Developers from all over the games industry debunk unfair criticisms of early GTA 6 visuals

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,717   +1,162
Staff member
Facepalm: While some were excited to see leaked pictures and video of Rockstar's upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6, others found it an opportunity to bag on the developers and nitpick the game's graphics, saying that what we saw is what we'll get. Game developers responded with proof that such sentiments are completely unfounded.

The Grand Theft Auto 6 megaleak didn't just spawn piles of DMCA takedown notices and an FBI investigation. It also brought out the armchair game designers who complained about the game's visuals. One complaint, in particular, sparked a flurry of counter-tweets from developers.

On September 19, shortly after GTA 6 images and videos leaked, a Twitter user going by AvgGuy (@Design4Mind317) tweeted:

"If you knew how game development goes, you'd know that visuals are one of the first things done. This game is 4 years into planning & development. What you see is almost exactly what you will get. The next year is mission coding and debugging. All backend stuff. It does look ass [sic]"

AvgGuy made his Twitter account private shortly afterwards, presumably out of embarrassment and shade-throwing DMs, but not before Know Your Meme captured it for posterity.

The post whipped the industry into a frenzy, with real developers from all over the AAA and indie gaming sectors tweeting, "Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game," followed by examples proving that statement is patently untrue.

Remedy's Paul Ehreth, the lead designer of a little game called Control, pointed out that his game won multiple awards for its visuals, then supplied a clip of some pre-alpha gameplay showing the game's graphics were quite rough around the edges.

Making judgments about a GTA 6's visuals this early in development is hardly fair. Saying, "What you see is almost exactly what you will get," as AvgGuy did, is just plain stupid. So the memes kept rolling in.

Bungie Senior Designer Josh Kulinski showed some early footage from a personal project he worked on before landing a job at Bungie.

Hey! At least he got the animation right from the chest down.

Indie studio Massive Monster tweeted a side-by-side alpha/finished video of its latest success, Cult of the Lamb. While MM designed the title with an intentional cartoonish flair, early versions were primitive, with many placeholder assets. In some cases, backgrounds and textures are entirely missing.

Sam Barlow, the creator of Immortality, shared screenshots of a scene in the game before and after launch. The before image shows textureless blobs on a generic horizon background. He explains that the team used these placeholder blobs for two years while ironing out the AI and combat gameplay. Another perfect example of how the statement "Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game" is wrong.

We could literally go on and on with these memes, but you get the point. If you want more, Resetera is cataloging the best ones.

Gamers are a jaded bunch, and when they think they know better than the actual developers, they are even worse.

There was a time when we (gamers) stared in awe at the latest blocky graphics wondering how the developer made the models so realistic. However, we got spoiled after a while and nitpicked a game's most minor graphical flaws. It's only natural then, I suppose, that the next evolution of this jadedness is to nitpick games that aren't even finished.

Let us close with a tweet from former BioWare Producer Mark Darrah, who sums it up nicely with an anecdote from his Mass Effect 3 days:

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Posts: 1,517   +2,260
The industry really has only itself to blame here - they've courted an audience with little technical knowledge that's used to these manicured, seamless experience, so it's little surprise when that audience gets flabbergasted when they see the machine that's making the sausages. Modders, on the other hand, e.g. people that give a damn about engaging with games on a level beyond "consoom and move on to next product," were not nonplussed because we understand that's it's complicated as **** and developing something as simple as a new gun involves a bewildering array of tools and debugging.


Posts: 94   +55
Some of the videos I have seen of GTA 6 leak seem to be missing volumetric lighting and other effects (lets hope they don't gimpworks this title), might be wrong tho


Posts: 6,475   +7,345
Gamers are a jaded bunch, and when they think they know better than the actual developers, they are even worse.
They are just worse, period, and trolls be trolls, let them be.


Posts: 3,957   +6,984
Yeah, well.....the gaming industry has a long history of releasing broken unfinished games that look like total arse. This is coming only 2 years after the halo infinite "craig" moment, after all.

Maybe if they hadnt spent the last 10 year seeing how utterly broken they could ship a final product, people would have a little more faith in them.
They are just worse, period, and trolls be trolls, let them be.
Nothing like attacking your audience for a decade and treating them like total *****s to make them hostile to you! Who every could have guessed? I mean honestly, the only other industry I can think of where the consumer is treated so poorly is banking and education, and wouldnt you know it people that deal with those institutions are jaded as hell too!

kira setsu

Posts: 447   +434
I'm truly amazed people still even make games.

gamers are one of the most if not meanest fanbases around, whats even more amazing is that devs will still try and prove a point to them probably knowing theyre too dense to catch it.

how are you gonna throw stones at rockstar of all studios, gta5 has been a graphics benchmark for damn near 10 years, you really think theyre gonna release a game that isnt a graphical masterpiece?! wtf.


Posts: 211   +123
Yeah, true, when I've read about the slog of finishing up games, very often they keep working on textures and models right up to the end. I have no idea how someone got the idea that they finish graphics years ahead of time then mainly work on gameplay.


Posts: 130   +236
Heres an idea: don't give these ***** gamers any ammunition by posting this article. IGNORE THEM, they WANT THE ATTENTION. Ignorance is bliss.


Posts: 418   +300
I've played games with 20 years old graphics that are so good to play that you totally forget about the graphics. Also, check out some of the most popular new games, they are using low-poly environment, which makes them cool. Not unlike graphics from 1996. Sure, nowadays low-poly has realtime shadows, ambient occlusion, advanced particle effects and color grading, but it still looks very retro.