game news God of War, Uncharted, Control… What were the games like when they were first developed?
You’ve probably seen this trend happen: Video game developers tweet clips and screenshots of their biggest early development successes. A movement initiated by the leaks of GTA 6, scrutinized by some Internet users dissatisfied with the appearance of the title that was however shown in a version dated in 2019. Control, Zelda, IMMORTALITY… a brief summary of what was shown.
CONTROL: placeholders before graphics
One of the initiators of the new movement called “graphics are the first thing to finish in a video game” is Paul Ehreth, lead designer of Remedy’s award-winning game Control. For your understanding, this completely tongue-in-cheek quote is in response to a comment posted about the discovery of early GTA 6 footage: “If you knew how game development works, you would know that graphics are one of the first things that get done.“. Absurd, according to Paul Ehreth who did not stop responding:
Since graphics are the first things finished in a video game and CONTROL has won many awards for its graphics excellence, here are some early development images. -Paul Ehreth
Generous enough, the man still shares an almost 4-minute YouTube video in which we can observe the game’s heroine progressing through various environments far from complete.. A completely fascinating video as it is unusual to be able to access footage of ambitious games so early in their development phase. Here, the game is full of placeholders: a technique of replacing graphics with simple shapes, just for scaling, while refining other details like gameplay. Jesse explores gray areas and uses barely outlined projectiles that say “throw me” on them.
The same for Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War and Uncharted, the giants of PlayStation
On the Guerrilla side, developers don’t always prioritize graphics either. An older version of Stormjaw (shared a few years ago on PlayStation Blog), one of the most dangerous machines in Horizon: Zero Dawn, was shown on Twitter. Seen this way, it naturally seems much less terrifying. Each brick represents a different part that could be targeted. Cian Maher, the video game journalist who republished the image, explains: “By the way, yes, it is a weapon, it was prototyped using Killzone assets, as the games only see it as the finished product at an extremely late stage of development. We are in 2022, how is it not obvious?“.
Also, Maher takes the opportunity to slip in an old clip that is just as revealing: the one from the first boss fight against Baldur in God of War (2018), where the trees still just rest on an empty bed.
I mean, in GTA 4 (2008) you could land a helicopter on a lake because the physics of the water reacted to the lift produced by the blades. If you really think something Rockstar is working on will be less polished than GTA 5, I don’t know what to tell you. Desperate.
For his part, Kurt Margenau, co-lead designer on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, shares a chase sequence with Nathan Drake that is also far from complete.
Sea of Thieves was quite different
Jeph Pérez, author of Rare, also participated in the movement by showing very old images of what Sea of Thieves was at that time. And as you can see, he has absolutely nothing to do with the current state of the game. The render is from 2014 and was running on Unity. The exact date of the video is also specified: it was November 11, the day during which Phil Spencer himself came to hang out in the studio before tweeting: “Today I played the new Rare game. Rare building a unique Rare game, the way it should be. Great visit to the workshop.“Obviously, he already seemed quite convinced.
This is Sea of Thieves footage from November 2014. An update on the first pill pirates, but still a work in progress. I was using Unity for more agile and iterative testing, whereas work on Unreal at the time was very early, with the goal of creating the reveal trailer. pic.twitter.com/yIPLtBLIUv
— Jeph Perez (@rare_fanatic) September 20, 2022
IMMORTALITY goes a long way
In the indies, it’s the same. The creator of the best-selling FMV game, Sam Barlow, shared a pretty funny image of what his latest Immortality game looked like at first before comparing the prototype to the finished product. The author jokes:“Graphics are the first thing you finish in a video game.” FYI, this is what IMMORTALITY looked like for the first 2 years when we focused on the balance between AI and combat gameplay compared to how it was delivered.” Simple shapes are drawn to decide the positioning of the characters in the room. Released just a few weeks ago, IMMORTALITY turns out to be a true gem of storytelling and staging.
To close this selection of images, we offer you this small anthology of indie games, including the recent Cult of the Lamb. The cute animals of Cult of the Lamb once seemed so much more, while the textures lacked detail.… And you may have noticed, but the hero was once a rabbit and not a sheep. Surprise.
If you take a look at Twitter, you’ll also see Dicey Dungeons, Thirsty Suitors (which hasn’t been released yet), or Soda Story, which, as you can see, uses assets from the Don’t Starve game to run its prototype. Quite a common practice in the industry, which of course requires you to remember to delete others’ images before completing the project.
#God #War #Uncharted #Control.. #games #developed