Kojima’s New Fox Engine Competes With Real Life

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2012 at 11:03 pm,

Kojima Fox Engine Demo Comparison

If and when last week’s alleged Microsoft “Durango” meeting was held in London for Microsoft’s Prophets of the Next Generation, it’s likely that, at one point, they sat over a conference table like those shown in the two columns below – nibbling on chicken sandwiches and discussing the gaming future they hold the keys to.

What did they plan? Did it even happen? We don’t know. But here’s a better question: Which table would they have been seated at?

It deserves to be asked because it turns out that only one table actually exists – the other is a CG rendering. See if you can figure out which:

Kojima Fox Engine Real Life

The mind-bending shots (and correct answers) come courtesy of a job posting on a Kojima Productions recruiting page. They were grabbed from a lighting demonstration off of Kojima’s state-of-the-art Fox Engine – thought to be the driver of Metal Gear Solid 5 and the inscrutable Project Ogre.

The computer generated images are so indiscernible from the real ones, that, quite frankly, the Fox Engine had us outfoxed for a good few minutes. A few different subtle nuances in the lighting patterns and chair detail will eventually be enough for any sharp eye to make the right choice. But just to prove to us that they weren’t bluffing, Kojima went and placed horse in the middle of the room for their second slide:

Kojima Fox Engine Graphics Comparison

Incredible as it may be – the horse is the real kicker – it’s important to not treat this like more than it is. And that is, it’s a conference room – some chairs, a table, pretty florescent lights, and a painstakingly rendered misplaced mare. The processing power to achieve such visual fidelity at a reasonable frame rate (and have, say, Solid Snake pop out of a ceiling panel to practice some knife work on an unsuspecting guard) would likely prove a more difficult task.

Be that as it may, anyone who wants to claim that video game graphics have hit a ceiling in their current form need only be referred here for the time being. With videos like Epic’s Samaritan demo teasing Unreal Engine 4, and the likelihood of the same Fox Engine responsible for the shots above powering Metal Gear Solid 5, it’s not a fantasy to think that the Xbox 720 or PlayStation 4 couldn’t produce a similar product in their life time.

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple

Source: Kojima Productions [via Game Informer]

TAGS: Kojima Productions, Metal Gear Solid 5, PS4, Xbox One

  • Rad

    I could tell it as “B”, BUT it did take some looking to figure it out. The image is too clean, too sharp, and the objects are just to regular to be real.

    But like I said, it wasn’t easy to see. It looks great with a controlled, and relatively small area, the question becomes how would it do with a larger environment.

  • VampireWicked

    MG5 YAY!
    I can forget Metal Gear Rising :)

    • VampireWicked

      Graphics like that are amazing, think of how Batman would look with realistic graphics like that. But how would it effect game ratings & sells. Realistic for games like MK, GearsOfWar, GodOfWar, GTA or any other M rated games. I don’t think the gaming is ready to push to far pass CG.

      • Crisius

        Arkham City had the BEST Graphics I have seen in a long time for Realism. Assassin’s Creed is almost at the same level as well. I would love to see games that utilize this tech as well.

  • ben

    I could tell B because of the pictures and chairs. but i had to take a very close look. its awesome.

  • Spider-Abu

    I could tell B because of the less shadows(ambient Occlusion) on the chairs compared to A and also the TV is on and has that blue colour on A where’s on B the TV is plain and turned off. The area is too clean and you can easily make an office look real using any engine now a days, but try something with people and outdoor environment, then we’ll talk. Never the less, I did love that Horse, it looks epic. 😀

  • TaboriHK

    Still shots are very easy to make look better than moving shots.

    That said, it’s still nice to see we’re still working our way towards the space future.

  • Androol

    Yup, getting pretty close! I guessed B, but I wasn’t sure, which is a very impressive point at which to be. Looking forward to seeing this in action… primarily because I’m looking forward to MGS5.

  • graverobber

    Does this mean when I play MGS5 it’s not a tactical espionage video game but a tactical espionage simulator because thats what I get with these graphics.

  • Akuma

    People who think that the images displayed here will have anything to do with the next-generation console graphics are entirely delusional.

    Brian Sipple draws parallels between what is going on here and the Xbox 720/PS4 which is just outright ludicrous. Taking a static picture of an rendering engine and applying that to full motion on a console is just trying to make an entire galaxy out a few feathers.

