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

KungFucius

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
I think trying to make an ambitious game on HW that could barely run BoTW docked and make it run portable is part of what is going on there. It will be interesting to see how much the content density has changed, if at all, from the first one.
 

Guilty_AI

Gold Member
Different devs/teams will usually say differents stuff and naturally the most time consuming stuff vary from game to game. However they all seem to agree that the polishing stage (bug fixing, optimization, UI fixes, etc) tend to take the longest (at least from their own perspective).

My guess based on what they say and my own experiences with programming is that a combination of open worlds (or large, highly detailed levels in general), games with loads of voice acting and lines of dialogue, thousands upon thousands of motion-captured animations, all sorts of scripted events, dozens of game mechanics that might not synergize well with each other and finally a degree of bad project management and poor team-to-team communication create this massive blob of a software thats very very difficult to get working as intended.

So i guess the issue is not so much the graphics themselves, but everything else you have to add and make work alongside them to make sure the level of "immersion" is adequate to the graphical fidelity.
 
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Jeeves

Member
I've been saying for years that it's not. Look around you at how many studios are folding or consolidating, look at how rarely new or risky ideas appear in the AAA space compared to 10, 15, 20 years ago. Look at how more and more, companies are relying on known quantities such as sequels, remakes, samey gameplay or copycats of whatever the newest Twitch trend is. Look at the predatory monetization practices that have come into play because some feel that just making a good game and selling it is not good enough anymore. Look at how selling 1 million copies -- once seen as a booming success -- is now seen as a mediocre result for a AAA budget. Look at how games that can't even fit on physical media anymore is becoming the norm. Look at how conversations among enthusiasts have become generally less about games themselves which don't as often capture the imagination as they used to, and instead we talk about tech and graphics and endlessly compare games to one another by placing them under a microscope because that's the only way to see a difference between last gen and this one, despite the cost of production continuing to balloon.

But hey, at least there's reflective surfaces and fewer jaggies now. It was all worth it, and we demand MORE, damn you!
 
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ArtHands

Thinks buying more servers can fix a bad patch
If its unsustainable, then release it on PC too. If not, then too bad if they can't recoup financially.
 

triphero

Banned
I mean, its not like we are getting quantum leaps. Resolution isn't going above 4k. We have RT and SSD now.

It'll all get a bit shinier. If anything devs abandoning custom engines should make it all easier and simpler.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
To some extent, the gains in graphical fidelity and scope are not even manifesting in terms of game budgets. The availability of really powerful engines and tools as well as premade asset libraries make it easier than ever to make a large scale, cutting edge game without a massive staff and years of dev time.
 

Larogue

Member
I believe indie games that you see on steam using pixel graphics will go mainstream.

I won't be surprised to see brand new Final fantasy or Pokemon game using 16bit graphics in few years.

As Audience for those type of games are growing like no tomorrow, and it's way cheaper and faster method to produce games.

Gameplay and/or story >> graphics (Vampire Survivors is a good example)
 

SlimySnake

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
This.

And its not just zelda. Horizon FW took 5 years and is basically the same formula and same graphical fidelity as the first. It looks better but its not a big next gen gen leap that wouldve taken 5 years to accomplish. We saw the same thing with GT7 which again looks virtually identical. Not even Uncharted 1 to Uncharted 2 or AC1 to AC2 level of graphical leaps within generations. Halo Infinite might actually look worse than Halo 5 though considering the fact that is open world might have something to do with it but again, graphics fidelity wasnt the reason why that game took 6 year to make.

If anything, UE5 and even UE4 have made creating assets and increasing graphical fidelity easier than ever. We saw 80 devs create the Matrix city demo in 8 months. A massive open world living and breathing city in 8 months. I posted a UE5 video of a handful of artists creating over 40 distinct environments in just 90 days. 3 days per environment. Megascans have been available in UE4 since 2016 or so. All devs had to do was use them, but they chose to stick with their last gen engines, last gen tech and ended up costing themselves years.

The question needs to be asked just why are these games taking so long. What are devs doing different from 10 years ago? Why does every single player game need to be 30 hours long? Thats what RPGs should be. Creating assets and improving graphics fidelity are just a small part of why these games are taking so long to make. Zelda is the perfect example. They are literally reusing the map from the first game and its still taking them six years? What?
 
I think it's sustainable for the most part , as long as the studios manage to streamline their tech so it's more reusable between projects. Like, if you make the perfect enemy AI, in theory it should be reusable for years to come, same with let's say awesome water physics. At the end of the day one of the main problem is that needs keep changing between projects and devs tend to prefer starting from scratch than having OT work on someone ease's old code... Basically studios need to make sure their tech can be reused between projects more , versus having to reinvent the wheel and do , for example , yet another "dynamic beard growth" systems for the next game or whatever the game needs in terms of systems.
 

Represent.

