We take a look at the titles with the most impressive graphics of the past twelve months as they fight for a Develop Award
BEYOND: TWO SOULS
Beyond: Two Souls represents the pinnacle of Quantic Dream’s achievements in the visual arts thus far, the culmination of 14 years spent creating, refining and perfecting the studio’s proprietary motion capture facilities and tools.
Drawing on the acting talents of Academy Award nominees Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, Beyond: Two Souls was entirely shot in Quantic Dream’s own high-tech studio over the course of a year. Every second of movement in Beyond, cut from dozens of hours of footage, is drawn from motion capture.
Beyond: Two Souls set a new standard for visual fidelity and expression on PlayStation 3, outstripping what was previously thought possible and strengthening Quantic Dreams’ reputation as a leading force in digital visual arts.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V
Grand Theft Auto V’s Los Santos and Blaine County - fictional representations of Los Angeles and the surrounding countryside - are unmatched in terms of scale and detail, a giant leap over previous entries in a series known for its world-building.
From the gang-infested poverty of Grove Street to the upscale mansions of Mulholland, all the way out to the trailer parks of Sandy Shores, the range of GTA V’s artistic vision is astounding, helping to create a living, breathing world represented in vibrant detail.
Combined with some market leading motion capture, Rockstar North’s ability to juggle GTA V’s huge scope with characterful specifics contributed to a game that pushed seventh generation hardware to its limits. GTA V is a masterpiece in artistic design.
KILLZONE: SHADOW FALL
The Dutch studio Guerrilla Games has an enviable track record of delivering platform-defining visuals, a tradition it continued last year with the PlayStation 4 launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall.
Killzone: Shadow Fall impresses with realistically drawn character models, gorgeous cityscapes, exquisite ship interiors and verdant forests, excelling in each of the game’s varied settings. Supporting crystal clear 1080p visuals, every scene boasts jaw-dropping detail.
Also displaying some impressive lighting effects, particle effects and cloth physics, Killzone: Shadow Fall is an artistically and technically accomplished title, ably showcasing the capabilities of the PlayStation 4 while staking a claim for most visually impressive console game ever. Guerrilla Games’ abilities continue to astound.
Tearaway arrived on PS Vita in 2013, asserting itself as one of the most visually distinct games on the platform.
Continuing a visual theme established by MediaMolecule with the LittleBigPlanet series, Tearaway offers a wonderfully tactile world made of paper and card.
Platforms furl and unfurl with a pleasing rustle, confetti and tall papery grass shifts in the breeze, and everything looks and behaves as it would if created with a few sheets of A4 and a craft knife.
It’s also wonderfully vibrant, a colourful and inviting world filled with detail and charm, proving imagination can be a powerful alternative to photorealism.
Helping to deliver MediaMolecule’s tale of creativity and storytelling in a delightfully characterful manner, Tearaway’s delightful visual style is a triumph.
Tengami merges traditional Japanese artistic sensibilities with the Western tradition of pop-up books to create an atmospheric iOS adventure game with a striking visual style.
Developed over the course of a year by Nyamyam, a small new British studio comprised of ex-Rare Games talent, Tengami’s art style is based on an extensive study of traditional Japanese crafts and materials, including washi (Japanese paper-making), ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) and kiri-e (Japanese paper cutting).
To achieve the game’s authentic look Nyamyam used scans of real Japanese papers, then cut and manipulated the planes digitally in much the same way as would be done by hand. The approach resulted in a gorgeous, visually distinct paper world for players to interact with and explore.
THE DARK EYE: MEMORIA
A classic point and click adventure game from the Hamburg, Germany-based studio Daedalic Entertainment, The Dark Eye: Memoria impresses visually with the use of a technique called “camera projection.”
Camera projection is a technique in which 2D graphics are projected onto 3D meshes in order to bring painted scenes to life. In the case of The Dark: Memoria, the painstaking and time-consuming technique helped to add vibrancy and depth to the game’s beautiful hand-drawn art.
Conjuring a world of forest mazes, huge fortresses and monolithic tombs, all infused with a dark atmospherics, The Dark Eye: Memoria is an impressive achievement, a brilliant combination of artistic talent and advanced techniques.
Released on PS Vita in early 2014, TxK represents the logical extension of legendary designer Jeff Minter’s experiments in what he calls the neo-retro arcade style.
Inspired by the limitations of vector graphics displays, Minter has explored the power of abstract geometric shapes for much of his career, an approach that reached its pinnacle with the vibrant abstraction of TxK. The aim, says Minter, is to transport you to another dimension. In that respect and more, TxK is a glowing success.
A razer-sharp, colourful and chaotic game that takes the phosphorus burn of yesteryear and transports it into the 21st century, TxK is an exercise in visual retrospection and cutting-edge futurism from a master of the form.
RYSE: SON OF ROME
Ryse: Son of Rome is the latest game to assert Crytek’s industry leading visual prowess, combining a detailed and fantastical world with award-winning performance capture to deliver a jaw-dropping next-gen experience.
Powered by Xbox One, Ryse: Son of Rome represents conflict in the Roman Empire like never before. Showcasing new advancements in performance capture enabled by CryEngine and Andy Serkis’ company The Imaginarium, Ryse allows for interaction with believably realistic characters that display highly detailed facial animations and show natural emotions.
Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful games ever released on console, Ryse: Son of Rome is a showcase for both the power of Xbox One and the abilities of a studio consistently capable of producing visually sumptuous titles.
About The Develop Awards
The 2014 Develop Awards will take place on Wednesday, July 9th at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Brighton, and recognises the best innovators and development talent in the UK and Europe.
If you want to attend, you can book single seats and standard or gold tables by contacting Kathryn.Humphrey@intentmedia.co.uk or calling 01992 535646.
There are multiple new awards this year, with a total of 24 prizes up for grabs, while PlayStation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny is 2014's Development Legend.
There is a host of big names backing this year's Develop Awards, including Crytek and Deep Silver as Platinum Partners, a slew of Gold Partners in UKIE, Amiqus, Keywords International, Codemasters, Perforce, Cubic Motion and Unity, Event Partners Wales Interactive, InnoGames and Tandem Events and Table Gift Partner OPM.
For more information on the sponsorship and partnership opportunities still available, contact Alex.Boucher@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535647.
You can find out more about the Develop Awards at the official Develop Awards website.