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Sakaguchi: HD Visuals "Communicate Too Much" To The Player

In a world where flash tends to override substance, the "Father of Final Fantasy" certainly makes a good point.

Hironobu Sakaguchi recently spoke to Iwata Asks and addressed the current state of video games on both a technological and artistic level. Sakaguchi was with the Final Fantasy franchise up through FFX, and then created his own studio, Mistwalker, which gave traditional RPG fans two great titles: Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon (both only on Xbox 360). The team's most recent game, The Last Story, is for the Wii.

But even though he hasn't given the Sony RPG fans any love, Sakaguchi still has a lot to say concerning this emphasis on high-definition graphics.

"Now that high-quality graphics rule supreme, you can reproduce what you want to communicate visually, but at the same time, I don’t know how to put this, but there’s an element that’s slightly excessive about it all… You end up communicating too much to the player."

If you don't understand what that means, he's talking about "telling" rather than "showing." When relating a story, you're not supposed to spell out everything that happens; such a tactic only results in a turgid, boring, uninteresting droning of facts. You have to know the essentials, of course, but the reader (or in the case of video games, the participator), should be seeing much of the "action" in his or her mind's eye.

But Sakaguchi is convinced that photo-realistic images simply "tell" too much and in truth, games don't need them at all.

"To be honest, I think that the HD images which have become mainstream in the TV industry are, for me personally, still rather over the top for the world of video games. There’s a tendency for developers to allow all their energy to be diverted into maintaining the high quality of the graphics."

Well, that's probably true, but I certainly believe high-quality visuals can be used correctly to tell a compelling story. Look at Heavy Rain, for instance. Not every game with fantastic graphics sacrifices artistic elements like dialogue and storytelling; just consider Uncharted. But we do understand his a point.

Now, how's about Lost Odyssey 2?

Tags: gaming, video games, high-definition, high def graphics, sakaguchi

2/6/2012 10:09:23 AM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (61 posts)

Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 10:26:18 AM

Actually, I agree with him 100%. I've said before that photorealistic graphics are not really the best way forward for a variety of reasons. Especially in action games with realistic portrayals of 'real life' situations.

One point though. Uncharted as great as it is caps the resolution at 720 (at best) which although it is HD, it's not 1080p, and it's nothing like the resolition PC games are capable of. I think that what Iwata is talking about is very valid. Devs should by all means spend time on their art work and graphics, but spending months laboring to capture the exact particle effects and fluid effects necessary for an action sequence to look truly authentic isn't helping the gameplay or the story. Yet it is exactly that kind of minutia that many action games focus on.

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 10:41:56 AM

I don't see you complain when you see The Last Of Us.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 12:07:53 PM

And he's not complaining now.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 12:39:45 PM


Tell me how anything I wrote above is a complaint against any given game?

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 1:25:36 PM

Ah now this is much more to the point, for me. High definition is wonderful and all, and it allows for some presentation that otherwise isn't possible, but it should never be at the expense of the story, narrative, plot, or gameplay.

For me, most of the problem is the dialogue. I actually feel that more realistic graphics can add a layer of interpretation. Watching a character's face for "tells", emotion, or watching body language can tell you SO much more about a character than the dialogue. In fact, sometimes the detail in the environment around a character can tell you more about them. A well placed prop, in some cases, can tell you everything about a character you will ever need to know.

Think about Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol (Since even if people haven't read it, they've probably seen SOME version of it on TV. Even the muppets version does the following very well). His writing about Tiny Tim's crutch, hat, and scarf tell you more about him and his family than the rest of the entire story.

But my main beef is the dialogue. When people need the characters to spell stuff out for you... it's annoying. A lot of people ignored some of the most important things in Uncharted 3 because of their frustration with not being spoon fed every intricate detail about the story or characters.

Sometimes the writing removes any ability to skillfully use any form of visual art. And then it's easy to say, "the realism takes away the imagination".

I disagree. Realism isn't to blame. It's the people that use it not being creative enough to tell you something without speaking about it. To date... he's right in that devs have focused on the quality of their visuals above anything else. But that's not the visuals fault. They should be using those awesome visuals to tell us things they couldn't otherwise say.

I think the blame is just misplaced entirely.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 10:35:34 AM

Sounds like he's found his faavorite platform with Wii =p

I see his point but only within a limited context. And as Ben point out, there's Heavy Rain. Something I see as better for having realistic graphics.

It's interesting to read these comments. I swore, last week, I just read a similar sentiment by Sid Meyer.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 10:39:12 AM

Ah, here's that article

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 10:48:59 AM

I am actually in the air on this one. Games that purely focus on graphics and little else do end up becoming boring, leaving nothing to the imagination simply because there is not much to think about or even consider. But also I have played many games that have good graphics(HD) and are really interesting as well as thougt provoking. The Yakuza games have done that for me as they tell an interesting story, as I am playing through them I find myself imagining what is coming next.

