Better Graphics Is Not Enough

August 7, 2007

Video games need a ‘realism boost’, according to Glenn Entis, chief technical officer at Electronic Arts.

BBC – Video games need ‘realism boost’ (Digg it)

Glenn reckons that games need to be made more realistic, and it’s not just about great graphics:

“When a character’s visual appearance creates the expectation of life and it falls short your brain is going to reject that,” he said. Improvements in graphics would not boost believability, he said. “Just adding polygons makes it worse.”

Although the article reads more or less like a rehash of a press release, I heartily agree with the sentiment that better graphics != better games. It’s also interesting to note that humans are finely tuned to spot unrealistic behaviour and reactions, and that improving the way virtual environments look often makes the inconsistent stuff even more incongruous. The net effect is that the illusion of reality is destroyed, and the game is ultimately less immersive, less memorable, and less fun.

Unfortunately, the article ends on a sour note: apparently, the upshot of this is that everyone wants more Sims clones, like EA’s new Virtual Me project… No thanks: as well as realism, what tomorrow’s games desperately need is innovation.

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