Number of on screen characters no longer a focus

We remember a long time ago interviewing George Andreas in Tokyo 2005 asking him about the game Kameo Elements of Power and how the forthcoming Xbox 360 provided them (Rare) the power to create more believable worlds filled with far more characters on screen at any one time. Kameo was one such game that allowed developers Rare to create massive battlegrounds filled with animated monsters. The game was certainly something different compared to the slew of Dynasty Warriors games that had previously ruled the roost when it came to numbers on screen. There was also another game at the time N3 99 Nights which also boasted large numbers of characters on screen at any given time. In 2005 numbers of polygons was the buzz word.


Even though Dynasty Warriors and games like Kingdom Under Fire boasted lots of enemies on the older last gen hardware, it’s interesting how times have changed where there’s less focus on how many polygons can be rendered at any one time. It seems game development has changed, as have gamers expectations where large numbers of on screen enemies is no longer the focus.

Dead Rising prided itself on the number of zombies shuffling about on screen, and when compared to Resident Evil 3, the differences are quite stark. However, Left 4 Dead proved that current systems could produce many fast moving enemies on screen at once without breaking a sweat. That said, with games now offering more focused experiences, and developers using better techniques, it’s interesting that there’s less emphasis on the numbers and more on the finer details. Assassin’s Creed III proves that vast numbers of characters can easily be rendered on screen at once, creating epic looking battles, but will this direction continue into next generation gaming, or will the attention shift to how well detailed textures hold up of characters and inanimate surfaces. Are developers going to be striving more for improved realism, via better animations, models and texture details, and are gamers going to expect it – the numbers no longer a factor. Will the epic nature of massive pitched battles be shunned for a more detailed personal experience such as greater singular boss enemies and such like. The days of worrying about how many polygons can be rendered are most certainly a thing of the past it seems.


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.