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Is the continued growth of scope and graphical fidelity in AAA gaming sustainable?

Madflavor

Member
I'm not looking to get on a soapbox and preach about this, and plus I'm too stupid to attempt to sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I'd like to spark some discussion on this. I'm just a 34 year old guy who's been playing video games all his life, and I simply miss the days of waiting only a couple of years for the next game entry from my favorite studios. I remember a great Final Fantasy game coming out once a year in the 90s. I remember Bioware in the early to late 2000s releasing a new banger of a title every couple of years. Nowadays AAA titles get announced in pre-production and don't see the light of day until half a decade later. AAA Games are just taking progressively longer and more expensive to make. It's kind of a bummer to me.
 
No. Not to mention developers are getting worse at their job. The more powerful consoles get, the less they refine code and the more bugs there are. Let's not forget, they push 4K over anything else leaving their massive graphical budgets in ruins and we simply end up with higher resolution games that don't push the envelope like they technically could at a lower resolution. Some studios are obviously better than others. But a lot of the AAA franchises of old are not standing up to the test of time.
 
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kikkis

Member
I dont think high def graphics cost that much more than they did on 360 era. It's mostly that players demand better games or they just stick to the games they already like.
 
Depends on the status of the company. That's why companies are pushing subscription services and GaaS in order to help fund them.
 

01011001

Gold Member
I honestly think that's often just really bad management and the fact that publishers push developers to shove in shit, and change stuff to reach a broader audience and to implement microtransactions, which also need to be "designed around" to work and sell.

if the team is focused and knows exactly what it wants to do, this should not happen, and development would be faster and smoother.
 

kingfey

Banned
If you have daddy money, you can sustain yourself for too long. If not, then it's not sustainable.
Production + workers salaries need tons of money. You have to have an insane amount of sales to cover those cost, and future products.
 
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01011001

Gold Member
Perhaps. But Breath of the Wild 2 looks like it will have a 6 year development and it's anywhere close to the forefront of graphic fidelity. There must be something else going on

Nintendo games that take a lot of time often do so because of the game design. not because of the fidelity of the presentation.
also, they are known to sit on almost finished games and wait for the perfect moment to release.

they sometimes send out review copied literally months before the game releases. and those review copies are often almost identical to the launch version
 
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StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
As long as games hit 60 fps, I can live with gimped scope and fidelity.

Fast smooth gameplay first. All that RT and hair effect shit is low on my priority list. Really low to non-existent.

That's not to say RT is bad. It looks good when done well, but I'm not sacrificing that for console gaming at "up to 30 fps quality mode". And going by the looks of RT, the shadows and puddles are exaggerated to hell to make it obvious and fake looking.

No rainy day has puddles and window reflections like everything is a mirror.
 
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kingfey

Banned
Yeah, they're waiting to drop it with Switch 2.
Switch 2 makes no sense with the shortages we have now.

Its suicidal business decision, if they release switch 2 early.

2025 would be my guess for switch 2, since chip shortages won't be an issue by that time.
 

01011001

Gold Member
and puddles are exaggerated to hell to make it obvious and fake looking.

No rainy day has puddles and window reflections like everything is a mirror.

people say that but it's absolutely not true. you simply don't take note of how the street looks in a rainy day because it's normal for you, you are used to it, your brain doesn't even recognize it as something to take not of. many games that have RT reflections on puddles etc. actually would be more reflective in real life, because there's often a roughness cutoff to save performance and so not the whole street reflects everything it should reflect.

here's a real picture of a wet street.


now tell me how video games exaggerate this? this street is a fucking mirror... like... I have never seen a game with RT reflections have a street be this reflective.
 
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PSYGN

Member
Yes, but our tools and asset qualities are having to catch up (and they have in some ways). We'll continue to see more and more procedural tools and libraries for designers and developers to pull from to save time. I think as time goes on we'll see more companies using engines like UE5, whether or not you like that it makes business sense as you'll be able to hire people that already know how to work with it.
 
