Much has been achieved since the infancy of video games. From a rudimentary aspect, the media has evolved in a rather dazzling way according to machines and technologies. Today, the launch of a new console is more an opportunity to highlight the technology allowing new visual madness, without systematically presenting functionalities that deeply modify our way of playing. The evolutions are there and the race for resolution and images per second systematically relaunched, but wouldn’t these considerations tend to overshadow the background a little too often?
It must be recognized, the video presentation of the Unreal Engine 5 for the PS5 made a little “wow” effect quite unanimous. Without going into the debate clarified in our columns reminding that a technical demo is not representative of what you will have in hand when the games of the new generation arrive in our salons, the perceptive of ever more details, d the ever deeper immersion and almost photo-realistic light effect seems to be within our reach. And in many ways, it’s hard not to be happy about it. After all, who doesn’t love a beautiful game? Who does not appreciate all the more the escape in a game which has been able to deploy an immersive universe, beautiful to cry about and which leaves it to the most artistic to take screenshots doing justice to the work of the designers of such and such a product? Certainly not your servant who, more often than not gets caught up in the game of photo mode, especially on a recent session of The Witcher 3, whose technical performances of the time (5 years already all the same) have allowed to hardly age an inch and still be as splendid. Would the game have had the same longevity if it had not benefited from a development on a solid engine and the will of the developers to make a good game, certainly, but also a “beautiful” game? Not so sure.
Yes, technique is important. A beautiful game is also the witness of a coherent and concerted work of teams of artistic directors and technicians who can respond in a pragmatic way to the artists by sorting what is possible or not while meeting the initial vision of a project. The technique and graphics are also important in the success of a game, because they are undoubtedly the showcase that will take players into their universe. Obviously, the most assiduous players will be able to appreciate as much a game that is full of eyes as a clearly more rudimentary title, as long as the quality is there. But moreover, if there is a debate that ignites the canvas too often, it is the subject of technique, graphic slap, which machine is capable of displaying the most polygons or of managing the diffusion as well as possible. light. It seems that sometimes the form takes precedence over the substance, and that we forget at the same time that a game, as technically flawless as it is, will inevitably end up aging and that ultimately, what we will remember of him or even what will allow him to cross the ages, it will be his artistic direction, his history, his gameplay, his depth. The visual is a real pleasure, yes, but it remains an ephemeral pleasure and the technical performance can only be revered for a time and above all has expiration date.
It is enough for example to remember Crysis 3, the last part of a famous saga to be more a technological showcase than a brilliant game. The title, very short and classic, was finally much faster forgotten than any other game not having the same plastic charms. It is no longer evoked, or almost no longer, even for its technological virtues. If certain titles pass the test of time, it is as much for the pleasure that we took control in hand as for the artistic direction. Finally, to say that a game has aged well does not necessarily mean that its pure technique was ahead of its time, but rather that it has been sufficiently well mastered by the developers who handled it. era of its conception to make it almost timeless. And in addition to the artistic dimension, other titles still make fun of their graphic assets today. Plug in a Super Mario Kart and the magic will still work, despite any weight for years.
If the importance of the graphics of a video game is clearly not to be questioned, it would sometimes be preferable that a beautiful game is not systematically praised for its plastic virtues when its background is with absent subscribers or in withdrawal. It would seem that indulgence is the norm when a game turns out to be a graphic slap and, conversely, a game which would not be able to display a 4K / 60 FPS rendering would suffer the jolts of the most fervent defenders of technique without worrying about its other virtues. But these charms are not perennial and will fade as the technology progresses, which will not fail to arrive where a good idea, a good story and good gameplay them, will bear much more the weight of the years.