The next generation of consoles will be the "catalyst for a renaissance" in gaming graphics.
During yesterday's GC Asia keynote speech on the future of gaming graphics, the president and CEO of Crytek, Cevat Yerli emphasised several times how important the next generation of consoles (i.e. PS4 and Xbox 360 II: Electric Boogaloo) will be to a renaissance in gaming graphics that he predicts will arrive in 2011-2012.
Not only will the company link its technology development with the console cycles, but it sees the PlayStation 4 as the most important machine of the coming generation, with Yerli stating that "frankly, we are linking ourself to what the PS4 will take up as [its hardware] position; that is the console makeup that will drive all our research, so we cannot wait to know what the [machine] will be about. That's probably the most important missing information we have right now in our company."
So, what's this graphics renaissance he's talking about? Yerli believes that - given that the Xbox 360 and PS3 will be around for a few more years - it will be today's technological framework that drives graphics for the next three years, but come 2011-2012 - and new consoles - there will be a huge shift. Sure, processing power and hardware sophistication will increase as they always do, but it's the ability to move beyond today's rasterisation rendering approach that Yerli believes will spark a renaissance.
The games of the future will mix and match between different graphics technologies, whether that be ray tracing, ray casting, point-based rendering, voxel-based approaches or something else. In five years Yerli predicts that real-time gaming graphics will match CGI offline rendering.
Interestingly, Yerli also emphasised the importance of style and a unique visual approach, as opposed to brute force rendering, in the future of videogames. He also said that developers would be better off making their games "believable, but not photorealistic"; that they should bet on physics, simulation and AI.
He also took a moment to comment on the negative reaction of gamers who found that they simply couldn't run Crysis with its settings maxed out, telling the audience that running at those settings at launch was never the team's intent - those settings were meant to future proof the game so that it would continue to look cutting edge as new hardware emerged. Contrary to popular belief, the team actually built the game to run on PCs from 2004 onwards. More PlayStation 3 News...