Tuesday, April 29

Prince of Persia and Graphics

The above are in-game screenshots. Yes, really. When I first saw them, I almost cried. This game is so unbelievably good looking. This is the new Prince of Persia. Rumor has it the game is called Prodigy, according to a recent trademark filing. According to a press release at Kotaku, Prodigy will be released for PS3, 360, and PC. Another Prince of Persia game is also in the works for the DS. Most importantly, Prodigy is being developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the same studio which developed the Prince of Persia trilogy for the previous generation, and also my favorite developer.

Below is more concept art and renders from Prodigy.

The video game medium is a graphical medium, hence the "video." Our technology, is nearing a peaking point. Thats not to say, however, that in ten years we won't have more realistic graphics; indeed, the potential for realism in ten years will be uncanny. But right now, our present technology allows for a broad range of graphical expression. We can have graphics as realistic as Metal Gear Solid 4, as cartoony as The Simpons Game, or as beautiful as Okami. That said, I think our industry is sometimes afraid to break away from realistic graphics.

There is nothing wrong with emulating reality, if that is what the game calls for. Half-Life 2, in order to relay its story, to convey its message, is best suited with realistic graphics. Using the same engine, Team Fortress 2 possess graphics that represent its own themes explicitly for the purpose of gameplay. Not all games need to be so graphically defined. In fact, we are normally just fine with graphics that fall somewhere in between. And thats a good thing. In the same way that it would be shame if all games featured realistic graphics, it would be sad if games either had to be completely realistic or completely "cartoony."

I think we need to be wary of defining our games by their graphical aspects alone. Okami is downright gorgeous, but its gameplay, its story, and its themes are also commendable elements, to say the least. Part of why Okami succeeds as a game is because each of its elements work copperatively to form a cohesive experience.

That aside, assuming these screenshots are truly representitive, I think that Prince of Persia is the best looking game ever made. Just look at them. When you see these screenshots, I can't help think "what have we been missing." Prodigy continues in the footsteps of The Wind Waker, Okami, and Team Fortress 2 to demonstrate exactly what video games are capable of graphically. Graphics have progressed to a point that allows us to visually express ourselves in nearly any way imagineable. Prodigy looks like a comic book. The fact is even more profound when we consider that Ubisoft Montreal's other two franchises, Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed, are highly realistic graphically. I've already expressed my love for Ubisoft Montreal, but you've got to hand it to them, they are some talented folk.

Screens from Joypad via Pro-Gamers
Character screen from Recenzeher


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