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StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
people say that but it's absolutely not true. you simply don't take note of how the street looks in a rainy day because it's normal for you, you are used to it, your brain doesn't even recognize it as something to take not of. many games that have RT reflections on puddles etc. actually would be more reflective in real life, because there's often a roughness cutoff to save performance and so not the whole street reflects everything it should reflect.

here's a real picture of a wet street.


now tell me how video games exaggerate this? this street is a fucking mirror... like... I have never seen a game with RT reflections have a street be this reflective.
Not just water. Floors and walls too as if everything is made from reflective glass or metal.

 
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GeekyDad

Gold Member
I'm not sure the interest is sustainable. Or at least in the sense of one umbrella considered "video games."

Video games began and were for decades a pastime for the child inside, both young and old. It's quickly become more akin to the movie industry in terms of who it's aimed at and how it's created. Nothing "wrong" with that, I suppose, but it sure seems like a different beast to me.
 

YukiOnna

Member
No, I don't think so. The development time and cost has been ever increasing and I feel we'll see fewer and fewer titles from each studio if they continue in this trajectory in the AAA space. It also results in more manpower which doesn't necessarily result in something of quality as we consistently see.
 

Nico_D

Member
I wish content evolved at the speed. But it seems graphics are getting more complex, content more simple and repetitive. But that goes only to AAA which is why I'm playing them less and less.
 

pure_savagery

Neo Member
I honestly think that's often just really bad management and the fact that publishers push developers to shove in shit, and change stuff to reach a broader audience and to implement microtransactions, which also need to be "designed around" to work and sell.

if the team is focused and knows exactly what it wants to do, this should not happen, and development would be faster and smoother.
Yeah I think this is it too mostly

The two biggest abject failures recently Cyberpunk 2077 and Battlefield 2042 should’ve been slam dunks but both were grossly mismanaged
 

Black_Stride

do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
As long as the games keep making bank then AAA costs will keep climbing, as gamers expect more and more from their games.
We could reach a situation not dissimilar to Hollywood where very few companies run the show and actually make "blockbusters" because they are the only ones that can actually afford to.....said blockbusters still end up bringing in billions of dollars so the companies keep making them.....how many of those Transformers movies were there?

We will always have the smaller studios and its one of the reason im really digging UE5 and Unity HDRP being a thing, with enough talent and gumption making "AAA looking" games isnt too far out of budget, but obviously at a much smaller scope.....so we still get those 5 - 10 hour games which would effectively be like the John Wicks of videogames small budgets but still badass.

Then the big guys can give us Avatar and the MCU or whatever
people say that but it's absolutely not true. you simply don't take note of how the street looks in a rainy day because it's normal for you, you are used to it, your brain doesn't even recognize it as something to take not of. many games that have RT reflections on puddles etc. actually would be more reflective in real life, because there's often a roughness cutoff to save performance and so not the whole street reflects everything it should reflect.

here's a real picture of a wet street.



now tell me how video games exaggerate this? this street is a fucking mirror... like... I have never seen a game with RT reflections have a street be this reflective.

and again


now imagine if the windows weren't there and they had bright lights on the ceiling... it's already pretty reflective like this tho

edit: and of course floors like these exist for fancy buildings and restrooms


 

DukeNukem00

Banned
As long as games hit 60 fps, I can live with gimped scope and fidelity.

Fast smooth gameplay first. All that RT and hair effect shit is low on my priority list. Really low to non-existent.

Console players thinking 60 is good framerate annoys me more and more. If only people knew how utter and complete shit 60 actually is compared to actual high framerate, they'd never make this sound as some goal that needs to be achieved and then nothing more
 

93xfan

Member
Console players thinking 60 is good framerate annoys me more and more. If only people knew how utter and complete shit 60 actually is compared to actual high framerate, they'd never make this sound as some goal that needs to be achieved and then nothing more
Right there with you. All those 60fps kids are forgetting how good and cinematic 30fps can be
 
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GigaBowser

The bear of bad news
Switch 2 makes no sense with the shortages we have now.

Its suicidal business decision, if they release switch 2 early.

2025 would be my guess for switch 2, since chip shortages won't be an issue by that time.
That's when we'll probably see BOTW2 as well.

Same happened with BOTW1.
 