All in all I am not sure I agree with this as the developers just need to make the games story and other aspects shine through as much as the graphics to achieve what he is saying. Also if this were true wouldn't Nintendo be leading in the way of must own triple AAA titles? To me there in last place, so I really don't know about this. If you look back on earlier generations of gaming then I pretty much agree about %90, as many of them were far more creative and interesting, especially when it came too using your imagination.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 11:06:29 AM

Is The Last Story gunna have 14 installments and countless spinoffs as well?

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 11:08:02 AM

On one hand, HD graphics are great for conveying these nuances in character and art design, which is beneficial for immersion and authenticity. It's also a testament to the capabilities of developers and their willingness to push boundaries wherever they can. These games tend to be more cinematic, polished, and engaging narrative-wise.

I can also see the other point, where graphical fidelity can hold players' hands too much, leaving the experience all to audiovisual aspects rather than relying on the player to use his or her own imagination to create this world. Perhaps this is the reason many veteran gamers tend to appreciate the classics, due to nostalgia, and the fact that games used to utilize gameplay rather than graphics to convey tone and message.

As for me, I'm undecided on this issue. I love beautiful games, and this generation has given me some of the best experiences in my gaming life. What I believe is that gameplay should ALWAYS come first, and then, depending on a decided art direction and style, graphics should then be factored in. After all, these are games; it doesn't matter how pretty or ugly they look, if they're inherently broken in gameplay, it isn't worth it at all.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 11:31:27 AM

I disagree because as a veteran gamer I have enjoyed the past few generations much more than the classic ones.Also fhe classic gens lacked the tech to give you a world to fully imagine.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 11:28:01 AM

His comments make no sense as HD visuals have nothinv to do with his point.Game design is what affects the relaying of subtleness or story elements.Hw sounds like another dev who can not grasp new concepts or tech just like Miyamoto.This is the reaskn why Japan is so behind this generation.Even though the Last Guardian has yet to release I guarantee that it will deliver the experience that he is speaking of in HD.His comments mah have something to do with how poorly his two HD games were received by the media.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 8:41:17 AM

Maybe Blue Dragon was not received all that well by the medias, but Lost Odyssey was praised most everywhere I look at...

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 11:37:57 AM

What a pile of crap. This is like if he was into movie making he would complain about modern cameras producing too sharp images.

Like Darth says above, storytelling and dialogue has nothing to do with HD visuals. Sure, with new technology follows new challenges as well as opportunities, but that's just how it is in every industry.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/6/2012 11:53:04 AM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 3:12:36 PM

A person who is considered one of, if not the greatest film maker of the last 50 years complained of the very thing your mocking. HD doesn't compliment his way of storytelling and has snuffed HD and mm film altogether. He now shoots using DV cameras (A camera you can buy on the street)....and i agree with him when it comes down to the real work. It's just too clean at times.

There is completely valid points raised by Sakaguci as well if you ask i agree with him too.

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 2/6/2012 3:13:56 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 3:23:01 PM

Well, in my opinion that doesn't say much other than that times are changing also for artists. It's artistry in a nutshell, really. Artists clinging to what they learnt in their youth, unable to adapt to new techniques and technology.

You see that in the music world all the time. Even Prince, the genius you and I share fascination for is nowadays walking around complaining about how "the youth today need to hear real music from real bands". Prince, of all persons, the once so cutting edge musician that became famous for being a one man band, working on his electronic instruments alone in his studio, doing everything himself and crossing all genres and taboos. Even he is not immortal.

It's the circle of life, really. "Everything was better before".

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/6/2012 3:24:32 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 7:40:49 PM

You missed most my point.

For some artists or fields, new technology used in the mainstream way won't work for it. The director i mentioned is ALWAYS cutting edge. He shot a 3 hr picture using DV cameras back in 2006 (the latest technology in street cameras) and that film is regularly regarded as the last time anything innovative came out of an American director...he's pushing 70.

As for Prince, again, i think you need to look into what he's doing a bit more. He doesn't stick to the past, he's got the exact same mentality as the director above. We're losing sight of what made things great. Prince innovated using the latest technology at the time, the Linn Drum machine, but at the same time remained true to real music by real musicians. Today he does the same. 2009's MPLSoUND was made using ProTools, a new recording technology designed to "HD" and simplify recording and despite his efforts to make a disastrous software sound good, it didn't work, now he's gone back to analogue recording and the difference in quality is dramatic....because some new things kill the magic.
Check the other 2009 album by him, Lotusflow3r. It's a combination of old and new technology, but yet he's creating new sounds and is regarded as a modern classic of his by his overly critical fans.....better yet, check 2001's innovative masterpiece The Rainbow Children to hear him lyrically and musically testify his reasoning as to why modern technology can be devastating to the art.

