Do graphics and scale matter that much to you if it means the games will take twice as long to come out?

So after writing into the podcast tonight about my frustrations with the pace that Bethesda puts out Fallout and Elder Scrolls. It made me think of how much of that has to do with these titles trying to push graphical fidelity, maybe not to an impressive way with Bethesda games generally, but they are upgrades nonetheless, and the overall scale of the game.

If you gave me the choice of a new Elder Scrolls that looked like a 360 graphically still, and the size of the world was roughly the same. I would be perfectly happy.

Or if whatever Mass Effect 5 is, I’ll take it looking like Mass Effect 3 and being about as big as that universe is, if it means I can have it sooner. Because I care more about the gameplay and story than I do about the scope and visuals, no matter how pretty they are. I would say the same even for visual feasts like Uncharted. If they all looked like Uncharted 2 still, I would perfectly okay with that.

I know there is more to a game than graphics and size that can complicate development. Systems, and complex A.I. also play a role. But my point is I don’t need these games to try and reinvent themselves to be fun and worth my time and money.

I don’t expect Breath of the Wild 2 to be bigger let alone look better and it won’t. That game will likely still resonate with most people in the end too.

If developers want to push those limits that’s fine, but I would also be okay if they just made fun games and didn’t feel like they needed to change the formula if the dish was already great.


Thanks for making this…

As being a primary Gamepass player… I want a sudden shift in game development

I want games which can be produced in 2 years at max

I want the graphics to be next gen… So won’t accept compromise on that front. Hence, no to your question w.r.t graphics

But… Couldn’t care if the experience is 5,10,15 or more hours… I would prefer smaller games in terms of length of the campaign. 15 hours max… This could help bring games on time for the two year release cycle without compromising the graphics.

Yes to both. Graphics especially. Scale as long as it makes sense for the game and universe.

I’m all for graphics improving as needed, but not at the cost of other elements. I don’t need drastic improvements from mid last-gen. Games that looked great then still look great now.

Scope depends on the quality of the content. If Arkane, BGS, Insomniac, Intelligent Systems, etc. want to make bigger games, I’ll trust their judgement given the quality of their content. Otherwise, I like games to be in the 9-15 hour mark, shorter if budget or Game Pass. Every hour above the 15 is a case of required justification. It needs to be worth the time invested or I will probably retire your game.

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Up until this point I was pretty much with you. I wouldn’t mind some graphical improvements beyond 360, maybe going into the Xbox One gen. But I certainly have reached the point where I’m very happy with how things look. More than happy. I was listening to a podcast where they were overall praising Halo Infinite, but complained that they wanted better graphics. I don’t understand that at all. I most certainly don’t need games to look better than that, and would happily accept games that look a bit worse, too.

Where you lost me is the above quoted paragraph. I definitely want better and better A.I. going forward. To again use Halo Infinite as an example, those soldiers that follow you around sometime use dialogue that doesn’t make sense for the situation. And more than once have they not gotten out of my way, and I end up pushing them in front of me for a few steps. And once I accidentally dropped a Warthog on one of them, and one of his comrades said something about the Banished running him over.

So yeah, if A.I. development is what’s causing these delays, I’m fine with waiting. There’s enough games in a similar vein that I haven’t yet played, that they will keep me busy for a while. A few weeks ago I finished Outer Worlds, at some point soon I’ll give FallOut: New Vegas a go for the first time, and I also haven’t tried Outer Wilds. I’m sure there’s plenty more that I missed the first time around that will keep me busy until 11/11 and beyond. :slight_smile:

I don’t think this is realistic tbh, not while keeping a high quality bar. Things just take too much time.

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There is a reason developers “pixel push” at the expense of performance because to the general public → shiny realistic graphics is a major draw over anything else.

I have talked about every specific development here… And what I hope for.

I clearly don’t have any idea if development is possible in 2 years or not.

I’m not one who really cares about graphics that much but for a game released in 2022 or later 360 level graphics would never be okay for 90% of people, including me.

