Posts: 6 +1
I must be a real tech philistine. I prefer the original pictures above.
I guess I'm a bit weird, I'm not really after photo realism in games, I just want better "games".
It's not just photorealism. Toy Story 4 isn't really "photo-real". It's about believable light behaviour. When lighting is broken, we notice it... like, if a character is lit by a light that is in a different room, behind a brick wall, it looks weird. If a table and chairs don't cast any shadows on the floor they are on, they will look like they are floating above the ground. This even makes jumping puzzles hard, and why even in Mario 64 they knew how important it would be to add shadows for the player to judge landings. The more realistic the light behaves, the fewer hacks need to be added for the specific purpose of making things not look janky.
If everything was path traced, it would also be less work for artists. Level editors could just make their levels using candles or lightbulbs or the sun, or a campfire, and the room would be lit using those things. In a traditional game, those are just props, and the artist needs to place dozens of hidden lights around that same room, to get the look they want. In the mixed-mode world of rasterization plus ray tracing, the artists do more work than rasterization, though.