Halo 4 graphics – will next gen be that much better?

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.

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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  1. Sheldon October 24, 2012 |

    More than anything, I’m looking forward to the animations and physics next gen. And also fitting great looking games on 1 medium, rather than several disks, like Rage (Xbox 360).

    • mogwaii October 25, 2012 |

      Like halo 4. I too am excited by more content in games, less restrictions but i am hoping for a decent leap in graphical ability. bring it on i say.

  2. Jack October 24, 2012 |

    Halo 4 is the best looking console exclusive but remember that it’s an end of life cycle title and those looking great is not that uncommon. Last gen we had God of War II, Resident Evil 4, Doom 3 and Chronicles of Riddick, escape from Butcher Bay. This last one looks better than early current gen titles.

  3. John October 25, 2012 |

    Wow I cannot believe the stupidity of the writer.
    1. In game cutscenes as seen in the trailer are a poor representative of actual gameplay graphics.

    2.There are plenty of games that look better already and you only have to
    look a what is being done with PC now
    to realise next gen will be a huge leap, obviously developers will have more headroom instead of having to carefully optimise every little part of a game to squeeze out power like what is happening currently which many developers dont have the time and money to do.

    Cant believe people can write such garbage and call themselves “journalists.”

    • robertcram February 8, 2013 |

      CVG: “Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli doesn’t expect there to be much disparity between Crysis 3(current gen) and the first wave of games for the next Xbox and PlayStation consoles.”

      I think Yerli will be quite informed. I mentioned this last year.

  4. James October 25, 2012 |

    I’m sorry but this is stupid. Why don’t you look at Battlefield 3, Crysis 2 DX11, Metro 2033 DX11, Metro Last Light, Far Cry 3 PC footage, the upcoming Star Wars, Watch Dogs, etc. all on the PC to see what “next gen” graphics are. What a terrible article and another video game “journalist” that doesn’t realize the existence of the PC. Maybe if you played any of those games on a good PC you;d realize how mediocre Halo 4 looks with it’s sub 720P upscaled visuals.

    • Andrew October 25, 2012 |

      You’re an idiot James. Do your research, Halo 4 is native 720p, the cutscenes are in game assets, except during cutscenes more AA is added, that’s it. The texture quality and resolution is exactly the same as in-game.
      The lighting destroys any console game I’ve seen, the FXAA is the best AA method and creates far less blur than the MLAA games like Killzone use.
      And on top of all that, this game is much bigger in scale than the pathetic linear corridor fests that sacrifice everything for graphics, looking at Killzone and Uncharted here.

  5. mikey October 25, 2012 |

    graphics themselves wont be much better,certainly not the leap we saw from last gen to this one….but physics,lighting,framerates and all that should be about as flawless as it gets….im more excited about devs not having to choose between a beautiful linear game and a not so beautiful open world game….think we will be getting a nice preview of that with ground zeros when it comes out,cant wait

  6. Shane October 25, 2012 |

    I agree with Sheldon. I don’t think graphics will get a whole lot better, but things like animation, frame rate, lighting, physics, and the overall quality of games. I’m hoping next gen also brings with it a bug free Elder Scrolls or Fallout…I can hope!

  7. Hayden October 25, 2012 |

    between :39 and :43 is wat the real in game graphics are like and yip they are horrible but jazzed up with cut scenes from narme

  8. mike October 25, 2012 |

    Honestly,I’ve seen trailers using ingame engine assets far better than this, this generation.
    Ok, the quintet forza-gears-halo-cod-fable xbox users get every year,along with some paid time exclusive dlc Microsoft can put his money on is more than enough for all these users, mainly people between 10-16, who say the word f#ck every 2 seconds, while playing online.
    These 5 games, whenever they get released, since there is no new IPs, nothing, I will add Alan wake and the witcher, these games are praised like heaven.my first hd console, back in 2005, was a 360. But that piece of shit stopped working like some weeks later,and I didn’t even care about fixing it. The only possible fix was getting a ps3. And until today, I’ve enjoyed playing hundreds of games, dozens of new IPs, because Sony don’t sit down, waiting to spend millions to make studios spend more time developing on their system, and buying exclusive content.
    I don’t care about cgchat, and don’t care if ps3versions of the multiplatforms get 0.1 less than the 360 version.

    With all the hate towards Sony, this generation, its incredible how it sold so well. US media killed every game orconsole Sony got released, and praised every xbox game the best they could.