When i saw Prince last year, an awful "artist" called Tinie Tempah came on before him playing vocal and music samples from a laptop. My head was in my hands. Prince came out with full band complete with the latest technology inputs to existing instruments (latest guitar pedals, drum pads for e.g.) and got awarded gig of the year by every source in the UK. It's a dramatic difference.

The great artists never lose anything or get stuck anywhere in time, they just know how to create great things using the best stuff.

I take Sakaguchi's comments to mean that in certain areas, it just kills the magic. Something mostly agreed here.
I believe that it's just going to get worse because the new generation will grow up learning from the wrong things. It ain't about creativity today. Also, on the flip, if i did have the mentality of it was always better before, and If we live in a time when people think GaGa is innovative or great or Michael Bay makes great movies.....then maybe looking back ain't such a bad thing....

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 2/6/2012 7:50:24 PM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 2:52:12 AM

Well, what can I say... You see things like many older music fans see things, that it was the old way that was the real way, the music created back then is the "real" music.

To say that modern technology is devastating to music is like saying that anything but 8 bit processors are devastating for gaming. Such arguments are so incredibly silly, and the most annoying thing is that you guys don't see that yourself.

The reason why Prince returned to his old equipment is because that is what he master, because that's what he learned to master back when he was young and creative. That's why! New technology is devastating to *him* because he's not used to it, he doesn't master it! Isn't it too obvious?

And you just don't compare an unknown current artist, like this Tinie guy, with one of the old masters. You just don't do that. Most artists today will be gone and forgotten again, *just like Prince's contemporaries back in the eighties*!
Man, how much *junk* wasn't released in the 70s and 80s, music that's nowhere to be found today? It's the *vast* majority!

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 6:22:50 AM

That is very off base and again missing what i'm saying.

Prince lives in one of the most high tech recording studios in the world. He knows his way around any piece of recording equipment going. But because he's a true artist, he understands what is needed to make visions.

I have never said the old way is the better way and nor has Prince or in this case, Sakaguchi. We are saying that certain advancements in surface improvements or the WAY that they are used can be damaging to the art. Prince is still known to be cutting edge with his PROPER innovative use of the latest technology that compliments the real music and vision. Also, the comparison to 8bit games and music is silly, they are very different artforms and only a few comparisons can work. So one opinion in one field doesn't apply to everything in the other.

To further my point about the fact that it ain't about modern technology as a whole like you think we're saying, i can tout many current or new artists in music that apply modern technology correctly and convincingly to there vision. One such artist, Jamie Lidell. He has laptop samples and effects, but yet a full band with modern technology inputs and his music is innovative. You won't have heard of him because it's real music, real music doesn't get played.

So again, Prince returned to analogue recording, not old technology, because ProTools was too clean and didn't have the same warmth as the analogue equipment. Many true artists would attest to that. New technology isn't devastating to him, its certain types and/or the way you use them. He's always been cutting edge because he's surrounded by it all daily. He just has the correct artistic mind to use it properly and know what doesn't compliment what.

Tinie Tempah is the biggest artist in the UK at the moment. Utter shite. What i'm pointing out by using him is that the modern technology used by him is completely in the wrong way. Jamie Lidell, who uses the same stuff as this Tinie Tempah, but uses it whilst remaining true to the music and trying to innovate or combine the good parts of modern technology with the classic (like Prince) would of made a fantastic show with mostly the same equipment to see where im going?

Again, there are no age limits to a true artist. "Old master" is not a correct term to use against someone who lives in the present, making cutting edge music when he wants to and is still more hungry, creative and energetic than a 25 year old. These true artists yearn for the latest equipment and technology because that's what they live and breath, usually the latest instrument, amps, sound systems, etc even still today....all the while knowing what can damage the art.

You seem to keep putting me in the old way is better yet i keep saying the opposite and never said the old ways are better. If anything, the old mentality was probably better. The reason we can acknowledge the past more so when talking about this is because the industry wasn't as corrupt and the mentality was that of creativity and innovation with real music. The best artists were all hungry to use the latest, a lot of that technology can be damaging to artists or is always damaging. Again, nothing new i haven't said already, but you keep lumping me with the old mentality, so i feel i have to explain further.

These current artists i tell you i can tout feel the same way and yet they weren't around for the golden age. Luckily they managed to learn from the correct sources, they see what the so-called "old masters" do. There's a reason we don't have a Pink Floyd or a Prince or a Kate Bush's because of all the above and the fact we don't support creativity anymore, only quick pop beats made on a computer to make quick money.
However, those current artists i can mention have the "could be" factor.....see Janelle Monae.

