343 Industries released a Halo 4 launch trailer which is comprised entirely using in game assets rather than CGI or live action, but as is clearly seen, the quality of the Halo 4 graphics engine is of a very high standard even compared to Halo Reach which is only a few years old. It’s perhaps not a shared opinion, but looking at the quality of the graphics in the trailer (we’re not allowed to talk about anything else we’ve seen yet due to Microsoft’s review embargo) and comparing them to some PC games running on mid level PCs, the differences aren’t massive.
It’s interesting to note that given the huge budget 343 has had that not all games, or in fact very few are looking this good or are likely to as we move into new consoles whenever that will be. Halo 4 might be the exception, however, there’s a fear that come next gen, the cost of development is going to skyrocket especially if gamers expectations are to be met. If Halo 4 can look this good on 6 year old technology, and yet many games fall short of reaching the same standards; it raises the question as to whether next gen games are going to have any sort of steep ramp up in looks. Sure, big budget exclusive games will no doubt make good use of the extra power new consoles bring to the table, but what about the majority of games which as of now can’t compare?
Perhaps next gen won’t necessarily be just about graphics and will mean developers can squeeze more content into their games (by whatever methods), but the same issue of costs could potentially hamper this when we think about the rising development costs reaching beyond many millions. Will next gen graphics be better? Probably. But most likely only for those developers who have the flexibility of a bigger budget. It’s also going to take some years before developers get the most out of new hardware as we’re witnessing today with launch games and releases 6 years later. Here’s the Halo 4 launch trailer made up of game engine assets.