    People who think that the next-gen graphics will be actually be better than the current gaming PCs need to stop having these wild fantasies and have a reality-check. The videocards inside the consoles won’t even be close to as powerful (or as expensive) as the ATi Radeon HD 7970/7950 that alone cost around $450. To even suggest that the graphics of the coming consoles will be in the line sof what we see here is to claim that the graphics of PC are going to be inferior to console – which is just downright delusional.

    Lay down the crackpipe, buddy

    • Androol

      But the crackpipe is SO GOOD, man! You have no ideeeeeeeaaaaaaa!!!

      You’re probably right about those next gen graphics. Though it’s important to note that economies of scale come into effect to a much greater extent with console components than with PC components, so a console’s graphics card or CPU can be quite powerful while being ultimately inexpensive, because the manufacturers can count on many millions of those consoles being sold, rather than having a couple million of the individual components languish on a shelves, waiting forever for some avid PC gamer with a lot of money to buy them.

      Nevertheless, it is of course true that this is kind of a meaningless demo for practical gaming purposes (as acknowledged by Mr. Sipple — “it’s important to not treat this like more than it is”), and PS4/X720 probably won’t look much better than current top-of-the-line PCs. But right now, when neither those consoles nor their specs have even been leaked, is the time for pipe dreams. Quit harshing our buzz!

      • Ken J


        WOW, I mean, WOW. You realize that PC components actually sell out quite often right? And I don’t think $20-$50 for like 8GB of DDR3 RAM is a whole ton of money only for the so-called rich PC gamers…

        And sorry, but the console companies don’t get as much of a discount on their hardware as you might think. That’s why even the PS3 and Xbox, with their relatively low specs, were actually LOSING money for every console sold. They were making a profit through game sales…

        Akuma actually has a very valid point about the demo showed here. It’s a static image with no animations, no physics, and no AI. I know AI is primarily done through the CPU, but as you should know, even with the most powerful graphics card, if your CPU is very slow, it’ll act like a bottleneck, so the addition of load to the components will play a huge factor on how well an engine will perform.

        My issue with this demo is not only that it is static, but so far, we don’t have any extremely high resolution examples to look at. So not only is it static, but there’s a chance it’s not even running at high resolution… Not saying it is definitely the case, but they definitely could be trying to market this as something bigger than it actually is… Honestly, I don’t really see anything there that is really revolutionary. There are graphics engines out now that can render a small indoor environment like this with extremely high resolution textures and lighting that will look just as good, if not better… Whether they can do it in a real-life gaming environment where framerates matter and where physics, animations, effects, and other factors are in play, that’s a different story… But this is showing none of that, so really, not so impressive in my opinion…

        • Androol

          Ken J:
          Wow yourself, buddy! lol. I know RAM is cheap. Akuma mentioned an ATI Radeon HD 7970/7950, so I was specifically talking about high-end graphics cards there. And CPUs are also quite expensive. And you understand that these things sell out because relatively few of them are made in the first place, right? Because the manufacturers understand that the market is not very big. Not a lot of people out there are looking to spend more than the price of a console on just a graphics card for their computer.

          As for your points about the early PS3 and Xbox, I was never inclined to fully believe the claims that they were losing their shirts just to get the machines sold. Those kinds of numbers can be easily fudged by companies (particularly in terms of the bulk rate discounts they get on parts), and the independent bodies that work to figure-out the prices on their own have no way of knowing how big such discounts might be.

          And I acknowledged that Akuma’s point about the engine was valid, so I don’t think you needed to go beating that horse. I just think it’s fun to buy into the hype this far ahead of a console’s (or engine’s) full revelation. If that’s against the rules here, then I do apologize. I am but a dreamer.

          • Ken J


            It’s funny, you believe some things, then you don’t believe others. The only real pattern behind how credible you find things is what you want to believe. So even though all of the numbers show that they were losing money for every console sold, you don’t want to believe that. Yet, where are your statistics that show computer hardware manufacturers make very few graphics cards?? I really want to see these numbers before you start telling me, someone who have been building/upgrading PC’s for over 10 years, how the market is…

            You realize no matter how much they want to buy, the manufacturers of those parts will not go too low because they know their choices are limited. They can either go ATI or nVidia, and each one knows they will not get a much better deal going the other way. There is absolutely no need for them to give “massive” discounts just because they are buying in bulk. In the end of the day, the manufacturing of these products are expensive, no way around it, so they still need to make a profit. I wonder why two companies will “fudge” the numbers while one wouldn’t. Since we all should know that one of the three big console names actually made a profit per console sold…

