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Will Next-Gen Games look much Better than Current Generation Games?

Playeressence’s Furious Francis discusses his general confusion of next generation graphics and his reasons for being so.

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The current controversy in the ‘next-generation’ graphics talk, centers around the Wii U, and how it got cracked open by some NeoGAF members. Digital Foundry, went on to do their own analysis, saying the system can not be considered ‘next gen’, failing to understand that ‘next gen’ has nothing to do with specs, but time when released. However, that’s another argument for another day. Although 30% of the chipwork was incomplete, many wrote off the Wii U for good this day in the graphics department. Which is fine by me. The Wii U looks a hell of a lot better than the Wii, and will get good games in due time.

When I’m confused by technology I usually turn to my main man on N4G, ABizzel1. He does a good job of breaking things down easily. I fully understand what the Wii U is capable of now. Like expected, it will be less powerful than the PS4 & Xbox 720 on paper. But this leads to other questions about how good will the next generation look. Here are a few issues that are leading to my confusion.

Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli 

Crysis 3 arrow banner

The CEO of one of the biggest graphics/tech engines companies claims that next generation games won’t look that much better than Crysis 3 on the PS3 and Xbox 360. I saw a lot of people writing off his opinion online, but you have to believe this guy has a PS4 & Xbox 720 dev kit and is making games for these systems. Why would he say that if there wasn’t at least a shred of truth behind it? He also claims that Crysis 3 uses 100% of the PS3 and Xbox 360’s power. Not many games on the PS3 and 360 are as graphically enhanced as Crysis 3, Uncharted, and Gears of War. Statements like this make me think how many developers will actually harness all of the power of the PS4 and Xbox 720, when they didn’t do it on the PS3 and Xbox 360?

The Witcher 3 – First in-game Screen Shots

the witcher 3 header 020513

When I first saw the Witcher 3’s screen shots. I thought I was looking at a PS3 or 360 version of the game. It was later brought to my attention that these are early in-game engine shots, and the developers will make the game look much better for next gen consoles. How much better is the key though. If this game is maxed out on the PC, it’s going to blow the PS4 and Xbox 720 out of the water…. right? PC’s are always stronger than consoles, so where does that leave the Xbox 720 and PS4 version? A little better than these shots? Kinda better?

Watch Dogs & Star Wars 1313

Star Wars 1313

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article on how awesome Xenoblade 2 looks. I talked about graphics, next generation of games, ect. But the most interesting feedback I got was from the PC crowd. In the article I said, “The Xbox 720 and PS4 are bound to bring some nice looking games. Rumored next generation games like Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 look fantastic.” The PC guys tore me a new one after that quote. They told me I was “drinking the rumor or PS4/720 kool-aid,” and let me know PS4/Xbox 720 games will not look as good as what we saw in the trailers. So we can’t expect next generation games to look as good as the Star Wars 1313 trailer?

I Might need a eye exam

ps eye

I got 20/20 version, and I can see the difference between a game like Dragon’s Dogma versus a high-end PC game like The Witcher 2. However, things start to get indistinguishable with some PS3 exclusives like Uncharted 3 or Killzone 3.

Battlefield 3 looks spectacular on PCs, but can we expect the Xbox 720 and PS4 to replicate the graphical performance of Battlefield 3 on Ultra settings? I don’t know, that’s why I’m turning to the community to get the gamer’s opinions.

What do you guys think about the whole graphics debate? How many developers will use all of the power of the PS4/Xbox 720? Will Japanese developers support these systems considering the cost of development? And which next generation system are you most excited for? Let us know, put your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • RicardJulianti

    They may "smoke" the Wii U in raw computing power, but the result won't be nearly as great as you think it will be. The law of diminishing returns is already taking effect.

    PS4/Xbone = 1080p, 30fps with lots of superfluous effects such as a crapload of particles, very high resolution shadows, farther draw distances, dynamic smoke, lots of tessellation and so on

    Wii U = 720p 60fps or 1080p 30fps depending on the game, toned down superfluous effects…but they will still be present.

    The difference will be akin to a PC game running on max settings vs medium-high settings. That's it. Also, the human eye has a hard time telling the difference between 1080p and 720p. If you have a 40" TV and perfect eyesight, you have to sit at most 7.5 feet away to even begin to notice the difference, 5 feet or closer to get the full benefit. Any smaller and you're getting into rare territory….few people sit closer than ~6 feet…especially to a TV of that size, even fewer still have perfect eyesight.

    As far as other research goes, the PS4 and Xbone GPU's are fairly known quantities, while the Wii U GPU is almost entirely custom. This is a die shot of Latte, the GPU in the Wii U….everything without a specific label is unknown, only developers under very strict legally binding NDA's might know what the rest is: http://www.joesiv.net/fourthstorm/WiiU-GPU_enhanc… So we clearly have no idea what the Wii U is capable of.

    The CPU in the Wii U actually outperforms the CPU in the Xbone/PS4 core for core. The latter just have more cores, which leads to better parallel programming, but such things can hurt game performance if they aren't coded correctly. All in all though, third party developers won't be doing anything inherently impossible on the Wii U without the necessary cutbacks. First party might be able to, but not for a few years, and that's only because they are less likely to use middleware engines that are unoptimized for the system.

    Many developers aren't gong to spend the dough developing engines from the ground up for next-gen either as it takes several years, millions of dollars, and the crappy world economy is finally catching up with the gaming industry. Instead, they are going to take engines they already have, and simply throw in more effects, higher resolutions and so on.

    Finally, we keep a respectful community here, please try to do the same in the future.

  • Furious Francis

    I did, I saw the COD reveal. And it's not better than what we got. Nor have we seen what the Wii U can do either.

  • A Logical Thinker

    Everyone seems to say that the Wii U is going to look terrible compared to PS4 and the next Xbox which should "undoubtedly" blow it away. But I don't think this is the case; after all, Nintendo called it the Wii "U" so that it will compete with the PS4 and next Xbox. People also have to understand that the systems will cost too much money if they are to look much more amazing than the Wii U. They're just mad about the Wii and assume that the next Xbox and PS4 have to be better so that they can justify their claims that Nintendo is "for kids" and justify their hate for a clearly great company. In short, I believe that people are going to be sorely disappointed when the new systems start to show things off, but they probably will still act like their isn't a problem.

    • Furious Francis

      I agree, Im not expecting a huge leap in graphics. If the Star 1313 trailer is beyond next generation graphics, then the leap will not be that big.