Video Games To Be Photorealistic In One Decade, Claims Studio Exec

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Red Dead Redemption, Death Stranding characters

For anyone even close to the gaming sphere, it's all over the news: getting a PS5 is near impossible, let alone an Xbox Series X. Scalpers have even taken to selling the consoles for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars above their original value. Needless to say the next generation of gaming is here, and everyone is excited. Just the notion of what these new machines can do is astounding. From ray-traced shadows, lighting, and reflections, to instantaneous loading that could lead to more organic and open worlds, the possibilities are endless.

It goes without saying that alongside all of that, the simple idea of character models improving is always something people look forward to from generation to generation. Comparisons between the capabilities of even the late PS4 Pro/Xbox One X against a PS3/Xbox 360 are staggering.

Players haven't gotten too much of a glimpse of what this new generation can do in that regard, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say it will be more impressive than anything seen previously. In fact, if one of gaming's top CEO's prediction is correct, then players may only be a short time away from achieving total photorealism.


Speaking at the UBS Global TMT Virtual Conference, Take-Two Interactive's CEO Strauss Zelnick commented on what the future may bring. Zelnick believes that the industry could be only ten years away from complete photorealism in gaming:

“And I can't quite say what that will involve, but I think what you're going to see is technology will allow our creative folks to do things they've never been able to do before, including make games that look exactly like live-action.”

Zelnick continued on, praising what the industry is currently capable of, but pointing to the future and the possibilities of what it will bring:

“Some of what we do now looks a lot like live-action, but it's still animation. In 10 years, you'll have the option if you want to make things that look completely realistic, all done inside a computer, never mind all the other advances technology will enable.”


Cinematic gaming experiences have been a focus in many games over the years, and will continue to be as the industry moves into the future of gaming. This doesn't just end with the storytelling at work, but it expands into how a game looks and feels on every level. What has been achieved up to this point has been astounding. From the realistic character models in The Last Of Us Part II to the incredible lighting and atmosphere that Demon Souls (PS5) brings, even in today's generation it's hard not to be blown away sometimes.

Just imagine what games will look like if Strauss Zelnick's prediction comes true. With higher frame rates, more computing power, and far more enhanced algorithms, we could in fact get to the point where players are all but looking through a window while during gameplay. It would be nothing short of playing and controller characters inside a movie. Take all of that, and then further apply it to potential applications in VR games and programs--then players may just enter that futuristic era that only exists in stories.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.