Wildebeest

Member
Control Devs specialise in making games look good without spending a huge amount on art assets and level design. And some people absolutely loathe their games for that. But it seems if you want to make a mega game like GTA you should be planning to have the legs of GTA online.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
Of course it is. The problem and costs mostly goes on crippling the project to fit weaker systems. But I think, according to what we see, getting max graphics isn't the problem as we've seen the work of single enthusiasts on youtube and how AI can create massive terrains fast. With how AI is developing things should get easier and easier in the future from a graphical standpoint. If you are into photography see Luminar Neo, and if you're a videographer/filmmaker look at the sorcery of DaVinci Resolve 18. See the filters on Snapchat, Instagram, and lots of things.

AI gonna cut most of the work, lowering costs, but also cutting foods from the table for jobs that won't be needed anymore in the industry. So it's great for customers, bad for devs.
 

Edder1

Member
I don't think it's as straightforward as people think when we have pretty substandard looking games like Gotham Knights taking 9 years to develop and on the other hand we have Insomniac pushing visual bar with very short development cycles (by today's standards). People are also forgetting that we have only recently come out of Covid and that had huge impact on game development and delay.
 
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cireza

Member
I don't think so. The best thing that could happen is actually to reach a peak, over which it is nearly impossible to go any further. If this happens, all companies will have to resort on something else than nice graphics to compete et get player interest. This could benefit the players a lot. It could bring back creativity in ambitious projects.
 

ZywyPL

Banned
It absolutely is, it's just a matter of the end-consumer pricing, if the games won't be sustainable at 70€ they'll be at 80, or 90, or 100 etc., and each time people will go "it's just 10 bucks".
 
people say that but it's absolutely not true. you simply don't take note of how the street looks in a rainy day because it's normal for you, you are used to it, your brain doesn't even recognize it as something to take not of. many games that have RT reflections on puddles etc. actually would be more reflective in real life, because there's often a roughness cutoff to save performance and so not the whole street reflects everything it should reflect.

here's a real picture of a wet street.


now tell me how video games exaggerate this? this street is a fucking mirror... like... I have never seen a game with RT reflections have a street be this reflective.
That definitely looks neat and technically impressive.

Out of curiosity, can I ask how this exactly improves your gaming experience aside from being "a bit more pretty" though? - Are you really looking for a video game? - or an 1:1 representative simulation of reality? You'll likely stay impressed for a couple of months till the wow-factor wears off anyway.

What then?
 
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winjer

Member
Graphical fidelity will continue to improve.
But there are two major obstacles that are slowing down this progress.
The first is the law of diminishing returns. The second is the slowing down of newer process nodes.
 
Not just water. Floors and walls too as if everything is made from reflective glass or metal.
At glancing angles all dielectric materials develop mirror-like reflections. It's called the Fresnel effect. Most even surfaces will be affected by this to a much greater degree than most people realize, especially under the influence of artificial lighting.

Real-time RT solutions are still really bad at doing this properly, though, and some showpiece projects in particular go way overboard with it. The RT port of Quake 2 is a good example of this, every surface in that game looks wet.
 

ScHlAuChi

Member
Yes, as long as the tools get better too.
The better the tools the higher the productivity.
That´s why so many studios switch to Unreal, Unity etc.
Not because the engines are so much better than their inhouse stuff - but simply due to way superior tools!
 
It's sustainable for some select studios and IPs.

The top tier studios just keep raising the bar be it with the amount of content or the density of the in game worlds.

Elden Ring was multiple times more vast than I expected, I still can't process it's size, it hardly makes sense to me that From Software of all studios managed to pull it off.
 
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MoreJRPG

Suffers from extreme PDS
There’s a reason that PlayStation, the cream of the crop when it comes to game design and graphical fidelity are make a huge push into GaaS and acquired Bungie. To a lesser extent Ubisoft is already on that path and Rockstars cash cow is GTA online.

Costs are rising each year and development on blockbuster titles is becoming unsustainable on its own. So the short answer is yes.
 
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Punished Miku

Gold Member
Your grand kids will love GTA VII. Of course it's sustainable. They just have to make sure that your kids can inherit your pre-orders and everything will be fine.
 
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