For RPGs sub 40 hour games don’t work for me at all, for Bethesda Game Studios, I’m not sure that sub 80 hour games would be okay for me. . Ninja Theory, Compulsion, The Coalition, 343, and some other studios can make those short games, but I don’t want BGS, Obsidian, inXile, Bioware, Playground(for Fable) turning their games into some 2 or 3 day experience.

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I expect the vast majority of AAA games (especially if it’s open world) to take at least 5 years minimum between pre-production and release. As long as the game has amazing current generation visuals, I have no problem waiting. As for the scale, I prefer smaller open world games that are more dense and filled with stuff to do as opposed to an open world that is just too damn freaking huge and takes minutes to get where you want to go but that’s highly unlikely unless the game is linear or wide linear.

I would happily take a return to Xbox 360-level graphics if it meant 3-year development cycles for games, especially big RPGs. 1000%.

How spoiled we were to get 3 Mass Effects, 2 Dragon Ages, 2 Fallouts, 2 Elder Scrolls, on and on, in one console generation. Now these are one per generation, if that.

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I don’t mind waiting for any QoL improvements to a game in development.

With how many games I have in my backlog and how many are just out in general, I really find it hard to believe there isn’t something out there for all of us to play while we wait for each game in production (aside from casual gamers that may not dip into anything outside of their comfort zones).


I think it works both ways. Bethesda games have been on very similar development cadences for decades going back to Morrowind. The majority of their development time is not full production. It’s laying the groundwork for the systems, lore, dialog, tech, etc…and then bringing it all together in a couple of years of full production. I’d be wary of messing with the development pipelines Todd Howard has established there.

On the other hand, I’m grown fatigued of games being big for the sake of being big. If you’re going to go big to add a sense of immersion the way Bethesda games do, then continue to up the anty on immersion. Continue to make those worlds look and feel more real. More dynamic. Bethesda games generally set themselves apart at the times of their release for that type of immersion whereas I don’t feel a lot of today’s big games have a real purpose behind their scope. Many games seem to go big not because it’s needed to immerse you, it’s to keep you engaged. My playthrough of AC 20 to 30 hours in usually feels like the playthrough 10 to 20 hours in nearly every way.

Making visuals technically prettier only goes so far…and I think good art goes further. Yes, I miss games like the OG Mass Effect trilogy. It felt like every side story was meaningful and individually handcrafted. I played Mass Effect 2 and 3 for the first time last year. Not only did those games hold up, but they were also among the best experiences I ever had in gaming. I experienced Dark Souls for the first time last generation. Dark Souls 1 is among the best and most engaging games I played on the Xbox One. I played Gears 2 and 3 for the first time last gen…and both were better rides and more enjoyable than the technically superior Gears 4 and 5. Last of Us 1 was a superior experience for me both in pacing and enjoyment over LoU2. I played Last of Us 1 for the first time only three years before the sequel so it wasn’t nostalgia speaking. Technology and more stuff don’t make games good.

Great game design, gameplay, music, voice acting, and writing will outshine bigger and technically more impressive…for me…most of the time. There’s always room for exceptions though.

LTTP here, but have recently watched the latest matrix and my thoughts on it seemed to fit here.

As IMO the scale and levels of graphics polish needed depends on the game. Many games out there do not need massive scale and gfx polish to be incredible experiences but some absolutely do. For some the scale and gfx fidelity contribute a vital factor to the experience.

Which is where my matrix analogy comes in (no spoilers).

Ignoring the diabolical plot the most disappointing aspect of the new movie are the fight scenes.

The “bullet time” filming techniques and the look that gave to the scenes is an integral part of what made the matrix films.

In resurrections they claim to have updated the filming method to make it more gritty and real but in reality they used a cheaper and quicker technique (for obvious reasons; sequel many years later, smaller budget, less certain of success) and the effect is nothing like the OG movies. For me it completely lost it’s USP or identity right there.

And I think it’s the same for some game series, would an uncharted or tomb raider game feel the same with massive cut backs to the scale or fidelity? Not for me.