I do prefer a good game with bad graphics to a dumb, great looking game, but dismissing graphics standards as completely irrelevant in a today's AAA first person-based game doesn't strike me as the best approach to modern game design.
I didn't mean to imply that, but I think it's too simplistic to say 'more graphics = better'. Development is (obviously I don't really have to tell you this) all about tradeoffs and resource allocation. So I'd quibble specifically with this:
I'm not saying graphics alone make a good game. I'm saying you can have a great game with bad graphics. And you can make that game even better if you improve it's graphics.
All else being equal, maybe...but all else isn't equal. Would Minecraft be a better game with better graphics? Probably not. It probably wouldn't exist. It likely would've tanked and burned.
Dishonored is running on UE3. It's from a studio that clearly doesn't have a vast amount of horsepower (or, in all likelihood, a vast amount of money). Their talents lie in design. I don't think they could've made the game 'AAA gorgeous' without just slathering bloom on everything and ****ing their design process over. The resources they would've put into graphics would've come at a cost.
I could definitely go for some higher-res textures and a lot more AA, but otherwise, I can't say I need any more. And returning to this point:
That's not the point. The point is, if you make a Deus Ex sequel today that looks like DX1, you will get called on it.
Why, though? Because a 'AAA game' from a 'AAA studio' should look 'AAA'? Maybe...but indie titles, F2P titles - these are sectors that are exploding. Setting aside the expectation framing of 'this came from AAA studio', do graphics matter at all
in how much we enjoy a game?
I played Deus Ex last year. In my subjective world this was a game that came out last year. Heck, I played XCOM
for the first time last year...and having just gotten into the new one, sure, it looks better, but the leap from sprites to gorgeous UE3 3D hasn't meaningfully altered my experience. Half-Life 2 remains one of the most attractive games I've ever played because it's so crisp.
Note I'm not saying the game is bad - in fact, I enjoy Dishonored quite a bit - but you can't tell me graphics don't make a contribution towards immersing you in the game's world.
I think I can tell you that.
I really don't understand why the art standards were so low in this case; I'd love the play the exact same game that has contemporary graphics.
I just don't follow your reasoning here. I doubt at any point in design they said set art standards to low
. They didn't have the time, or the resources, or the expertise and knowhow, or the memory budget on consoles (I am thinking particularly the latter).
You want to balance your time and effort, not spend it all on some venues and then leave one sorely lacking. I wouldn't have said anything if the game didn't look so very dated - but the graphics are way below mediocre as far as today's standards go. Making them at least at a mediocre level by today's standards wouldn't have taken that much more work, either. Why have ugly polygonal objects when you can have them round is beyond me - it's like someone wanted to make sure this thing will run on the iphone...
I guess I just don't have your eyes.