Until games are photorealistic, it will be hard to “open up new genres,” says 2K boss

Wednesday, 1st August 2012 16:33 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

2K global president Christoph Hartmann believes that until games are photorealistic, it will be hard to “open up new genres.”

Speaking with GI International, Hartmann said the film industry still has the advantage over games as it’s easier for directors to pull strong emotions out of the actors

This, he said, is why many developers stick with action titles and shooters, because the genres are safe.

“Recreating a Mission Impossible experience in gaming is easy; recreating emotions in Brokeback Mountain is going to be tough, or at least very sensitive in this country… it will be very hard to create very deep emotions like sadness or love, things that drive the movies,” he said. “Until games are photorealistic, it’ll be very hard to open up to new genres. We can really only focus on action and shooter titles; those are suitable for consoles now.

“To dramatically change the industry to where we can insert a whole range of emotions, I feel it will only happen when we reach the point that games are photorealistic; then we will have reached an endpoint and that might be the final console.”

The full interview with GI, which covers next-gen gaming, Wii U, and more will be published later.



  1. Maximum Payne

    This is so full of crap.
    David Cage says Hi.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. fearmonkey

    I’m a complete graphics whore and I disagree with his statement.
    I concede technology makes new genre’s and gameplay easier, but I don’t think it takes photorealism for that.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Gadzooks!

    Such utter bullshit. The drive for photorealism is reducing genre options, not opening them.


    Cage just keeps remaking Dragons Lair with bad acting and plot. He should not be applauded.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. NightCrawler1970

    Oh he’s working for 2K, just a bunch of fuckups, RockStar will take care of it, so why you STFU & GTFO and mind ya own business..

    #4 2 years ago
  5. ManuOtaku

    I think this guy is seeing this under the light that games need to be some sort of movies, i rather prefer new genres that are based on in new physics, sophisticated AI, new gameplay etc, of course conveying emotions is a good thing too, dont get me wrong, but it should not be the primary focus, and stating things like, without it, new genres wouldnt exist, thats part of the problem in the way the industry is going for, as a main destination or goal.
    p.s also for the uncanny valley thing, they are better not be that realistic, it will be scary

    #5 2 years ago
  6. osric90

    Until I can’t smell and physically feel movies, new genres won’t be able to be opened up.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Mineral4r7s

    That guy should be fired, really people like him are the reason games “are hard to open up new genres”.

    Games can carry feelings but its been long time ago since a game did that with me. So long I cant even remember the name, headache ain’t helping either with the thinking.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. OlderGamer

    “Such utter bullshit. The drive for photorealism is reducing genre options, not opening them.”


    Graphics whoring is also driving up dev costs. And watering down Gameplay and AI. I like nice graphics just as much as the next gamer, but putting them front and center in all games is not a good thing.

    And also, how many people would want to play Brokeback Mountan: The Game? Not just literaly, but figuritivly. Story laden games are often more like interactive CGI then games. Just one more nail in the coffen of actual gameplay. IMO.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight

    Better AI means you need a specialized programmer and since programmers get paid a lot more in other industries than they do in the game industry. I just don’t see that happening not unless you can find middleware that stream lines AI so designers and scripters to get what they want, anyways.

    “And also, how many people would want to play Brokeback Mountan: The Game?”

    THere are people that have bought, played and enjoyed Heavy Rain and LA Noire so there is good group of people that enjoy those type of games. I enjoyed those games not as much as various other titles but I did buy them and play them and my wife enjoyed watching them. That is a genre in itself. which I like to call interactive movies.

    I find 2k to be one of the leading publishers in having more games that I like to play and not because of their eye candy and photorealism. Borderlands,GTA,Bioshock all those games are more about the gameplay than the eye candy.

    Also blame the consumers for always wanting the next big thing in tech and more poly’s. These companies are only filling a demand that consumers put on them.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. OlderGamer

    “Also blame the consumers for always wanting the next big thing in tech and more poly’s. These companies are only filling a demand that consumers put on them.”

    Not too sure about that part PB. The fastest growing sectors in gaming aren’t graphic intensive games.

    I think the arms races of sorts between big pubs always looking to out graphic their competition is what drives most of it. Combine that with marketing, preview videos, and the lot. In the AAA space graphics can make or break your game. But that traditional console space has been shrinking year on year as well all know.

    Growth has been on mobile, indie, and social fronts. Again, none of that known for intense graphics.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight


    Mobile, indie and social games are a different type of playstyle they are a quick get in and get out type game. But when I sit down on my PC or console and I paid 60$ for the game it better have more intensive graphics than those genres. THats why I paid top dollar for them not only for better gameplay but also higher quality assets.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. OlderGamer

    I still don’t agree with you PB. I can think of several get in and out AAA games, like MVC3, for example. I can also think of several indie games that offer more gameplay then Skyrim like A Valley Without Wind and Minecraft.