            But believe what you want to believe. And just so you know, a graphic’s card speed isn’t just based on how big the numbers are. You can still get 5000 or 6000 series ATI cards that are just as fast as a lot of 7000 series cards and you can get those for MUCH cheaper. The “latest and greatest” will always be overpriced. One thing I’ve learned from my many years of building PC’s, always buy one generation behind. You’ll still have plenty of power for years to come at hundreds of dollars cheaper…

            And you can buy a 3.2GHz CPU for $78… Yah, that’s reserved for the ultra rich… One percent baby!! 😀

          • Androol

            Ken J:
            Yes, I also know that you can get respectably strong processors and graphics cards from a year or two ago for relatively cheap, but are we not talking about the latest and greatest here? I thought we were. I may have been incorrect in assuming that’s what Akuma meant by “current gaming PCs” and “$450 Radeon 7970,” but that was my interpretation, anyway; so at least you know the context of my argument.

            It just seems like common sense, to me, that a $450 PC graphics card would have a lot less units manufactured than a component in a $300-$400 console which is practically guaranteed to sell many tens of millions over a period of five-plus years. It would seem unreasonable, to me, for a graphics card manufacturer to pump out several million of their newest, highest-end graphics card, expecting them to all sell like hotcakes within a couple weeks, the way consoles do at launch. The way an economy of scale works is that, even if these card makers only make a small profit on each card they make, the guarantee that millions and millions of them will be bought by the console manufacturer in question ultimately makes for a very large chunk of revenue. That kind of huge payment is a pretty sweet carrot. And you make a good point that it’s a duopoly, but even in a duopoly, you still don’t want to risk losing that huge contract to the other guy by being outbid.

            So you can sell a smaller amount of cards for a price that’s well above cost, for the smaller market of high-end gaming PC manufacturers and direct sales to consumers — many of whom will probably wait a while for the prices to drop, as you do — or you can sell a much larger amount of cards to a console manufacturer at a price that’s only a little bit above cost, and you’ll still probably make more money from the latter, over the course of five years or more. The graphics companies can spend a pretty good amount of money on making the card for that console powerful, just so long as they don’t spend more than the console company agreed to pay. So really, when it comes to my point here, the fact that the PS3 was probably sold at a loss isn’t relevant. And even if it was, that only reinforces my point, which is that the nature of console development, vis a vis economies of scale (and software licensing fees), means that a console’s hardware can end up being not all that inferior to contemporaneous PC hardware, despite the lower cost to the consumer. The card-makers will put a lot more effort into this one card, and accept a much-lower-than-usual profit margin, just because of the sheer number of units they’re liable to shift, by virtue of its being put inside a console.

            I should also note that I’m not necessarily saying Sony DIDN’T lose money on every PS3 in the beginning; just that I doubt they were losing the huge amount that they’d have everyone believe (i.e., “losing their shirts,” which is the phrase that I used). To me, the whole thing just kind of reeked of the classic “You’re breakin’ my balls!” salesman technique; and I also have a hard time believing that Sony would knowingly set out to build a console that cost $800+ dollars per unit to build, and then be disappointed that people didn’t want to buy it at anywhere near that price. But again, that’s just my personal skepticism, and it’s not a relevant point of discussion here.

            But you’re right; I have no real sources for any of this, and I’m making lots of assumptions that I merely believe to be logical. If you care to provide links that contradict me, then please do (a figure showing that more than 55 million of nVidia’s top-of-the-line graphics card from 2006 has been manufactured/sold, would be most pertinent here). But at this point, I’m not sure we’re even arguing about the same thing(s).

          • Ken J


            Keep in mind Akuma is mentioning the latest graphics cards **NOW**. Sure they are very expensive now, but these new consoles are not coming out for maybe a year or two. By that time, these graphics cards will be sold retail for $200 and under. So his point is actually completely valid even if you’re only limiting it to the cards he specifically pointed out. He’s pretty much saying that the current latest graphics cards will most likely be faster than those in the next generation of console. So when those consoles come out, PC gamers will be able to buy these (which by that time will be 2-3 generations behind that time’s latest and greatest cards) and upgrade their PC’s for much less than the cost of a new console…

            And about the consoles losing money, it doesn’t matter HOW MUCH they were losing, the fact is, they were not able to secure these “enormous” discounts you are trying to cite for the hardware needed, and you can see that by the fact that they didn’t make a profit from selling these consoles. Obviously they get a discount versus retail sales, a company getting parts directly from a manufacturer will never pay retail value for those products, but my point is simply that the discount is probably not as much as you’re making it out to be. Consumers will still be able to upgrade their PC’s with better hardware for less money than buying an entire next-gen console…

            And “last generation” in terms of PC hardware is not last year, sometimes they release new generations within months of each other, kind of crazy… So again, I mention buying last generation hardware at low prices because by the time these new consoles come out, the graphics cards Akuma mentioned WILL BE in that category.

