXL said:

What kind of jump were you expecting for $400 and $500 hardware?

a big jump imo

Considering the console manufacturers weren't going to lose money hand over fist this generation (because they can't afford to), you shouldn't have. We got what was expected: entry-level PC hardware that is hoped will still look good 5 or 6 years from now. It may, it may not. We'll all see.

#46 Edited by ActicEdge (24463 posts) -

@Cranler said:

Modders are able to upgrade graphics of games by leaps and bounds in their spare time. Hiring a couple more devs to help with graphics would only increase the budget by $150-200k.

If this was actually the case, why wouldn't most of these places do that considering when marketing a game, visuals are bar none the easiest way to sell it? $150-200k on the average $10 million project is peanuts. Its either not that simple (which is what I'm guessing) or they're completely stupid (which is not unlikely but damn, that's some incompetence)

#47 Posted by redskins26rocs (2674 posts) -

Ni No Kuni is impressive enough for me

#48 Posted by R4gn4r0k (16427 posts) -

@Cranler said:

@R4gn4r0k said:

Yes, there are now engines with effects that can counter development time/costs needed.

But I'm talking about the fact that if you want better graphics than the best that is available today (so not a lot of low budget games offer the best) than you'll be facing some high development costs for graphics alone.

But that said, I'm amazed with what some lower budget games like Metro:Last Light or Shadow Warrior pulled off. Also, I'm pretty sure Project Cars has a lower budget than Gran Turismo 6.

Modders are able to upgrade graphics of games by leaps and bounds in their spare time. Hiring a couple more devs to help with graphics would only increase the budget by $150-200k.

You aren't saying that modders don't put a lot of time into graphic mods I hope ?


Redoing all the textures of a game takes a lot of work. Sometimes years.

How long has Icelaglace been working on his ICenhancer mod for GTA IV, he's still working on it ? And that was built on the ENB mod which has been around and updated for how long now ?

A lot of modders build upon the work that's already there, something the developers can't always do: they need a new engine, new textures, new effects, new everything. And yes, that total package requires a lot of time, and a lot of work. I'm talking about most cases though, as some developers and games just re-use assets.