Minecraft creator slaps down Bioshock publisher over photorealism-makes-better claims

"Until games are photorealistic, it'll be very hard to open up to new genres."

In one of this week's bigger facepalmers, 2K Games boss Christoph Hartmann reckons it's damned-near impossible to "open up to new genres" which tap the "whole range of emotions" without true photorealism.

"Recreating a Mission Impossible experience in gaming is easy," he told GI. "Recreating emotions in Brokeback Mountain is going to be tough, or at least very sensitive in this country... it will be very hard to create very deep emotions like sadness or love, things that drive the movies.


"Until games are photorealistic, it'll be very hard to open up to new genres. We can really only focus on action and shooter titles; those are suitable for consoles now."

"To dramatically change the industry to where we can insert a whole range of emotions, I feel it will only happen when we reach the point that games are photorealistic; then we will have reached an endpoint and that might be the final console."

It's difficult to know where to start with statements like these, other than by seizing the nearest copy of Bioshock and chewing it savagely. One, artworks don't necessarily gain emotional resonance the more they resemble reality, or people wouldn't be writing books about Picasso, Van Gogh and Goya. Two, an obsession with visual fidelity is arguably one of the things that cramps the capacity for creative thinking, as it's costly to achieve and thus contributes to stupidly unfeasible break-even points which make publishers reluctant to experiment with unproven ideas.

If nothing else, you'd have thought Hartmann would heed the example of 2K's own Borderlands, a game spared death at retail by the eleventh hour introduction of a cell-shaded art style.

I'm no developer, of course, but Notch is and he agrees. "No, Christoph, you LIMIT the number of new genres if you focus on photorealism," the Minecraft creator Tweeted this morning, adding "I had way more emotions playing Proteus than I ever did playing any 2K game."

You take it from here.