    I do think you hit on the head when you paid that for your 60usd you want the best graphics you can get. And that type of thinking is one at least small part of the problem. Too much importance placed on graphics.

    My over all point is that those type of games have been declining in sales. as where games that feature gameplay over graphics have been growing. At some point,I believe we will reach a level of graphical fidelity where graphics won’t be an issue. It won’t be a choice between one or the other. I know that is what they are calling photo realistic.

    But I don’t see that as opening up games. If anything it might lead to stagnet gaming pool. If they run out of ways to improve the way agame looks…what then? Improved graphics have been a driver in sales of new games scince pong.

    If any old inide can put out a game that graphicly can stand toe to toe with anything put out by EA, Acti, THQ, or 2K…how will those big boys stand out from the crowd. it will be like the mobile market. one game will look the same as the next. Just interesting to think about.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Mineral4r7s

    I dont even want photo realistic graphics. Board games dont have photo realistic graphic either.

    If you play games only for the graphics why not go offline and play some paintball? Intense graphics, exciting and real pain simulation…

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Phoenixblight

    “If any old inide can put out a game that graphicly can stand toe to toe with anything put out by EA, Acti, THQ, or 2K”

    Will never happen since indies have a lot less resources than that of triple A publishers.

    ” I can also think of several indie games that offer more gameplay then Skyrim like A Valley Without Wind and Minecraft.”

    THats subjective. ANd I disagree with that Minecraft is just a digital version of Legos. I couldn’t find any reason to get into it unless my friends were playing and when spent our time doing random things like blowing up sections of the world with dynamite. Also that game I paid 5$ for where SKyrim has more content and better visual fidelity than Minecraft not to mention I paid more for SKyrim than I did for Minecraft. People have different expectations for games when they have different prices. 60$ means it has to be the cream of crop to other indie,social and mobile especially since majority of those games are under 10$. While of course that is not always the case but thats how the majority of consumers see it. Triple A titles have to be bigger, better and more fun. Plus triple A titles have bigger risks for more in return than those other genres. Mobile games you can put in less than a grand into development and get a return within a week even if it is crap. Triple A is high stakes poker you risk big to get big rewards.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. deathgaze

    I’m really surprised by the shortsightedness of the folks posting on this story. Poster #5 is the only person posting on this thread who hasn’t massively misinterpreted what Hartmann is saying.

    The biggest problem with games right now is their instability. New technology, new platforms, new programming languages, new tools, etc. etc. etc. is the norm in the game industry right now, but Hartmann is saying that it doesn’t have to be. Hartmann’s comparison to film is apt: With respect to the tools and “language” (gameplay) used to create games, games are still in their infancy. Film, on the other hand, reached maturity fairly quickly.

    The basic tools of the film trade merely include a camera and an actor. For minimum expense, one may add an editor. That’s it. For video games, you need sketch artists, computer model creators, texture artists, UI programmers, gameplay programmers, graphics programmers, etc. just to make a model walk around the room! Every time we change model formats, programming languages, modeling tools, game engines, etc. everyone moving from the old pipeline needs to re-learn everything they used to do in order to be productive using the NEW pipeline. What’s more, today’s tools are very primitive, requiring massive amounts of work to accomplish basic graphical and gameplay tasks. What we really need is better, more stable tools so that the amount of work that goes into creating better games is lessened.

    In order for that to happen, the technology driving games needs to stabilize. Control methods need to be ubiquitous and easily understandable. The “language” games use to communicate gameplay mechanics to the player (verbally or otherwise) must be mature. As Hartmann mentioned, graphics play into this in a pretty big way — the technology can’t be considered “stable” unless the graphics are also pushed as far as they can go. It must be nearly as easy as “taking a pen to paper” or “putting an actor in front of a camera” to make realistic art for these advanced games.

    Although this sounds like Holodeck technology, a primitive version of all the tech I described is achievable within our lifetimes. And if we can, all of society will reap the interactive dividends — not just the gamers! Just as how film couldn’t reach it’s true potential until it began to utilize synchronized sound, games won’t reach their true potential until the technology used to drive games reaches IT’S potential. Games aren’t a normal piece of art — they are dependent entirely upon computer technology. That is simultaneously their greatest strength and their greatest handicap.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Dannybuoy

    We’ll totally have new genres when we achieve photorealism. Think about it. With photorealism comes increased emotional connection. Greater emotional connection means there’ll be a seismic shift if the kinds of subject games might tackle. I think we can expect new genres for sure

    #16 2 years ago
  17. JB

    It`s complete BS, but it´s a good insight into the mindset of many western developers: The constant drive towards technical realism and making “cinematic games”.

    Most emotion in movies are done with music anyway, most TV shows today are almost like music videos, every fucking scene is “polluted” with music to convey mood and emotions.

    He should start to study books, comics or theatre instead of trying to emulate Hollywood.

    More bollocks from this guy here:

    #17 2 years ago

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