Member
Yes. Hire more talent, develop and use better more efficient game engines. Stop making every game 30 hours. Scale your shit down. Quality > quantity.

As for gamers: stop fucking complaining about shorter games. These half decade development times are because of you
 
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RCU005

Member
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

I agree. 4K was a mistake. Gaming should still be in 1440p. I know Sony wanted to sell TVs but it complicated the development side of of things.
 

Filben

Member
No, as you see when a studio releasing a full price GT7 still rely on MTX and some strange tactics and a 10 EUR upgrade for graphics options.

That's why often gameplay mechanics are gimped and/or copy and pasted. I don't know how many times I had to free some random NPC and carry him to safety in AC Odyssey. Add shady gameplay design choices into the mix for an incentive to buy in-game materials and that's the kind of gameplay you get.

Because shareholders see how much potential is there to turn into cash, games need to attract the broadest audience possible which further """streamlines""" mechanics, push ultra-realistic and ultra expensive graphics, and have manipulative tactics to bind you to the product over a huge time span and/or the product's life span so you keep spending money.

I mean, just think of how many work hours sink into games even post-launch. Games aren't finished when they release in the AAA sector, often at least. They simply can't do it, can't manage to release this kind of games in five years, give you one or two patches over three months and move on and leave you with a finished product ("""dead""" product, mind you, according to some people when there's patch coming anymore).

These are all red flags that this not sustainable when you see how games were one or two decades ago. Buying a product is simply not enough anymore to cover cost (or generate desired revenue).
 

Ozzie666

Member
I really believe Microsoft, Sony and PC all using x86 had saved the triple A space to some degree. If Nintendo hadn't had such success with the Switch and Arm, they'd be best to switch to x86 too. Having so many revenue steams available with minimal porting, has to be worth something. But the AAA space is coming close to imploding, the consolidation is already happening. Games are taking way too long to be released, and with tons of issues. Games are bigger than Hollywood movie productions, it's getting way out of hand. The big players will continue to use the Disney release schedule and play for the big release.

Now if upscaling works flawlessly, maybe they can sustain the current models. Art direction > realism, just ask Nintendo. IF you believe Ubi-soft, they need DLC, Gaas, Microtransactions, higher priced games - all of it just to make a profit. Only a few will survive.
 

kikkis

Member
I really believe Microsoft, Sony and PC all using x86 had saved the triple A space to some degree. If Nintendo hadn't had such success with the Switch and Arm, they'd be best to switch to x86 too. Having so many revenue steams available with minimal porting, has to be worth something. But the AAA space is coming close to imploding, the consolidation is already happening. Games are taking way too long to be released, and with tons of issues. Games are bigger than Hollywood movie productions, it's getting way out of hand. The big players will continue to use the Disney release schedule and play for the big release.

Now if upscaling works flawlessly, maybe they can sustain the current models. Art direction > realism, just ask Nintendo. IF you believe Ubi-soft, they need DLC, Gaas, Microtransactions, higher priced games - all of it just to make a profit. Only a few will survive.
I don't think arm or x86 is that big of a deal, I imagine most of it is just letting llvm compiler do its thing.
 

Sosokrates

Member
The reason why its happening is because games are so much bigger these days.

Look at a franchise like Red dead redemption. Each entry has gotten bigger and more detail in every way.

Unfortunately it will get worse before it gets better because games today still lack a lot of abilities and details compared to real life.

For example in RDR2 you build a house, but you can only do it once and its a scripted QTE affair.
The next progression to that eventually would be able to chop down wood and build houses wherever you like.

Or the fact the NPCs still behave like ants, they have a very limited responses and interactions.

Improving these things is going at add extra work on what they already have to do.

However there could be a way around this. I wish a dev would have the guts to not make an open world so big and instead make it the size of GTA3 and focus on progressing the realism like on the ways I mention above.

I do hope devs this gen try and stray away from the formulas of most modern games.
 

FunkMiller

Gold Member
Bloat is definitely the issue.

Games these days are not focused experiences, by and large. They are designed to be these massive worlds, with long campaigns and multiple side elements.

The cynic in me says this is largely because it's easier to monetise this type of game.
 

The_Mike

Gold Member
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.
People have for years in here favored 4k over fps.

Before consoles supporting fps above 60, or where the majority of games are 30 fps, you could easily read people in here loving the "cinematic experience", which is an excuse to games not being better optimized.

Now the same people love 4k 30 fps, because they get better graphic and the performance is as bad as they are used to.

Thank god there's people waking up and seeing the light for better framerate, but the average Joe can't for some reason see or feel the additional input lag of 30 fps.

Graphic sells. Gameplay doesn't. Look at the big games.
 

NahaNago

Member
The problem is folks aren't as willing to spend the 60 and now 70 for a 12-20 hour games anymore. You have free to play games where you can spend hundreds of hours without spending a thing so why would someone spend that kind of money on a game for 20 hour game so studios had to increase game length and size to at least 30 hours and above.

