Until hyper-realistic techniques like ray-tracing become fully usable in real-time (almost certainly not going to happen in home consoles any time soon), why not use this coming generation to really consolidate what we have? Make excellence the norm and get people used to the best, ready for the true generational leap into the truly photo-real in a few more years? Ray-traced water effects like this NVIDIA tech demo are unlikely to be fully realised in next-gen consoles, so why chase them prematurely at the expense of gaming fluidity? There's plenty of time for them later.
But I fear the industry will be too keen to push the boundaries before the hardware can do it properly. With every new console generation, developers are always keen to squeeze every drop of graphical power from the new hardware, which almost always ends with a compromise in frame-rate. As Jones told me:
"It's the thing you end up struggling with the most. On one hand you want the richest, densest visuals and character art you can achieve, but, particularly in a game like DmC, you absolutely must have a character that feels hyper-responsive and that reacts to your input without any lag whatsoever. It's a difficult and precarious balancing act that consumes a lot of time, particularly in the back end of the development cycle as you are optimizing and doing everything you can to squeeze those frames out of the engine."
He added: "I think twitch games, particularly those with a competitive element to them, would likely start to assume 60 as a base, but for open world type games that are trying to make massive, living worlds, I think there is still a place for 30 fps games that can portray realistic population density and environmental detail. Game development will always be a tradeoff of how to marshall limited hardware resources in order to achieve the best result for a particular game."
I'm up for that. Of course there's room for both, but I want to see next-gen games running below 60fps only because they really need to. I think we can all agree that arcades are dead because home gaming caught up. So it's about time things at home actually ran 'at arcade speeds' at last.
What do you think? Should next-gen games all run at 60fps? Or do you not even notice frame-rates? Let us know in the comments.
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