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 2/7/2012 6:28:19 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 8:07:38 AM

Ok we are effectively sliding off topic now, sorta, but oh well:

There are *plenty* of artists today who create *fantastic* new music, and set the bar for others to follow. Every living artist learn from the predecessors, and build on that. So did Prince, also called "the Prince of thieves". Nothing wrong in that. The footprints from his heroes from the 60s and 70s are ALL over his work. Can't you see? It's the same story all over again! And just like the adult crowd were dismissing Prince back then or Elvis were banned back in the 50s, so are the adults today dismissing the new music today, based on the arguments you are using above. And so it goes. Todays youth will say the exact same about the music in 15-20 years time, using the few surviving artists from today as examples.

But the true new music is not found in the charts today. With the new distribution model of music today the niches has become the "new mainstream". As a matter of fact, in my personal opinion I don't think there has ever been created better music than right now.
The music one is able to create today *without* extremely expensive analogue equipment and costly studio bookings has opened up endless possibilities for anyone with a talent to create their stuff. Obviously that also means there's lot of *trash* being made, but again, it's always been like that.
And there has never been created fatter grooves, more fantastic and creative, individual sounds as right now. And of course there are Pink Floyds, Bushes, JM Jarres, Kraftwerks, etc today. You just don't know about them, cause they are doing the new stuff today - just like those artists were doing the new stuff back then.

If you believe otherwise then you are listening in at the wrong places - or you belong to the "things were better before"-crowd. And that's fair enough too - luckily there are plenty of those kind of artists as well!

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/7/2012 8:12:25 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 8:58:08 AM

By the way, Lotus: Are you aware of the group on Facebook? They post some *epic* pics and live performances (videos!) by Prince - often unreleased material too - on a regular basis!

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/7/2012 9:00:24 AM

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Thursday, February 09, 2012 @ 11:17:51 AM

You probably won't read this as im late, but we aren't entirely disagreeing with one another. Just misunderstanding and a few disagreements here and there, one such being the repeated cycle of music, the logic of complaining of music back then and doing the same now, only to look back fondly later is absolutely absurd.

When the so-called bad music was made back then, it usually always had merit, people probably concentrated on the provocative leg shakes (Elvis) or the volume of such tracks. However, they are remembered fondly because they were breaking grounds and/or poetic, creative etc. Today, it's just plain awful. Lyrically embarrassing and insulting to intelligence, videos that depict just outright porn....there's a massive difference. It is not a cycle.

Everything else, we kinda agree, you just misinterpreted me again. I and they did not say it's all bad, just some of it is OR the way you use it.

I'm a massive music buff and feel pretty confident that i listen in the correct places today and i can tell you, even in the niche, there will never be another Kate, Floyd or whatever. They were a once in a lifetime thing. However, my point was that in the mainstream, there will never be one to join them. In the "underground" there only "could be".

I don't know what you was aiming for with the inspirations and the example of Prince and others influence being all over him. That's a given. Sly Stone, the man in my DP, is possibly his biggest influence. But Prince learned and made all his own.

Today, they learn from producers, laptops and money. If Justin Timberlake says "yeah Prince is my idol, he's the greatest" and proceeds to make know what i mean?

I also don't agree that better music is made today. As a fan of urban music, not one RnB album is better than Sly Stone's 1971 album - There's A Riot Goin' On. Consistantly hailed as one of the best albums of all time. This is usually the case with most older music because it was the 1st time you heard such things and since have only been replicated and watered down in the process.

Fantastic music can be done today, and if everyone learned from the best or had the correct mentality, then it would be better....but that's few and far between unlike before.

//Of the big record labels, he says: "There have been lessons learned, that's for sure. I like what Morrissey said about how, isn't it funny how all their acts go to number one? They go on the cover of Rolling Stone after one release. It took me four albums. The record companies, they have become like carjackers."// ~ Prince 2011

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Thursday, February 09, 2012 @ 11:21:29 AM

Yeah, i use to be on HQ. com until it closed down. Seen Aaron on FB as HQ. com yes.

I pretty much have everything Prince anyway. 42gig worth of stuff lmao. Boots, unreleased, remixes, 12", live, videos, interviews, associates and of course all the released work completely up-to-date including one off tracks he gave to radio for example.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 11:50:40 AM

My complain is more about character design..FF characters in the lat gens look too much beautiful.Yes I want some dudes that looks more manly and no in a Gears of War way, Something more like Drake or Snake the perfect balance imo.

