Mark Cerny talks photorealism and enabling greater emotional expression on PS4


Mark Cerny, PlayStation 4’s lead architect, believes new technology can enable greater emotional expression in games, saying, “We are at the point in the PlayStation 4 generation where we will forget sometimes that we’re looking at CGI rather than captured video.

“I don’t think it will be indistinguishable. I just think that at times we’ll be able to forget, and it will depend on lighting and depend on the scene. But there will be moments when you forget. I don’t think we’ll be consistently able to be at that point so if you used video, you really would be drawing attention to the fact that the actors really don’t exist in the game’s world.”

The announcements of next-gen technology have mentioned the ability to obtain greater emotional responses through facial expressions versus utilizing¬†just an actor’s voice, an advancement that will only enhance story and character-driven titles. I can’t help but imagine these advancements in games such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age where silent character emotion could have extremely escalated the drama and emotion necessary.

Let’s not forget the creepy old man displayed during the PS4’s reveal that undeniably demonstrated the leaps coming to the gaming industry. It is obvious that real human emotion can be truly conveyed now in ways it was never possible before.


Cerny mentioned the game industry’s preoccupation with photorealism, recalling his time in the late nineties at Crystal Dynamics at the height of the FMV era.

“We [at Crystal Dynamics] weren’t as far ahead as EA was,” he said. “EA did Road Rash with full-blown shoots in exactly the era of the game with professional actors, stunt people and the like. They were really feeling that was the future. As an industry, we have gotten to that story-driven place that we thought we were going to get to. It just took 15 years longer than we thought it would.”




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