Sony should be following Microsoft's lead and developing more AA and smaller games.
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Most games from a decade or so ago with a bit of upscaling and high settings on PC look just as good as any Modern AAA title, even the Sony ones. Black Ops was a game made in a year, from 2010- and it still looks current gen over a decade later.




yeah, the game does show its age visually in a couple of parts but otherwise it looks jaw dropping. If Treyarch can make visuals like this being crunched to hell and back by bobby kodick on hardware that's far less powerful than what we have now, AAA devs really have no excuse. All of the detail they put into games like Horizon Forbidden West are not needed when at the end of the day games like this took a fraction of the dev time and a fraction of the resources to make something that's not too far off visually.
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
I don't think it's sustainable, basically
people are going to get fucking tired of having to wait years and years just for their next title to come out (and not be much of an evolution from the previous game, gameplay wise)
Downgrade the graphics a bit, if this was what games looked like back in 2010 i'm sure people will be fine if the next game looks exactly the same or even worse than the previous one.
 

Sosokrates

Member
Yes. AAA gaming makes billions.
And tech like UE5 is enaberling advances in tech.

AAA games that fail, fail because they are not good enough, the tech and resources are there. Its a people problem.
 

Crayon

Member
We are quick on the way to matrix demo graphics, and that is widely considered to look like a big step up from what we have now. Then have a look at the graphics out your window and know that we won't stop until we match that.

What is changing is that it seems we are going to start relying on new tools rather than better harware to make the improvements. Games taking 4,5,6 years is getting stupid, but we see what a difference the time and budget makes in the graphics. Tools like metahuman can speed up at least some parts and aaa developers will reinvest that freed time right back into the graphics again.
 
I don't think it's sustainable, basically
people are going to get fucking tired of having to wait years and years just for their next title to come out (and not be much of an evolution from the previous game, gameplay wise)
Downgrade the graphics a bit, if this was what games looked like back in 2010 i'm sure people will be fine if the next game looks exactly the same or even worse than the previous one.
I'm not so sure about that, mate. If the graphics junkie around here are anything to go by they'd throw a fit over treading back to "terrible" and "ugly" 7th gen graphics. They crave the gra-fix.
 
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nemiroff

Gold Member
Is the industry making money..? And why is it a problem that games takes time when there's an abundance of games out there. Impatience for an exact game's development, what kind of real world issue is this? I've been waiting for GTA6 like many, but what kind of impact does it do to me outside the normal anticipation? Not much.. Can't se how it could, would, should bother me.
 

teraflops

Neo Member
I'd guess AI will start making game dev faster in the near future. Not just upscaling but things like level/character/map design. Hell at some point possibly building entire games with a set of narrative and design parameters. Or even without human input at some point.

This of course assumes that technology continues to progress the way it has over the last century. Pending things like the collapse of the dollar for example or really any widespread global catastrophe.
 
I guess? Making games is easier than ever with all the tools at the devs disposal.

Hell, if I'm worried about something it's the lack of actual talent when it comes to coding the games.
 

AlphaDump

Member
Something has to give, and maybe tools are working to bridge that gap to expedite asset creation.

But no, huge titles that take years to develop and eat enormous costs and basically will make the company sink or swim is extremely unsustainable.
 

fart town usa

Gold Member
This is why I don't mind developers reusing assets throughout a generation.

Game development is expensive. Creators need libraries of content they can go back to and use multiple times if necessary.

It's like movies and sound libraries. You don't need to create something brand new each time you work on a new project. Saves time and money to utilize something that's already there.
 

Kataploom

Member
There's a resurgence of AA gaming development for a reason even from big publishers, which is, BTW, what AAA was in 7th gen... And I'm liking those games more, in part because they're not unnecessarily bloated and overwhelmingly big
 
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Doesn't matter at all if AAA gaming is sustainable. Probably preferable that is isn't. If AAA gaming outright collapses, we'll come out the other side with more games that focus on things like uhhh I don't know... what do you call it... gameplay?
 
The industries biggest, most successful games all started out as A or AA projects.

AAA games with high graphics fidelity are always unambitious from a gameplay as well as reach standpoint.
 

Fbh

Member
I think it is, but it will continue leading AAA gaming in a overly safe and unambitious direction filled with sequels, rehashed ideas and bloat for the sake of "value" as most publishers can't afford their $250 million, 7 years in development game to underperform
 
I think it is, but it will continue leading AAA gaming in a overly safe and unambitious direction filled with sequels, rehashed ideas and bloat for the sake of "value" as most publishers can't afford their $250 million, 7 years in development game to underperform
Also mictro transactions such as DLC costumes.
 

ChorizoPicozo

Gold Member
As David Jaffe has pointed out several times:

Artificial Intelligence.

But also procedural generation and shit like that.
 
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