Last edited by Oxvial on 2/6/2012 11:51:15 AM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 12:05:03 PM

I'm an HD whore and I agree with him. Some games just don't need it. Skyward Sword is the perfect example. It not being HD doesn't bother me at all. Nintendo did a superb job making that game look gorgeous, bringing Skyloft and the surface world alive all without HD graphics. I personally hope Nintendo never takes Zelda down that photorealistic route. Games after all are supposed to be a fun escape from reality. No point when the games we are playing look and feel exactly like real life.

Here's hoping the Last Story makes it to the US.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 12:46:38 PM

... But High Definition doesn't have to mean photo realism, I believe that's two different things. I would never want everything to be photo realistic, but do I want my stuff to be in High Definition? But of course... It makes good stuff look better!

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 1:36:42 PM

I don't even think photo realism is bad, though. I think increasingly better graphics give us more to work with to tell a story. But the quality of writing needs to catch up to the visuals.

As is, we COULD tell the participant a whole lot through discreet visual cues. But we don't. We still get writing and dialogue that acts like we need it explained. A depressed look on a characters face should be enough. Eyebrow squints when told negative news or when yelled at should be enough. (And something easily shown with photo realism)

With that potential, why do devs STILL feel the need to make their characters TELL us they are sad? Why not use distant looks through highly defined eyes, jaw-lines, and eyebrows at a set piece that is significant to an event or other person to tell us they miss someone or that they feel powerless? Why, with the potential for this intricate detail, do devs continue to spell it out in the dialogue?

The dev's should be encouraged to get better at higher definitions and even photorealism (when appropriate, of course.) Then they need to learn to USE it better.

Strictly saying photorealism offers nothing is like saying a movie can't show you as much emotion as a cartoon.

People used to say the same things about movies when people went to watch silent films instead of on stage productions, then again when people wanted to see movies with sound instead of silent films, then again when they started adding color, then again when directors stopped telling strictly melodramatic endings, and they say it now about video games as opposed to tv or movies, and also, by some folks about photorealism/high definition as opposed to illustrated or cartoonish games.

The fact is, CLEARLY as seen in history, technology, while infantile when first developed like this photorealism complained about by some, offers us a new level of immersion. It's up to those that create to make proper use of it.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 3:16:11 PM

Underdog. Research the Uncanny Valley, you will understand why photo realism is not necessarily the best goal.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 3:30:08 PM

Underdog, what you write here is pure gospel, man. Beyond truth. :)

I totally agree with you of course, but with photo realism I mean pictures that could be from real life. Let me try an example:

Imagine you play a car racing game and you look out your side window and watch the flowers on the side of the road. If those flowers looked like the flowers outside your window in your house, then that's photo realism.
If on the other hand the flowers in the racing game had cute faces on them and were dancing rumba while singing in harmony then that's not photo realism cause it's not realistic, just high definition. If you catch my drift. They could still be expressive.

(I may be wrong in these understandings of the terms though)

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/6/2012 3:43:01 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 3:58:38 PM

Highlander, I don't think we are even remotely near the uncanny valley effect in gaming yet to make that anything to discuss at this stage. When we get there - *if* we get there - then I look forward to experience that. But I don't think that effect is so easily created on a screen at all. With real life robots, sure, I even saw a Elvis head replica once that was pretty uncomfortable to watch (saw it at an Elvis festival in Memphis, of course ;) but not so much in 2D on a screen. If so, then most CGI effects in the movies would have caused such reactions a long time ago.

You should try LA Noire once (I even think you might like it). It's got amazingly realistic facial expressions, you really should see it. But is it in any way uncomfortable to observe? Not the slightest. It's just amazing.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/6/2012 4:05:35 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 5:45:04 PM

Well, Beamboom, I think you'r wrong, I think we are nearing that uncanny valley, and I think that Iwata is right.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 3:03:30 AM

But if you really think so (and hey - this is all predictions/assumptions about the future so one man's speculation is just as valid as anothers) then you also must think that some of the current or upcoming games are nearing that level of realism? If so, what games?

I'm sorry but I just don't see any signs of this. What I see are doll faces with lips that are barely moving, on heads attached to bodies that are enclosed in concrete clothing and rubber skin!

In my opinion we are so far, far away from realism yet that *my* prediction is that you and I ten years from now will look back at this gen and laugh about how we thought we were anywhere near photo realism today.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/7/2012 3:08:57 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 11:54:26 AM

You and I aren't going to agree, and I'm not fueling further argument on it.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 12:54:23 PM

But do we have to agree? I think it is fun to hear others opinions and viewpoints regardless if I agree or not... Who knows, they may still contribute to my opinion about the given subject in one way or another.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/7/2012 12:57:02 PM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 3:07:40 PM

For the record, I did indicate, "When appropriate" in regards to photo-realism. Atelier Totori would be crappy if it wasn't animated.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/7/2012 3:08:29 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 12:07:43 PM

Sakaguchi is reminiscing the good old days...

