Login | Signup

2K's Hartmann: Photorealism Necessary For New Genres

Matt Gardner
2K, Christoph Hartmann, Photorealism, Utter bollocks

2K's Hartmann: Photorealism Necessary For New Genres

2K's Christoph Hartmann is of the opinion that we can't really progress as an industry until we achieve photorealistic graphics, suggesting that games are unable to recreate that depth and range of emotions that cinema can without photorealistic visuals.

Hmm. Objectivity may be tested here.

"What's the difference between the movies and gaming? Movies you just watch. You get emotional involvement in both, but in gaming you interact. That limits you already in what you can do, as certain emotions can't be recreated. 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's limiting." 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."

Is that we as in 2K, Christoph? Or we as in the games industry as a whole? Because I'm pretty sure that the likes of thatgamecompany, thechineseroom, Square Enix, Jonathan Blow, and Team ICO might have something to say about that.

Hartmann pointed towards a perceived failure in this industry to deal with comedy.

"Comedy is already very hard in video games," he said. "You can't have a game simply built around comedy. It has to be part of an overall vibe. So there is only a certain area that you can use [to create games] and then you look at technology, you can kind of maybe make people look right, but it will be very hard to create very deep emotions like sadness or love, things that drive the movies.

"[..]If someone comes up with a video game where it's all about you falling in love, where you have the emotions and you don't need a lot of interaction from your device, that's great but what happened to those interactive movies from the '90s? They were boring. It was like a movie that gave you three endings."

Ah yes, the 90s. A time that saw Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert at the heights of their comedic powers. If we're talking about moving love stories, how about checking out a few JRPGs from around that time Christoph, eh? As for interactive movies, check out the sales figures for Heavy Rain.

God forbid an animation studio that deals in emotional storytelling should try to make a game. Oh, hi there Ni No Kuni...

Expect a fat rant about this tomorrow. [GI.biz]

Add a comment3 comments
Lemming  Aug. 3, 2012 at 08:26

I call bull...

Some of the most moving games I've played haven't been even close to photo realistic.. to me it's about how much you invest in the characters and feel attached to their story. Final fantasy VII is one of the earliest games I can say really moved me and that was totally down to the outstanding plot, characters and twists.. not the PS1 graphics.. Probably the biggest emotional response I've had to a game would be Mass Effect 3.. Mordin going into that tower brought a tear to my eye! It was the real sense of ownership over the story and the characters that made that such a moving story. Those same reasons that there was such backlash against the ending as it robbed the gamer of those decisions.

LA Noire was one of the best games I've played in terms of character appearance. The motion capture was superb.. sadly the actions of the main character never really felt like they were mine, so while the individual investigations and interrogations were amazing the overall plot line failed to deliver. What gamers want is a story they truly control, characters they can make their own and a plot that doesn't just serve up set pieces but rather tells a winding tale full of twists and turns.. where you make the important decisions! Do all that and it could be on an Atari!

DivideByZero  Aug. 3, 2012 at 10:13

Horses for courses here.

You don't need photo-realistic graphics to make a great title... but if you are trying to make the graphics realistic, then the measure will always be how far away from real you are.

Personally I fully support pushing forward for photo-realistic graphics. That is what is going to keep a huge chunk of our gaming industry alive. Not all of it, but look at almost all the AAA and FPS games... they try to be as near to life as possible.

Even when we have that though, the world will still want titles like Super Meat Boy, Bastion, Journey and Mario.

Vousie  Aug. 18, 2014 at 15:31

Well, the author uses Heavy Rain as an example of a game that didn't need photorealism to give you very emotional gameplay -
Except for that that particular game is hailed as one of the most realistic games on the market...

Of course good gameplay etc is more important; but graphics comes closely after it. It is actually very important for emotional gameplay and games in general.
You're looking at the screen the whole time - it kinda needs to look good.

Email Address:

You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.