In a pre-release campaign that often seemed to about everything but actual games, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s graphics took a back seat to their social media capabilities, or whether you could use them to watch Netflix.
But now developers seem determined to go where Sony and Microsoft did not, with the new promo for Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition setting out the differences between previous-gen and next-gen games graphics in detail.
More geometry, more maps, more physics
In the Definitive Lara Trailer, Crystal Dynamics executive producer Scott Amos runs through the differences between the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One release, and the original 2013 game, which came out for PS3 and 360.
According to Amos, the geometry count of Lara’s face has been increased five times for the next-gen release, and her head has been retopologised. (Or ‘retypologised’, as whoever wrote the on-screen captions has it.)
Texture resolution has also been increased, subsurface scattering added to Lara’s skin, and – it has to be said, sometimes very bizarre-looking – drip maps added to mimic rain and blood.
The simulations have also come in for an overhaul, with AMD’s Tress FX hair system tweaked for the occasion, and dynamics added to more of Lara’s equipment.
Visible, but are they essential?
The results are definitely perceptible – and clearer in this IGN video, which wipes between PS3 and PS4 editions – but we’ll leave you to decide how significant they are.
As Eurogamer put it, commenting on publisher Square Enix’s decision to make what is otherwise identical to the 2013 game a full-price release: “These are pretty cool additions, but are they £49.99 cool?”
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will be released in the US on 28 January 2014, and in Europe on 31 January. In the interests of strict factual accuracy: Amazon UK is currently selling the limited edition for £40.
Tags: comparison, Crystal Dynamics, Definitive Edition, drip map, graphics, Lara Croft, lighting, next-gen, physics, PlayStation, polygon count, PS3, PS4, real time, Square Enix, subsurface scattering, texture resolution, Tomb Raider, Tress FX, videogame, Xbox 360, Xbox One