I'd sit alone and watch your light
My only friend through teenage nights
And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio

You gave them all those old time stars
Through wars of worlds - invaded by Mars
You made 'em laugh - you made 'em cry
You made us feel like we could fly

So don't become some background noise
A backdrop for the girls and boys
Who just don't know or just don't care
And just complain when you're not there
You had your time, you had the power
You've yet to have your finest hour
Radio - radio


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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 12:42:46 PM

1 bazillion up votes for referencing Queen.
another 1 bazillion for quoting Radio Ga Ga.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 2:24:50 PM

hehe, yah, Queen is awesome.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 1:32:04 PM

Looks for macro key.....there it is....alt H
I love HD visuals and the closer we are to real life the better.
I disagree with him and hope no one of any importance reads that article.
It's like saying real life communicates to much to humans.
Bring on the 1,000,000 polygons please!!

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 3:51:33 PM

What about movies?

Why can't they portray stories in the same way movies do?

I think HD graphics are stuck in a period where, they aren't life-like, but they aren't arcadie anymore either.

The days when we are playing games that look life-like, with real people, THAT is the generation where games will blow the minds of every being on the planet and bring the gaming industry back to its former glory. Its all just fun and games till then.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 5:14:19 PM

I think if your at the point where you don't even notice the graphics - y'know, fully immmersed - then thats fine. But if your stopping and thinking "Wow that waterfall looks amazing! Practically like real life!" then I get what the guy's saying. I do this alot when I start up GT5, like "OMG THE STICHING ON THIS WHEEL IS GORGOUS OMG!!". Then I do a few hot-laps and just forget it all, because I'm in the game - immersed - at that point.

I guess it's all to do with psychology - the more you have to process something consciously, the more detracted from the game you become.

Last edited by Ludicrous_Liam on 2/6/2012 5:15:39 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 7:23:54 PM

Sorry, but I think there's a general misconception from this article. HD does not equal photo-realism. HD is resolution... thats it. In order to achieve photorealism you would have to have high quality models, textures, lights simulations, shaders etc on futurisic scales and you would have to use HD content, but in no means does HD mean photorealism it just means the general quality and detail level is upped,whether it be a coulourful artistic (unrealistic) game like Rayman origins which is HD or a game striving for photo-realism Heavy Rain which is HD. And Sakaguchi is talking out of his ass cause there's no reason to not go HD cause everything looks better in HD, and this is the guy that gave us some of the best JRPGs ever.

Plus I do also agree its upto the dev to use the visuals to the best degrees to convey the narrative, emotions and character developments within the games and to immerse the player via well implemented gameplay. HD will just help in this aspect as you can never have too much detail, the devs just need to know how to use (or hide) that detail when necessary. Ido agree devs need to stop worrying so much bout visuals (cause its already pretty good) and and concentrate more on plot,narrative, characters, audio, level design and gameplay.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 3:06:21 AM

Great post DeusEx, and good to get the difference between photo realism and HD confirmed.

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 7:41:05 PM

Sakaguchi + Nobuo Uematsu = an instant classic JRPG. This man is the founder of FF or I will go so far as to say "the father of JRPGs". He left Squaresoft after the FF Spirit Within and that was when the SE started derailing. Soon after, Nobuo Uematsu stopped composing for any major JRPGs SE ever made since. Since that point on, almost all games from SE just reduced into nothing but an empty shell without soul.

Sakaguchi is the soul of the story, and Nobuo is able to elevate that story to an even higher level with his beautiful and sentimental melody that will just stick to your head when you finish a JRPG composed by him. No one is quite like either Sakaguchi or Nobuo.

Sakaguihi has a very important point here, that nowadays games "focus too much" on graphics, while it makes people jaw-dropping at times, it also makes player forget that before the game need to look beatiful, they must first need to be fun and have a well-thought-out mechanism and wonderful story and to step up a bit, to give player emotional appeal and let them experience something magical, fantasy and none-earthly. It is for these reasons fans are ecstatic about a JRPGs, not just pure eye candy but empty inside. Sakaguchi and Nobuo's strength is to deliver something that is beautiful, not just on visuals, but also on the emotional side and the game-play side.

like I said many times, if a company is able to assemble a team consisting Sakaguchi for the story and overall game design, Nobuo and Yasunori Mitsuda for the music, Toriyama and Nomura for the characters and artistic world design, then an instant classic and legend is already born.

Lost Odyssey + The Last Story trump everything in JRPGS category this gen. The dreams in the Lost Odyssey and the music tunes in The Last Story are just about the most artistic and emotional experiences you can ever have in video gaming and in this gen. Lost Odyssey and The Last Story should be the TRUE FF13 and FF14 released on PS3 if made into their full capacity. But none of these are happening therefore true JRPG fans are still living in the shadow of the past glory.

