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What's Next For Games Instead of Better Textures? - Destructoid

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My name is Ben, I'm an aspiring journalist from the UK. I run a YouTube channel by the name of TheYouthfuls, covering a variety of PC titles, from the indie to the triple A! I aim to inform, give opinions and entertain whenever possible. If you read any of my articles then thank you, I'm always open to feedback and criticism. I'd also appreciate following to keep up to date with all my latest articles!
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With the release of the PS4 and Xbox One drawing near, there's a lot of talk about what we want from it and what developers are going to do in order to take advantage of this much needed hardware upgrade. But what can we hope to get out of these new endeavours that isn't a simple upgrade in textures?

Improved Particles and Lighting

In the gameplay demos we've seen thus far, there's been a focus on the very impressive particle effects, namely in inFamous Second Son. Delsin has a slue of new abilities, although only smoke has been shown, with that comes incredible particles, all glow-y red and such! It makes the powers much more fascinating to discover and use, I honestly want to see what they look like, just as much as what they do. Knack also displays the particle possibilities of the PS4, with Knack being made up of a ton of gold-plated Toblerones! These appear to grow in size and amount, being the core gimmick of the game, it's a cute little thing, with a dark side from what I've heard. It's always great to see people making fun, casual games for launch titles that don't waste the new possibilities that come with more power.



Furthermore, lighting in games will most definitely improve. Already, Hitman Absolution, Metro Last Light and a few other PC games have given us a taste of next-gen lighting. With coloured light reflecting off of other surfaces: Agent 47's shiny head makes for a perfect lens flare effect when exposed to the sun. Metro Last Light was especially prominent in showing off lens flares, particle effects and overall some of the best lighting in any game. It added a lot to the immersion and atmosphere, so to see console gamers finally get that excites me. No longer will we see jagged shadows on almost every console title, unless it's a massive open world I believe.

Even though I'm a PC gamer, I play consoles from time to time and the next generation only means better ports and games that will take full advantage of our modern hardware. Square Enix in particular has done a fantastic job with their ports, going above and beyond on what many publishers neglect. The new Unreal Engine is paving the way for new lighting and particles, and it's look good.

Bigger Crowds, Better A.I.

Crowds are something that detract from many games, it breaks the illusion of a bustling city, Hitman Absolution has had success in this department, but at the cost of many NPCs being clones of one another. Some games that could benefit with larger and more dynamic crowds are BioShock Infinite, Sleeping Dogs and The Witcher 2. The magical world of Columbia was ruined in some parts for me, with ridiculously small crowds for a city in it's prime.


Fairly sparse for a huge fair, isn't it?


I hope that the A.I. of these crowds will also improve; we can see that Watch_Dogs might have some of the most dynamic A.I. we've seen in an open world game. If it's pulled off as well as it looks, then we may be seeing the future of artificial intelligence in games.

Larger, Detailed Open Worlds

The game that stands out to me in this aspect is The Witcher 3: sporting a massive world that appears to be just as detailed as The Witcher 2. I just hope that it can also correct the main problem with Skyrim, that being a lack of interesting story or characters, if CD Projekt Red are able to create something that comes close to that, we're in for a very, very special game. The devs have proven themselves in the semi-linear RPG genre before, but to craft a world of that scale, whilst filling it with the same amount of quality as their previous games is a tall order.



Utilising the Cloud and Always Online

Forza 5 is already using the cloud to improve the A.I. Of the drivers, making them more like you by studying the way you drive, they call it a 'drive-atar'... yes it's possibly the dumbest thing ever. The whole 'Xbox 180' doesn't mean that every game on it (or the PS4 for that matter) is guaranteed to run offline. Expect companies to use the excuse of 'the power of the cloud!' to enforce always online on to their games. It's surprising that we're already getting into this with Forza and TitanFall, well before developers have had time to tap into the full potential of this new technology. I'm curious if we really need some of it, although it would be nice to see a graphics option in more console games, one that produces higher resolution textures, or further render distances if you connect to the servers.

More Players

Pretty obvious one here, Battlefield 4 will finally have 64 players on the console, while still being able to handle the immense destruction. I wonder what advantages the PC version will have other than the usual graphical enhancements now that the consoles have finally caught up. With a beautiful engine like Frostbite running all of these players at once, expect to see many more games featuring the ability to play with many more people.



Now that GTA V has teased the huge multiplayer for PS3 and 360, the fact that Rockstar are able to do that on this generation of systems is insane. It makes me all the more excited to see what talented teams like them have in store for next-gen. We'll also be seeing the MMO genre expand into consoles much better with the added power, games like Final Fantasy XIV, Elder Scrolls Online and Planetside 2 and more are coming. So it should be interesting to see how well they will function non-PC systems...

And much more...

There's no way that I've listed all the awesome developments coming our way as we finally move out of this stagnant generation, so if you have any more ideas, please let me know down below!

P.S. If someone could tell me how I get rid of annoying code next to underlined sections then I'd appreciate it! I lean towards GiantBomb because of these problems...
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