    Right now, I mean, one year before, reviews for halo 4 are already written, no matter how the game will be, the thousand 10/10 reviews are ready to go online, since 2011. Every fault will be forgiven,even if there are 1 thousand, and the game will be the best game ever, because its a Xbox game, and Xbox is an American brand and US media, well,they praise US products, and hate whatever isnt American. All the doom and gloom about Sony, vita, or anyexlusive ps3 game, that always get shitty scores from US media are there to prove it.

    So Xbox kids, prepare yourselves for the best game ever, that will get a 20/10: halo 4. The game that will make Sony stop developing the ps4, which is already outdated, after the 20/10’s halo 4 got.

    Sorry Sony.

    • Andrew October 25, 2012 |

      Lol damage control.
      Is it so hard for you to believe that this game is amazing? Hence why the Halo games have had consistently amazing sales, passionate fans, a shit ton of books and merch, as well as 90+ metacritics on every installment?

      Of course it is, lol PS3 games are just amazing and every 360 review of all time is bought, explain Fable 3 or Fable the Journey though?
      Accept that Halo 4 looks better than any other FPS exclusive other consoles are pushing, and that PS3 coming dead last in sales is due to Sony overpricing their console and MS getting the best 3rd party support.

      Sony had best marketshare with PS1 and PS2, this gen they wasted so much money that they’ve lost those profits and then some, and lost 50% of their marketshare to MS and Ninty. Stop making excuses, PS3 lost because it lost, deal with it. So much denial isn’t healthy.

  9. Jason October 25, 2012 |

    This gen, few games come close to this level of graphics. Maybe GoW3 and Uncharted 2 (3 was soso) in certain spots. Heavy Rain has beautiful facial animations but isn’t really a game (gameplay sucks and Halo’s doesn’t) and the rest of its graphics are bland.
    But this still does not compare to a current high-end PC, as that is still light years ahead in resolution and amount of processed effects (though I highly commend 343i for this beautiful job, it’s probably the best on the current consoles overall). I’m very confident next gen will look a lot better out of the box because of this leap.
    And Sheldon, Blu-Ray is a flop with only 10% market share worldwide. That is why you don’t see it on PC and Apple boycotts it as well. I’m sure MS will put it in the next Xbox (or proprietary BD-XL).

  10. kif October 25, 2012 |

    Halo 4 launch trailer its all touched up… playing Halo 4 right now (its available on Torrents) (I’m still buying it). it looks good but not even close to the Trailer, there are many current gen games that look better than Halo4…

    Crysis 3
    Metro 2033
    Last of us
    Uncharted 3
    Beyond: Two Souls

  11. larrylain October 25, 2012 |

    halo 4 doesnt even come close to uc3/kz3/gow3. that ingame cutscene is horribly touched up. the ingame footage sucks donkey balls. typical xbot

  12. mike October 26, 2012 |

    I smile, but a big big smile, when I heard Xbox exclusives sells millions.
    Guys, admit 70% of kids/Xbox users buy the console just for cod.
    So whenever a new halo or gears or cod comes out, sure it sells well: people simply had nothing to buy, no new IPs, nothing, a few exclusivve dlcs, and that’s all folks.when you have like 70-80 million sold consoles, and people only have and only play a few games, whenever a new halo comes out, people buy it because final they have a new game to play.look at ps3 catalog, so many different types of games, for so many different people ans tastes, and with all the games that get released, its simply impossible to buy them all.
    How many great games did I miss, because of not having more cash to buy them? Many many.I find myself playing games like arkham city, mass effect 2, borderlands, one year after they get released. Too many games, too many great exclusives.I finished killzone 3 3 times, and its still a pleasure to play it on my 60″ 3d led sharp tv. The same pleasure playing uncharted 2, going back to the first, playing motorstorm,going back to lbp 1, and moving to a killzone 2, and a motorstorm apocalpse, in 3d, and then, uncharted 3, and some resistance,etc etc. And when you are already short regarding time to play, Sony floods your psn+ with great free stuff, full games,minis,etc. If only you Xbox guys could understand what choice means. You have been waiting for halo 4 like hell.meanwhile, you played 10000 hours on cod, finished gears 3 10 times, and that’s all.

    Halo will be there, every xbox guy will buy it blindly, because, 1: finally , a new game to play, and 2: all the thousands pro Xbox websites will rate it like we all know, with a perfect 10. Sites like ign, gamespot, for example, they are forced to give it a 10, no matter how many flaws the game has. It’s their job to make Microsoft sell games, and halo 4, even if it comes with stereo sour only, sub hd , like 900*500, with a shitty story, repetitive stuff, ugly textures, bad lighting, etc etc, the reviewer will still give it a 10, because, well, we all know why.and all this buzz + the fact Xbox gamers get almost no games ever year, almost no new IPs, they will all buy halo 4. While ps3 adults who do have a job and don’t get the ps3 thanks to dad, all these different tastes and interests, mixed up with the countless games released every year, it simply alienates the whole thing, and even big exclusive games don’t sell 10 millions or more, because of almost too much choice.choice.

