By Abbey Knupp
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo in July 2013, two of the biggest names in the video game circuit breached the surface of war upon the display of their newest platforms. Sony took to the stage with the Playstation 4 and Microsoft displayed the Xbox One. While Sony seemed to sweep the stage, anticipation for the Xbox One has grown to equal height. Both platforms are set to launch in November 2013.
Each console offers many new features, though the most intriguing for both is the platform’s ability to connect with the player, mostly through the remote. The new Playstation remote will feature a touchpad, which will allow players to interact with the games in new ways. The remote for the Xbox One is embedded with a new impulse trigger that will give the player instant feedback to enhance their playing experience.
The new features seek to bring video games to life in ways that have never been attempted before. As companies develop new ways to involve the player in the game, the artistic elements combine to make the game look and feel more realistic, ultimately drawing the player into the virtual worlds.
The art, storytelling, and construction of video games have slowly evolved from their conception. A startling contrast is evident when viewing graphics of older games in comparison with their newer counterparts. Many games–though not all–have exchanged the blocky, pixelated graphics that were once standard for refined, semi-realistic interpretations. The beeping and mechanical noises have also been replaced with realistic sounds and rich orchestral music that could tell a story on its own.
One of the best examples of this steady evolution is the bestselling franchise Tomb Raider. The game features Lara Croft, an archaeologist who battles malevolent forces on her hunt for ancient treasures. Apparent shifts in style and quality can be seen from simple screenshots of the oldest game, which debuted in 1996, in comparison to the newest game that launched in 2012.
In the newest installment, the developers paid careful attention to detail as they crafted Lara and her setting to ensure that the audience could connect with her and insert themselves into her shoes. To create a character rich enough to accomplish that affect, game creators must utilize motion capture actors, voice actors, face models, and the animators who tie all of the pieces together. The setting, music, and story also help shape the character and draw the player into the game.
Square Enix, the current developer of Tomb Raider, has already announced their plan to continue the series on the new consoles due to the positive response gained by the newest installment. Fans are excited to see what the features of the new platforms will contribute to the franchise and how the artistic elements of the game will morph with the new technology.
Though it’s hard to imagine the caliber of games that could top this year’s contenders for the prestigious title of “Game of the Year,” which includes contenders like Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, and Grand Theft Auto V, the release of the new platforms promise a new wave of games with a whole new set of exciting features. When news like this sweeps the video game circuit, players of all types eagerly wait to see the changes. Whether or not the artistic aspect is their biggest concern, most gamers will find at least one moment in game that is so visually stunning they have to sit back and take it in for a moment… or at least until the next wave of villains approach.
Whatever the new line of consoles has in store, it will be a long wait for video game lovers everywhere until their release in November.