P.S. "Operation Rainfall" is still petitioning to get the The Last Story and Pandora's Tower over to North America and I wish them good luck, Xenoblade is going to be here in April 2012, which is a huge win already. As much as I have bashed the Wii console in the past 5 years, I would probably get the console just for Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower, given the cheap price it has now.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 2/6/2012 8:11:05 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 11:35:07 PM

Everyone talks about how great like Xenoblade, Lost Odyssey and The Last Story. Its great some great JRPGS are still made, but what gets me there is no great jrpgs for the PS3. Lost Odyssey is for 360 and last story for Wii. FF XIII and XIII-2 are mulltiplatform but from what I hear just not the same. Why is there no great jrpgs for the ps3 like previous gens? PS1 and PS2 had great games... Why is it when I hear about GREAT jrpgs this gen its always on anything but a ps3?

Also still upset with Sakaguchi over snubbing developing any games for ps3. Yes he hates Ken Kutaragi but seems like he is punishing all ps3 owners because of it. You may all disagree with it, buts its how I feel..

Last edited by dbyzforce on 2/6/2012 11:42:24 PM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 12:18:06 AM

couple things (based on my own opinion):

1. I think PS3 is known to be a platform extremely hard to work on for developers to make grand JRPGs.

2. The father of JRPGs (Sakaguchi) left SE and created his own company funded and supported by Microsoft, which is the enemy to the Sony, he is probably bound by his contract not to shed any light and his glory to Sony.

3. Due to the unknown ugly insider's fight and bitterness from stepping down from SE after the Spirit Within...after all the bloodshed politics within SE top heads, Sakaguchi probably vowed to himself to do wutever in his power NOT TO lend a single hand to SE and desired to see SE simply die out.

..and, along all this, JRPG fans from PS1 and PS2 became the biggest victims.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 2/7/2012 12:25:09 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 11:55:42 AM

Excuse me? How is the PS3 "knownto be a platform extremely hard to work on for developers to make grand JRPGs"? That makes no sense what so ever.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 8:01:15 PM


while I am not sure exactly why, but there are so much info on the web indicating PS3 is hard to work on for game making.

here is just one link from

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 2/7/2012 8:01:42 PM

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 7:57:52 PM

Give me better art direction/style over photo-realistic graphics any day!

I think he makes a good point. It reminds me of how books are amazing because they leave so much to the imagination. Back in the PS1 days, or even PS2 days the graphics weren't amazing, but we were ok with it because gameplay/storyline seemed so much more important. We weren't consciously or sub-consciously analyzing the air ducts in MGS or scrutinizing the contours on the airships in FFVIII because we didn't care about those things. They weren't a focus. Now in the HD era, we put graphics on a lofty pedestal and if games don't meet it we're immediately dismissive of a company, (thinking they're lazy, etc.) For example, Bayonetta. The differences weren't actually that huge between the 360 and PS3 version, but the media and bloggers/commenters worked each other up into a frenzy, detracting what was actually important about the game.

While Bayonetta's issue was admittedly a porting issue more than anything, it's still an example of how riled up we get about graphics. And finally some companies are getting flak for putting too much attention to graphics rather than other areas, like Square Enix with FFXIII. It's come full circle, but thankfully there are still companies out there who remember why the hey-day of Playstation was so great; Quantic Dream, Team Ico, Eat Sleep Play, et al

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 8:07:26 PM

Yeah, sounds like somebody trying to sell a product for the Wii...Oh, wait, his next game is for the Wii (sarcasm)! :-)

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Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 9:13:15 PM

Underdog summed it up pretty well himself, but to add, I think the problem now is that companies are greatly inhibited because of the risks of such big budget HD productions. The animations/models/environments take such attention to detail to be up to standard to what gamers (especially overly critical reviewers) think as acceptable. This creates a situation where companies want to produce a game that will cater to the masses, where the magic will be lost by making it a style that conforms to the norm, and may not be artistically diverse.

The magic is being lost because magic doesn't make as much money as it used to. Now we're stuck with dark and gritty because that's what sells, and to risk a venture on producing magic seems silly to not the designers but the businesses funding said projects.

We still catch glimpses of that magic he is talking about, but it certainly isn't in abundance like it used to be. I have to say in this generation the really "magical" titles (for lack of a better word) have been for handhelds or as downloadable games.

There are exceptions of course, as Catherine and the Souls games were fairly good in this regard, which does comfort me that sometimes it is still rewarded.