    I ask you a question, Xbox guys, after halo 4, and until the next cod comes out in November 2013,along the map packs, to keep kidzzzzz busy, tell me, what games, I mean good exclusive games are going to be released on the Xbox, during 2013? 20? 10? 5? 2?
    And will those games look better than a last of us, or a god f war 4, or the new game from the guys from heavy rain, and many many more exclusives that are yet to be announced. Please, I wanna know which new IPs will Microsoft serve you, next year.

    Microsoft spoiled all the pleasure this generation, with their greed. Buying exclusives, is all they did. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft pays like 50-80 million $, so gta5 goes exclusive. So easy, to spend all those millions.
    And then you have bullshit like skyrim dlcs. I would bet anything I have that it went like this:
    Microsoft to Bethesda: hey guys, how much do you estimate the ps3 dlc total sales?
    Bethesda: mmm, we would say, about 10 million $.
    Microsoft: ok,let’s make a deal, we pay you 12M $, for the estimated ps3 sales, and you find something, like too complicated to do on the ps3, bla bla bla, and you don’t release the dlc.
    Bethesda: ok, its fine for us. we will put the ps3 dlc team working on another extension for the x360.
    Microsoft: mmmmm, so good to work with you.

    Meanwhile, on the ps3 skyrim forums:
    Hey guys, let’s make a collective buy, and get thousands of cream, our asses are hurting so much.

    I understand why Sony stopped folding at home, who needs to fold proteins, when you have a 10/10 halo 4 out there, that can heal people?

  13. mike October 26, 2012 |

    I’m glad I come here 24 hours later and find no answer about 2013 Xbox releases.
    And no ‘Sony is dead, Microsoft is the bezzzzt’

    At least, I’m glad knowing one day, all these guys that praise Microsoft, today, and keep saying that its normal to pay 60$ a year just to play online, one day, these guys will know the meaning of working hard to earn money, and will feel like Microsoft raped them, stealed them, disrespected them, as customers, selling rrod ready consoles, and will grab a 80$ ps3, with 10 ‘old games’, like uncharteds,last of us, gods of war, etc, for 9$ each, in the bargain bin, and they will say ‘holy shit, how could I be that dumb, only playing halos and gears and forzas and cod, for 10 whole f#cling years.’
    And they will regret the times they wanted Sony to disappear,because many new techs they have will have been made by the bad, the evil, Sony.
    Just before posting this comment, I watched a great 3d movie, on my 3d tv.
    Yeah guys, ask who did bet on tv technology? Who did fight for the bluray format I used? Microsoft?
    No, Sony. It’s not a question of being a fanboy, its a matter of future proof technologies that improve all those little pleasures, in our lives.its about comfort, about choice.about reliable products(2-3% failure rate for ps3, =>50% for x360,just an example).
    This,xbox guys, its too complicated for you to understand. As long as you get you new map pack for cod, life is perfect. But one day, you will grow up, and see the light. And see a powerful ps4, giving you insane games to play, or some bluray xl movies at 4k, on your 4k tv. And meanwhile, Microsoft will be buying cod, gta5 and skyrim 2 exclusivity, while still stealing you 60 bucks for playing online. 😉
    Wait and see. And you will see Sony is not dead, and you all will dream of a perfect console/media hub called ps4.

    And the day you will see an uncharted 4 , a god of war 5, a gran turismo 6, an infamous 3, a lbp3, and dozens of incredible games, running on the ps4, you will hate Microsoft.

  14. Cloud December 4, 2012 |

    I own both Gears of War 3 and Halo 4. Anyone saying GOW graphics are on par with Halo must be blind. The anti-alising in Gears is non-existant and clipping is just plain pathetic. Zoom in on any map and you will see horrible low-res textures everywhere. They just get ‘hidden’ due to the lighting system GOW3 uses. Which I do admit, is good.

    But the graphics in Halo are simply in a league of their own. How on earth they managed that on the 360 I’ll never know. I’ve seen high end PC games in motion and I can’t honestly say they are any better than what I’ve seen in Halo thus far. I’m sure, technically the PC games are a little prettier, but the difference is negligible.

    What I want from next-gen consoles are longer, more immersive games with smarter A.I. As far as graphics are concerned, I’m happy with what we already have. Halo 4 is a pure deight to look at

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