Reading an article NowGamer published, I started thinking if we have had too much of good graphics ?
Sam Bandah provides a good argument, one that I agree with. Not only in games, a visual bias does exist wherever you look. The world's highest grossing movie if all time 'Avatar' was the most vitally stunning movie I have ever seen, but the story ? That was nothing new.
Another movie, Legend Of The Guardians, had amazing CG work but if I ignored the graphical feast, it wouldn't be as entertaining.
We, I believe, have reached the plateau of the graphics curve. Quake 1, 2 and 3, Warcraft 1,2 and 3, these games had huge differences in their graphics, but when you see today's games, how different do you find them ?
Assassin's Creed was a game lauded by everyone for it's amazing visuals, but if you jump to the gameplay section of any of it's reviews, you will find the reviewers considerably less enthusiastic. Pushing the envelope is a good thing, but compromising gameplay and story for how well a game looks is not. Plus, the way games have been getting shorter and shorter, it results in less VFM for the gamers. The video game industry relies on games looking more real (because of our inherent bias that nice looks means actually fun ?) and that kinda explains the hype that is built up around games before launch, but eventually fall short. The same phenomenon is creeping into the mobile gaming industry, Epic Games' Infinity Blade, rightly called the best looking game on mobile devices, is among the most linear games I have ever played. Same is the case with Rage HD. Sure, my eyeballs love them, but they get boring after a while. People bought them for the hype and the artwork, which satisfies them initially but the lack of other elements gets bugging quick.
Game Studios need to realize that while a game's graphics are important, they are there to only augment the fun. Spending a little less on graphics and more on gameplay would surely make a difference. Games like Little Big Planet, Bioshock etc. show that it's possible to be make a game which looks good and remains fun to play. Half life 2 and it's episodes are excellent examples as well. The Valve devs already had the Source engine and once they knew they had graphics good enough, they spent time on the story, developing the characters, optimizing the engine and ensuring a smooth experience. The upside of using the same engine was that gamers didn't need a new rig for every game ( Crysis anyone ?). I am not saying that graphics are killing innovation, but that a balance needs to be struck between graphics, gamplay and story for a game to achieve greatness. We have had the graphics revolution, now we need a content revolution too.
In the end, all I wanna say to the developers is that, we are happy with the level of graphics we have, give us games with better stories, gameplay and characters. Make them fun, so that we keep returning not only for the multiplayer but for the exciting single player that your game has.