            I do believe that when these next generation consoles come out, the situation will be the same as when ANY generation of console is first released. PC hardware would have advanced at least 2 generations ahead of the hardware used in the consoles, so consumers such as myself could choose to upgrade to hardware 1-2 generations behind the current for less money than the cost of a console and make a PC that’s already plenty faster than the new consoles.

          • Ken J


            Oh, and I never said they sold MORE graphics cards than consoles, I’m just contesting you saying that they make very few of them. I never knew that specifically meant just anything fewer than consoles since apparently the number of consoles sold is somehow the magical gold standard in whether something is few or many… Didn’t get the memo, sorry.

          • Androol

            Yes, of course I was speaking relatively, as this whole debate is a relative thing. An ATI Radeon HD 6970 seems likely to be manufactured far less than the Xbox 360’s ATI card, both because the PC gaming market is perceived to be smaller than the console market (PERCEIVED! Don’t go trying to pick a fight about that too); and because that particular card’s market share is doomed be much smaller than a console’s, since a PC gamer has a much wider range of components to choose from than a console gamer, who has exactly three options. Again, it just seems like common sense.

            Also, you’re putting quotations around the words “massive” and “enormous,” as if I used either one, which I did not. “Big” or “sizable” is as far as I would’ve gone. And the fact that they lost money on each console sold doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t get a big discount on the parts… it’s just that there was a lot of expensive tech in those boxes, including the Blu-ray drive and the Cell processor. Even with the big bulk discounts that I’m still betting -were- given, all that stuff definitely still added up to a pretty penny for those initial SKUs.

            I guess I was wrong about PC card “generations,” though; sorry. Still, if the generations do come that fast, then doesn’t that just make the market for one particular card that much smaller? Which would again reinforce my point about scale?

            This all boils down to my assertion that the big bulk discounts and the guaranteed massive sales (there’s your “massive”) mean graphics companies are inclined to put a lot of effort into making their console cards competitive with contemporary PC cards, and you not buying that. Obviously the PC cards are going to be superior, and I’ve never claimed any different. I’m just saying that the gulf might not be as wide as Akuma asserts: “The videocards inside the consoles won’t even be close to as powerful (or as expensive) as the ATi Radeon HD 7970/7950.”

          • Ken J

            Well, this all stemmed from you saying that PC hardware sells out because they make very few of them. I don’t see how that relates to console sales, unless you’re implying that consumers purchase PC hardware based on console sales…

            Either way, this is completely pointless because you’re using adjectives that doesn’t imply a concrete quantity. So we can argue back and forth about what you might have meant by a lot, or by few, or by, whatever whatever. And it’s all pretty pointless, and none of that really relates to the point at hand.

            Akuma’s point is that this static image does not translate to games consumers will be purchasing. This is a valid fact. He also says that it’s delusional to believe that the next generation consoles will have better graphics than gaming PC’s. That’s also a valid fact. Argue pointless semantics all you want, I don’t see a point in it. Facts are facts, if you want to believe that there’s a chance they will be using the latest and greatest GPU’s in the next generation consoles, then fine, believe it, we’ll all see the truth when they actually come out anyhow, rendering any and all opinions now completely pointless, just like every other point and counterpoint that has been raised thus far. How inexpensive is “inexpensive?” How sizable is “sizable?” How much money is “a lot?” Who cares, really?

          • Androol

            I didn’t say the thing about selling out until after you responded to me with the condescending “WOW, I mean, WOW,” and the “You realize […] right?” rhetoric, which, FYI, is a great way to make yourself look like a jerk and spawn a big, pointless, petty debate like this one. And I will point out that I said “relatively few,” not “very few,” which is an important difference.

            All I was saying is that card makers would be inclined to put more effort into a console component, and accept a lower profit margin on it, because the sales are guaranteed to be much bigger and last much longer than those of a PC component — in which environment, as you’ve noted, generational progress happens MUCH faster. The PC market has a much wider array of choices for rig-builders such as yourself, meaning that any one particular PC card is likely to sell a lot less copies than the single graphics card that’ll be stuck inside the console in question. There’s a lot more incentive to making the latter a very strong piece of hardware (and in case I haven’t been clear, I’m talking ONE console card vs. ONE PC card model). I believe logic is on my side there, and yet you take issue with it and spawn this giant argument. If you can find sales figures for the GeForce 8800 that contradict my theory there, please do. I’ve searched for them and couldn’t find them, which made these logical, inexact arguments necessary.

