“Photorealistic” might be the word we tend to use when we say that we’re trying to achieve lifelike graphics in game, but “movie-realistic” might be a better way of thinking about them. In a recent interview with official PlayStation Magazine UK (via Video Games Chronicle), Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri had some broad praise for the upcoming Xbox Series X and PS5, which he said would be able to produce movie qua
“It has been a lifelong dream of mine that real-time computer graphics, and in particular games, can be as believable and realistic as a movie,” he said.
“Next-gen graphics and processing power will not only make games more immersive, but will also enable entirely new gameplay concepts that can take advantage of fully dynamic environments and lighting, much-improved physics, smarter AI, and richer multiplayer experiences.”
Movie quality, in this instance, is not some vague descriptor of the idea that games will look “real nice” on new machines. It’s a whole lot more specific, particularly when we have an Epic Games executive talking about it. Movies use Epic Games’ Unreal Engine for a variety of purposes, and its role in film is expanding quickly. The Mandalorian was a huge punctuation mark in this story, using Unreal to create real-time sets.Most Popular In: Games
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So when Epic Games says that Xbox Series X and PS5 will be able to produce movie quality visuals, what it means is that they’ll be able to use the same high quality assets used in film production, so your game sets could be built out of the same blocks and rocks used to create The Mandalorian.
We saw some of this in Epic Games’ recent PS5 demo “Lumen in the land of the Nanite”, which served as sort of a coming-out moment for what next-gen visuals might someday look like. And while a tech demo is necessarily not gameplay from a finished game, in the past we’ve seen actual games catch up to Epic’s tech demos over the course of a generation.
We’ve seen only glimpses of this so far. Maybe the most impressive in terms of raw visuals has been Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart, which showed off movie quality visuals in a pretty straightforward sense—as Digital Foundry noted at the time, the game footage we saw was likely close to the same fidelity we saw in the Ratchet and Clank movie. I’m still waiting for my extended gameplay demo of a AAA next-gen exclusive, however, and it’s probably going to be a bit before games start punching up quite this high.