Why Gamers Need to Be Reminded That Graphics are Secondary

Since the dawn of video games, the graphical capabilities of each new console has shown to be impressive and eye opening. Whether it was seeing Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation or The Last of Us on the PlayStation 3, players have always held graphics in high regard. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt released last week and the one aspect players keep discussing is not the expansive world or gameplay elements, but rather its graphical downgrade. Graphics are beautiful to look at and certainly important to any game, but in the grand scheme of things, they come secondary to gameplay. Cinematic games are leading the charge in the industry nowadays, which is a great thing, but there are many games out there that, if given a graphical downgrade, would still be considered fantastic experiences.

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This controversy with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s graphical downgrade is disappointing and unnecessary. It is a bizarre reminder, but video games are meant to be played. Yeah, when Wild Hunt was revealed for the first time two years ago, players were up in arms about the graphics, but things tend to change over time. In a interview with Eurogamer, CD Project RED’s Adam Badowski said “I cannot argue – if people see changes, we cannot argue, but there are complex technical reasons behind it.” Players are forgetting that the game still looks amazing. The game has been met with critical acclaim and it is unfortunate that this dilemma is at the focal point of the industry. The thing is, there are so many games out there that would still receive high praise if the graphics were downgraded.

It is hard to believe that a game such as Bloodborne or Uncharted would suffer in quality due to a graphical downgrade. Can anyone honestly say the same about The Last of Us? Probably not. While players fall in love with characters such as Nathan Drake or Ellie, critically acclaimed titles are revered for their gameplay elements. Titles like Metal Gear, Final Fantasy 7, Mega Man and Mass Effect may have been praised for their graphics or story elements, but above all else, it was gameplay that forced players to pick up the controller once more.

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There is no doubt that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be a contender for Game of the Year, but nitpicking any title for a graphical downgrade is ridiculous. If a game looks great after the fact, why is it still necessary to complain? It is no secret that graphics are crucial. Whether it is helping a player immerse into a new world or a deep story, graphics have their place. Having said that, when players first picked up their controllers as kids, it was not for graphical capabilities, but rather to control the character on the screen.