The Last of Us Part II Creative Director, Neil Druckmann views #HorizonZeroDawn as the game that "set the bar" for videogame graphics.
Druckmann further praised the game saying:
“The graphics are staggering. I don’t even think of it as graphics because I’m in the woods. I’m in this overgrown environment, and I’m like, “How are they getting so much foliage, such density in an open-world game”
The video below perfectly describes what Druckmann is talking about:
Just watch any trailer for Horizon and you're bound to feel a sense of awe. There's no doubt the environmental detail, fusion of new and old technology, and sheer scope of detail led the game to top sales charts everywhere (it also helped that reviews were favorable).
As for "setting a bar", well let's be honest, Horizon did. Its graphical prowess is to be admired and having Drukmann and the rest of the team at Naughty Dog setting their goals this high is exactly what we want to hear about the anticipated sequel.
Question is: can they do it?
The Last Of Us Part II Runs On A Completely New Engine
While Uncharted 4 is clearly another good looking game on a #Sony console, a recurring trend, The Last of Us Part II will run on a completely new engine.
When Horizon Zero Dawn was first announced, the original model of the PS4 was the only system available. While Horizon did have 4K support at launch, it's likely the game did not begin development with 4K tech.
The Last of Us: Part II has the distinct advantage over Horizon that development is only just beginning and a brand new engine will be used. In other words, Part II has started development with 4K technology already present at both the development and consumer level. Thus this new engine will begin with 4K at it's core.
The Last of Us Part II trailer at PSX was our first and only look at Naughty Dog's new engine:
Explaining more about the new engine at PSX 2016, a short video was shown giving insight into how Naughty Dog is using new technology to capture and create a wider unseen range of facial animations.
Elaborating on the image, Druckmann said:
"Within Sony's group, this is the most advanced character model we've ever created."
It's a bold statement when you consider just who is set to use Horizon's game engine next.
Kojima Loves Guerrilla Games's Decima Engine So Much He's Using It
If there's one thing we know about The famed Metal Gear Solid creator, he won't settle for anything less than perfection. After perfecting the the Fox Engine during his time at Konami, Guerrilla Games's Decima Engine must have really impressed him since it's already been announced his studio is already using it.
Death Stranding will be the first game since Kojima left Konami and teamed up exclusively with Sony, and all the trailers we've seen for the mysterious new project so far have all been running in native 4K with the engine.
Watch the Death Stranding trailer to see what Kojima has already done with Horizon's engine:
You'll notice it's scary realistic at times and at all times it's highly detailed. Not that you would expect anything less from a game #HideoKojima would attach his name to.
While release dates for both Death Stranding and The Last of Us Part II have yet to be announced it will be interesting to see which game will win the graphics war.
Who Will Emerge Victorious?
It's no secret that in order for a game to be great it needs to have more than just awe-inspiring graphics on it's side. But considering Naughty Dog's history with Uncharted, and The Last of Us, as well as Horizon Zero Dawn and of course Hideo Kojima; we won't have to worry about the games being good, they will be. So we safely can indulge ourselves over which of these games will be the best looking and so can Naughty Dog, Guerrilla Games, and Kojima Productions for that matter.
The winner is clear: it's gamers. We reap the pleasure of getting to play all these game. And you can also count Sony among the winning party as you'll need a #PS4 to play all these games.
You know who's not winning? Your wallet. And you thought 2017 was expensive.