If Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski has his way, video games will feature the same quality and realism found in the blockbuster film "Avatar."
"I'm sorry, do you think graphics are good enough?" Bleszinski asked in an interview published yesterday in the Official Xbox Magazine. "No they're not! The Xbox 360 is great, we've pushed it further than we ever have with Gears of War 3, but I want 'Avatar' in real-time and beyond. I want fully realistic CG, and are we there? Absolutely not. I think there's absolutely room for improvement."
Bleszinski's company, Epic Games, just released Gears of War 3, one of the most visually stunning games ever released. He went on to tell the magazine that graphics don't "make gameplay." However, as the last several years have shown with increasingly beautiful games hitting store shelves, graphics do matter quite a bit.
Although Bleszinski's mention of James Cameron's 2009 "Avatar" might have been coincidental, it's worth mentioning that this is the second time this year that the film has been included in a discussion that at least relates to Microsoft's Xbox platform. Neal Robison, Advanced Micro Device's director of ISV relationship management, told Official Xbox Magazine in July that he believes the next version of Microsoft's console will come "pretty darn close" to matching the graphical sophistication of "Avatar."
Robison is certainly in a place to know what the next device might offer. His company has a strong relationship with Microsoft's gaming division, and there is some speculation that it could be powering the components in Microsoft's next console.
The only question is, when will Microsoft release that console? So far, the company isn't talking, but earlier this year, gaming blog Kotaku cited sources who said that the software giant would be launching the next Xbox in 2014. Kotaku said that Sony will also be launching the next PlayStation that year.
Nintendo, on the other hand, has already committed to launching a follow-up to the Wii next year. The new console, called the Wii U, will feature a new touchscreen-based controller to enhance gameplay, and unlike its predecessor, will support HD gaming. However, the Wii U is only expected to match the graphical quality of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
A Microsoft representative told CNET today that the company would not comment on specific rumor or speculation but would say: "As an innovator we're always thinking about what is next and how we can push the boundaries of technology like we did with Kinect. We believe the key to extending the lifespan of a console is not just about the console hardware, but about the games and entertainment experiences being delivered to consumers."
Updated at 8:35 a.m. PT to fix spelling in Cliff Bleszinski's last name and to add comment from Microsoft.