As reported, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has made a statement regarding long-time argument of graphics versus gameplay. Yerli says that graphics have always driven gameplay and believes that it’s 60 percent of the game.
In an interview with X360 Magazine, Yerli spoke out about the importance of and the relationship between graphics and gameplay saying:
“People say that graphics don’t matter, but play Crysis and tell me they don’t matter. It’s always been about graphics driving gameplay.”
“In Crysis 3 it’s the grass and the vegetation, the way the physics runs the grass interact and sways them in the wind. You can read when an AI enemy is running towards you just by observing the way the grass blades.
“Graphics, whether it’s lighting or shadows, puts you in a different emotional context and drives the immersion.”
“And immersion is effectively the number one thing we can use to help you buy into the world.”
“The better the graphics, the better the physics, the better the sound design, the better the technical assets and production values are – paired with the art direction, making things look spectacular and stylistic is 60 per cent of the game.”
I can’t say I disagree with him completely; in fact I’m kind of 90% with him here. It’s clear that he’s referring more to shooters and open world games, rather than retro or arcade games. If you look at games as a whole, when I experience games best is when I am captured by the visuals, when they so absolutely grip my imagination that I can escape into them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to have the best physics, but overall make the experience more believable. Titles like Journey, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Dear Esther did this spectacularly well, even though the art style is less realistic, the graphics had a significant part in immersing a player. The same principal goes for puzzle – platformers like Trine 2
Then there are games like Far Cry 3, where I found that after the NVIDIA drivers came out for the game, I really wished my first play through was after they released. Even though the game released with great graphics, the drivers made a massive difference in what the game looked like and I do believe that if my first play through was after the drivers came out, I would have had an even more incredible experience.
Enter Crysis 3, Yerli is absolutely spot on with graphics driving gameplay. When the graphics are so good that the physics and everything else ties in so perfectly as a result of it, that the environment realistically reacts to your or an enemy’s presence and influences the gameplay directly, it’s pretty damn impressive and definitely improves the experience.
Graphics is sometimes however entirely pointless when you have a game like Assassin’s Creed 3 that hugely disappointed fans of the franchise. Face it; even though the game looked stunning, the overall experience was a let down, proving that graphics don’t always matter. I think that it’s important to not just make an unconditional rule about the matter, but look at games for what they are and then decide the verdict for that particular title.