There’s no denying that graphics have come a long way in the era of modern console and PC gaming. Console power and motion-capture technology have evolved at a rapid rate over the last two console generations, and in the fourteen years since Jak and Daxter’s first adventure, Naughty Dog has always been on the cutting-edge of those developments.
Naughty Dog’s zombie thriller The Last of Us managed to earn a number of Game of the Year awards during the last console generation thanks to an emotional story, intense gameplay, and phenomenal performances from the game’s two leads. Both of the main character’s in-game models were able to accurately display their emotions and bring every conversation to life for gamers playing through the cinematic experience. According to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End developers, Naughty Dog is taking that same idea to the next level for the current console generation.
As consumers should expect, the PS4 harnesses a lot more power than the PS3, which was released nearly a full decade ago at this point. One of the advantages to the new console, is that the facial construction of each character is able to contain a lot more detail. Like, 500 times more detail in some cases.
“We’ve completely revamped our facial animation systems. The previous Uncharted games, and in The Last Of Us, the characters all had about 90 to 100 ‘bones’ in their faces which we used to moved the meshes around… Think about that, about how detailed Joel and Ellie’s pained facial expressions were, how well the game captured the respective actors’ – Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson – seminal roles. All that was achieved on the old tech.
“Now, the faces have anywhere between 300 and 500 bones.”
Obviously gamers focus on a lot more than realistic-looking characters, but the ability to capture nuanced emotion and subtlety definitely takes story-telling to the next level. Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us were both already incredibly impressive and ahead of the curve in terms of graphics, so a game like Uncharted 4 sounds like it might be one of the first to really harness the new console’s power on that front.
A few games have already arrived that clearly look current-gen (despite other gameplay flaws) like The Order: 1886, but gamers are still technically in the early days of the PS4, Xbox One era. Console life cycles are estimated to be fairly long and 2016 will hopefully be the year when the gaming community starts to see what these machines are really capable of. Considering many consumers have shelled out close to $500 for one of the consoles (or maybe $1000 if they bought both), it seems fair that shoppers are anxiously awaiting the lineup of games that will make that investment feel worth it.
Do you think that Uncharted 4 will look noticeably better than the current lineup of PS4 and Xbox One games? Let us know in the comments.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is scheduled for a spring 2016 release on the PlayStation 4.