"huge mistake" for developers to only devote focus on improving visuals - animation must advance.
You might get "super great graphics" and "end up in the uncanny valley," but animation would fall short. The same applies to AI and behaviour - it looks good but makes "stupid decisions".
Merceron notes the industry is "a bit divided" between those who say "graphics are good enough" and others who say they can "really push graphics."
"Focusing on graphics only would be a huge mistake. You start to have super great graphics, characters look really good and you end up in the uncanny valley, but you don't have animation at the same quality level. Same thing with behavior and AI; it animates well and looks good, but it is making stupid decisions," Julien Merceron said in an interview.
"It simply won't be immersive."
"So focusing on graphics only is a big mistake. People will need to focus on animation, and I believe our Philosophy demo is highlighting that, but also on the AI and physics too. So all of these aspects will be extremely important and we can't forget to talk about online because we definitely see that whether it is synchronous or asynchronous multiplayer, it definitely is adding a lot to the games. Whether it is social features with your friends or playing and watching your friends play, if you look at the web, which is an important platform for us, that is definitely a domain where we want to innovate."
The creepiness of the 'Uncanny Valley' will "always be a problem."
"As you push something, you have to recalibrate and rebalance these out. You can't have these stunning graphics while characters are acting funny on the screen. My point is more in terms of immersion. When we put you out of the game, that gives you a chance to put the controller down and you might not come back. So you don't want to break the immersion."
Merceron continued: "You want to get the players in the world, suck them in and then make sure that there are as little problems as possible to make them stay. The gameplay needs to be involving, the environment needs to be immersive, and the characters need to be full of emotions so you are totally sucked into the experience. This is why we have this role of balancing all these things so we end up with something that is consistent and works well."
Check out thebetween Julien Merceron and Gamesindusty.biz, discussing the Uncanny Valley. See below for Square Enix’s latest tech demo entitled 'Agni's Philosophy' showcasing their Luminous Engine.