Since the weekend’s GTA 6 leaks have proliferated around the digital superhighways like someone weaving a stolen car dodgily past us all, it’s emerged that there are those who believe graphics are the first thing finished during a game’s development. This is not the case. Developers know that, so some have shared early footage of well-known games that you and I have most likely played in a very different form.
The issue of when graphics are finished came up on Twitter on Monday. While that GTA 6 footage did look rough, that's because it’s taken from an unfinished game. That's fairly standard during development, and it's highly unlikely the game will look like that when it’s released years from now. Here’s the team who made Cult Of The Lamb, for example, showing an early version of their ritualistic rogue-like:
"Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game"— Cult of the Lamb 🙏🐑👑 OUT NOW (@cultofthelamb) September 20, 2022
Here's what early versions of Cult of the Lamb looked like pic.twitter.com/F5EyEH6M9r
That too looks a bit spartan, and not at all as delightful as the end result. So did Control in its early days, which lead designer Paul Ehreth noted:
Since graphics are the first thing finished in a video game, and CONTROL won multiple awards for excellence in graphics, here is footage from the beginning of development :)— Paul Ehreth 🔻 (@bacon_sanwich) September 20, 2022
Full video here: https://t.co/l2g7oPhtk7
So, so grey. Here’s a comparison between versions of upcoming indie visual novel The Wreck, shared by the devs:
"Graphics are the first thing finished in a video game" https://t.co/RwNcjnb3WY— 🚗💥 wishlist The Wreck ♥️ (@ThePixelHunt) September 20, 2022
I think my favourite is from The Last Of Us, which doesn’t even look all that different from the remastered version if you squint really, really, really hard:
Yes..this is what the Last of Us looked like in it's development stages.— Naughty Dog Central (@NaughtyNDC) September 20, 2022
Every game you ever played went through this. pic.twitter.com/acNFSRjIAo
There’s certainly an argument to be had here, that consumers would be more aware of the game development process if developers were open and transparent while they were working on things. There’s also the counterargument that people wouldn’t be all that interested in shonky footage of in-development games years before they release, and potentially be put off them entirely. I know I’d rather see a polished game in a playable form, but you’ll have your own takes.
GTA 6 is real but it’s out when it’s ready, folks. Good job all of the above had enough time in the oven too.