Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli made this statement at Gamescom this week: "There are brutal expectations around the PC version of Crysis 3. So this time we promise to melt down PCs." Yes, Crysis 3 will feature graphics so groundbreaking that your PC will simply melt at the awesomeness of it all.
Now, that's all fine and good, but I find it a bit hard to get excited about such feats of graphical brilliance in this day and age. I mean, it's not like I'm planning on spending hundreds of dollars on upgrading my PC so I can witness the PC-melting amazingness of Crysis 3 firsthand. No, I'm fine just enjoying things like gameplay and story—you know, the things that matter to me.
Now, PC enthusiasts are probably already planning my untimely demise for making such a statement (remember to make it look like an accident, guys), but it's one I stand by nonetheless. I think one of the many things that this gaming generation has proven was that pushing the graphical envelope doesn't matter like it once did.
Case in point, I was playing Papo & Yo for my review last week. I found myself completely absorbed by the incredible environments and the profoundly moving story, enough that the shoddy character animations didn't bother me all that much. And trust me, they're pretty bad. But I guarantee that I'm not in the minority for being so willing to forgive this aspect of the game and just allow myself to get lost in its bizarre, surrealistic world.
And let's be honest here. In retrospect, it's impossible to deny that we've been able to fall in love with games that looked simply awful in the past.
Final Fantasy VII, a game known in the 1990's as this monumental achievement of graphical beauty, looks pretty silly today. The polygon counts were embarrassingly low, and what the hell was wrong with Cloud's arms? Still, many of us will blame that game for stealing hundreds of hours of our lives.
Actually, the Final Fantasy VII reference brings up an interesting point: Back in the 1990s, graphics were super important because they looked bad. We had to use our imaginations, which meant we were always imagining how things could possibly look better. Developers were forced to consider this when making design choices. We all were itching so hard to see the next big graphical masterpiece that developers were forced to do their best to provide this for us.