            If my not using concrete figures makes the whole debate pointless, then why did you reply to me in the first place? There weren’t any concrete values up there in my first post either, nor did you provide any in your reply (aside from the price of RAM — immaterial). I HAVE to argue semantics when YOU misunderstand what I’ve said. I was not disagreeing with Akuma at all when I replied to him, save for one tiny issue, which was that that the gulf between current PCs and next-gen consoles might not be as wide as he was saying. His words were “[not] even close to as powerful”; how’s THAT for “concrete”!

          • Androol

            I guess maybe you just read my initial post and got defensive about what you perceived as a slight on the PC, which I guess has been the norm around here lately, but that was certainly not what it was. I spend much more time gaming on my PC than on my consoles, and I’m not really a “platform wars” kind of guy anyway.

          • Ken J


            I know I said I’m done with this and you can have the last word, but since I’m agreeing with you on something I’m sure you don’t mind. But yes, that was the initial impression I got from your comment, that you were trying to imply that buying PC components was reserved for those who have “a lot” of money, but I guess you were only speaking about those who are currently buying the top-end $500-$700 video cards, which yes, I have to agree that those of us who are on a budget will never be able to afford those. But I’ve always felt that they are not worth the money anyway, I always wait until they are around $200, and even by then most games would still not require that amount of power… So I think those cards are overkill…

            Anyway, if you didn’t mean it that way, then I guess we’ve been arguing for no reason, lol. It’s all good man. :-)

          • Androol

            All right! :)

  • Adkon

    FINALLY!!! That boardroom sim I’ve been waiting for is fnally coming to fruition.

  • Reunald C. Jones IV

    Even though I kne’ the answer is B, it is really amazing what Tue video game industry has come up with. Once again they have broken the barrier

  • Brett

    ITs all A look at the lighting on the walls in real life a flat color like white even on the walls doesn’t reflect that much

  • StillOnMars

    Video game graphics will never hit a ceiling. But lack of funding is making physics, and other important game element fall behind.

    • Ken J

      Well, technically speaking, once they look 100% like real life, it’ll hit the ceiling, lol.

  • Ken J

    It is pretty impressive, but gotta keep a few things in mind. First, there are no animations, and nothing taking up the CPU since there are no physics or AI. Second, it’s a pretty small environment, the real test is if a big outdoor environment with long draw distances and large textures can get the same results. If you’re a techy and have been keeping up with things like this, you’ll know that nVidia and AMD has been putting out some incredible looking demos with every new generation of GPU’s, but obviously in a real game environment the results are still pretty but quite a bit toned down…

    • Joe

      I’m still impressed by the way the made Just Cause 2. you can see far away on the 400 square mile island, but, they use some effect that makes it look far away without adding the fine details until you are close enough. the game still looks awesome and plays that way too.

  • Joe

    I got B because of the chair back cushions. this is all well and good, but, good looking games are only worthwhile if the GAME is good. Skyrim is a great example, looks great, sucks as far as a game. Sure it has a lot to do, but, it’s all pretty dull and boring. I hope this is not the future of gaming. it LOOKS amazing, but, mgs 4 was more movie than game. I remember when you used to PLAY games and not just WATCH them. Cut-scenes are cool, when there are a few epic ones, but, every 5 minutes or so, there is a 20 minute one, that is ridiculous.

  • EastOfTheAnduin

    Yay! Finally, Office Space: The hunt for Milton’s stapler!

    • Androol

      lol, win.

  • Luno Yoryiki

    …i am disappoint…..

  • ArmedBull

    The thing that gave it away for me is the reflections on the posters. Fox lacked it.

  • Ken J

    I was able to tell B when I read this from my Blackberry, but now that I’m on my PC, I am actually quite disappointed. I thought the pic was bigger. I just thought I couldn’t zoom in too much since I was looking from my phone, but apparently they didn’t give the comparison in a bigger size? At that resolution, it’s quite easy to make anything look good… You can barely see any detail in the real or fake version…

    Count me as not impressed… I was more impressed before when I was looking at it on the phone…

  • Joe Funky

    Only reason I noticed it was B, was because they’re wasn’t enough blur/glare. That’s the only reason I thought it was B though. Otherwise, they outdid themselves.

  • Mr.B

    Honestly ,I don’t want Games look like this !
    Loses a lot of what makes a game a game ! Too Realistic for my taste !