A game like Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception looks totally amazing. And yet, we need to go further if we want to keep making strides.
Or so 2K Games believes. Company boss Christoph Hartmann told GamesIndustry.biz that if we want to reach new levels of emotion (like sadness and love), we have to strive for true photorealism. Said Hartmann:
"Recreating a Mission Impossible experience in gaming is easy; recreating emotions in Brokeback Mountain is going to be tough, or at least very sensitive in this country… it will be very hard to create very deep emotions like sadness or love, things that drive the movies. Until games are photorealistic, it'll be very hard to open up to new genres. We can really only focus on action and shooter titles; those are suitable for consoles now.
To dramatically change the industry to where we can insert a whole range of emotions, I feel it will only happen when we reach the point that games are photorealistic; then we will have reached an endpoint and that might be the final console."
Some believe we can explore strong emotions without the need for super realistic graphics but on the other hand, he has a point. No matter how nostalgic we get about our favorite oldies, there's only so much emotion that can be imparted in a dialogue bubble above a tiny sprite's head. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. That being said, we still need great writing and acting to successfully implement the necessary emotions, so it's not all about the visual.