Last edited by ZenChichiri on 2/6/2012 9:19:54 PM

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Warrior Poet
Monday, February 06, 2012 @ 9:13:23 PM

It's not the realism but the overcommunication of details that aren't important. Overemphasis on graphics is always bad, but it's not the hardware's fault. Old games allow for more imagination because they tell less right away. Certain realistic games and a lot of current cartoon-style games still allow for that imagination.

I think the fact that "photorealistic" graphics still look very fake bothers me a lot when I'm playing. I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority there, though. It's not so much the hardware's capability as much as that it's being misused. Games aren't made the same way they used to be. The gamer has so much less control over his own experience, even in linear games, because we're not allowed to explore the mechanics as much and we're not allowed to imagine the world.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 2:05:31 AM

oh hogwash!
games certainly do need HD visuals!
only reason i dont play my wii more is because every game makes me want to throw flaming sand in my eyes then gouge them out with a rusty molten skewer!
sorry, but as much as i love my wii games, they need to be in HD!
no HD me goes bye bye.

TMs the perfect example of this.
everyone loved the demo, only complaint i have heard (besides the online mode making a launch day 360 as reliable as a wood burning stove!)is it looks like a freaking ps2 game!
which it kinda does.
im going to the launch party tomorrow night im hopeful the demo was old code and the retail release is much better.

Last edited by ___________ on 2/7/2012 2:08:23 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 6:36:30 AM

sagakuchi is a retard, hd visuals make the game now i could never go back, although i was playing spyro year of the dragon on ps1 like 2 days ago, if that series got remade in hd then there'd be some money

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 7:57:41 AM

He's just flat wrong about this and he's underestimating what gamers are capable of. I have a lot of respect for him but flashy graphics and great production values have always been a big part of the FF seies. I know Japanese developers have struggled with the HD systems but they need to embrace them. They aren't going away. HD visuals will be the standard next gen on all the consoles.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 2/7/2012 7:59:16 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 10:51:36 PM

like i said he is on complete bollockery

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 9:04:47 AM

I think the problem lies more in the hands of the Director at the helm of the projects, than anything related to the quality of the imagery.

I'll take the Horror movie example. In most case, I feel like just implying that "crazy Jack" ends that scene by cutting Joe's arm with a chainsaw, with proper use of sounds, creates a much bigger impact on my mind than if the whole thing is shown in its gory glory...

This kind of directing can be used for just about any emotion... But right now, most directors are too happy to be able to [finally] show that their team can render blown out intestines or all those facial animations. They concentrate on this more and more.

I understand Sakaguchi's point. I think he's right to some extent, since I feel not many games have surpassed games like MGS and FF VI when it comes to storytelling impact. And those couldn't rely on HD graphics... A lot had to be implied and the impact was greater because our minds had to actually take part in the actions represented. Today's games spoon feed our senses, instead of asking them to actually take part into the mix.

It's the same principle that applies to books vs movies.

It this current gen, the media is trying to become more and more like movies, instead of books. But to be fair, back then, the media chose more of the book route out of necessity...

In the end, I think finding the proper balance between the 2 of them is key. At least for some types of games (like RPGs). But that balance has to be found by the director of the game, the one with the vision. The tools, HD or not, are just a mean to that end.

Last edited by Hynad on 2/7/2012 9:11:14 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 4:05:15 PM

Good points. Personally, I am of the opinion that games should be beautiful and artistic before they are photo-realistic. Why wast so many CPU/GPU cycles on particle effects and the fluid dynamics of blood, when you can make the environment and characters beautiful to behold?

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012 @ 3:46:44 AM

But is there a contradiction here? Beauty and artistry can be photo realistic and in high definition too?

And I totally agree Hynad, I don't want everything to be gory either. But there are still being made gorgeous, beautiful movies to this day, in all it's high def glory. The same can be applied to games, they just need to learn how to direct and write a bit better. There is a reason why splatter movies are all low budget movies. It's the easiest thing to do.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/8/2012 3:47:13 AM

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 @ 6:37:15 PM

Sounds like excuses to me to be honest. Really... I've not come across many a game that has amazing graphics but was a lackluster experience. Usually, when a developer goes all in on the graphics they go all in for all aspects of the game. I guess the only game that had amazing graphics but sort of had a lackluster story was RAGE. Still a great game though. Again, when you look at the games that have amazing graphics (MGS4, U2&U3, GOW3,RAGE , Heavy Rain, LA Noire) that are a notch above the rest, you don't really run into the problem of the story being extremely lackluster.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012 @ 1:19:41 PM

I though Lost Odyssey was overrated.
I am a huge RPG fan and that game felt like a chore, the characters didn't seem very real to me.
I still plan to one day finish it but ugh.

Why can't we have the best of both worlds though? Good story and good visuals.
I can't help but feel Japanese developers are becoming lazy and apathetic to what people want.
Shame since my favorite games were Japanese.

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