Ex-Naughty Dog Dev Explains Why PS4/XB1 Will Never Achieve CGI Visuals, 4K Will Take Two Generations

"Trailers and feature-length movies simply have a much higher budget per second than what the full game can afford," says Filmic Worlds boss John Hable.

Posted By | On 17th, May. 2015

There has been much talk about achieving CG like graphical fidelity in video games. There has always been this pipe dream that in game visuals can look as good as pre-rendered graphics. Regardless of the improvements in hardware, this dream is still a dream. Although in game visuals have improved and have come a long way in the last decade, CG quality visuals is still a challenge for developers.

But this generation is different. The PS4 and Xbox One are quite capable machines. So will we see these consoles getting closer to mimicking high quality CGI seen in movies but in real-time? We raised the same question to Filmic Worlds founder and former Naughty Dog developer, John Hable.

“Honestly, it is hard to say.  I think it will be a very long time.  The current crop of consoles is much better than the previous generation, but the trailers are getting better too,” Hable said to GamingBolt. “If you really want to hit that level of quality then you need staggering triangle counts with really long shaders. Photoreal global illumination is very easy offline but very difficult in realtime.”

So how long will it take before consoles hit such a high level of graphical fidelity?  According to Hable it will take another two console cycles before CG level visuals at 4K could be made possible. “I don’t have a good answer for you, but my guess would be longer than you think.  One more console generation seems too quick.  Maybe in two more generations?  That would be PS6 and the 5th gen Xbox?  And if we need to render in 4k then add another generation which puts us at PS7 and 6th gen Xbox.  It’ll be a while.”

Hable further stated that budgeting is also an issue as movies have millions of dollars that a game developer or publisher could not simply afford. “Of course, they will never fully line up because of the content costs. Trailers and feature-length movies simply have a much higher budget per second than what the full game can afford.  This difference is more than an order of magnitude in some cases.”

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know in the comments section below.


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